One of Wake County’s rural neighbors is making inroads into the capital county.
On Monday, the town of Angier gained some authority over 120 Wake County acres along N.C. 55, likely foreshadowing more suburban development in Wake’s rural southern corner.
Angier is headquartered in neighboring Harnett County, but towns and cities in North Carolina can stretch across multiple counties. The town of about 4,700 already has a small presence in Wake County, largely consisting of about 100 residential lots, an Asian market and a spread of farmland.
Watching development creep down the highway from Wake County, town leaders figured they ought to get ahead of the game. With Monday’s change, Angier gained some power over how land develops along N.C. 55 near the Harnett-Wake border.
“They know of the importance of 55 to get their residents into jobs, shopping and just everyday activity,” said Bryan Coates, a planner for Wake County.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to allow Angier its new power, which is called extra-territorial jurisdiction or ETJ.
The change allows Angier to enforce its development rules on the 18 properties in its expanded jurisdiction. Landowners in the area now must seek building permits and follow the design standards set by Angier.
The affected area is mostly farmland, but Fuquay-Varina’s suburban frontier, in Wake County, is barely a mile away. N.C. 55 is an artery into Fuquay-Varina, giving access to Holly Springs, Apex and Raleigh. That’s likely part of the reason why Angier is the largest municipality in Harnett County, though it’s dwarfed by most Wake County towns.
The property owners won’t pay tax to Angier – which was a primary concern, according to Town Manager Coley Price. Residents of the ETJ can’t be elected to the town’s board of commissioners, though they can serve on the planning board. Down the road, landowners may choose to become an official part of the town.
Angier staff said the change is largely meant to govern commercial development. Some commercial projects now will require approval by Angier’s elected board. Developers might, for example, have to shape their building facades to meet the town rules.
It’s unclear how the affected landowners feel about all this. Minutes from Angier’s public hearing in February show no public comments. The Daily Record of Dunn reported no controversy.
The most common concern was the tax impact, which will be “none,” Price said.
Development may come to the area within a decade, planners predicted. The land is already laced with Angier’s water and sewer lines, which connect to the Johnson’s Landing subdivision deeper inside Wake County.
That community voluntarily joined Angier after its wells failed, according to Price – showing how convenience can trump government lines.
▪ Largest of four municipalities in Harnett County.
▪ Incorporated in 1901. Named for one of its founders, Col. John Angier.
▪ Population in 2010: 4,382.
▪ Sometimes called: The Town of Crepe Myrtles.
▪ Unusual attraction: The Gourd Museum.
▪ Size: About 1,500 acres.
▪ Distance to downtown Raleigh: 22 miles by road.