Town officials will host a series of public meetings over the next two weeks to gather public input and answer questions about their plans to expand the town’s planning jurisdiction by nearly 6,700 acres.
The request covers an area roughly 9.7 square miles in size and includes chunks of property to the south, east and west of the town’s current borders.
The town’s request, which was formally made in July, must be approved by Wake County commissioners. In a letter to the Wake County board’s chairman, James West, Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said the request comes in the wake of plans to complete the Highway 540 loop around Raleigh and because the town has grown significantly since the current extraterritorial jurisdiction borders were established.
The town will host three meetings for the public to weigh in on the request. They will be:
▪ Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 4-7 p.m. at the Garner Senior Center, 205 E. Garner Road.
▪ Thursday, Oct. 20, from 4-7 p.m. at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, 1201 Maxwell Drive
▪ Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 4-7 p.m. at Highland Baptist Church, 8524 Crowder Road.
This is the first time Garner has requested an expansion of its ETJ since 1988, a period of 28 years.
The town’s request also asks the county to take back about 450 acres which the town no longer anticipates will ever be part of the town’s limits.
Inclusion in the ETJ gives the town the ability to control growth in the territory by applying the town’s development rules and restrictions. It is also a tacit admission that the town envisions growth in that area and an extension of utility services when that growth occurs.
Many residents erroneously equate inclusion in the ETJ with being in the town’s corporate limits. But property owners in the ETJ are not required to pay additional taxes. They are allowed to serve on certain town boards and commissions, such as the town’s planning board, but they cannot vote for elected officials in the town.
Garner’s request includes four significant tracts of land. The largest, encompassing 6.3 square miles or about 4,000 acres, is on the southeastern edge of Garner and encompasses most of the land between the town’s current limits and the Wake County line. The other large piece of the request is along U.S. 401, centering on the McCuller’s Crossroads community. That portion of the request includes nearly 1,400 acres. Two other, smaller pieces of the request total about a half-square-mile each. One of those is also along U.S. 401 adjacent to Swift Creek. The other is between Old Stage Road and the Norfolk-Southern Railway tracks.
The plan doesn’t split subdivisions or individual tracts of land except in areas where property is already split by a roadway.
At the public meetings residents will be able to view maps of the proposed changes and ask questions of town officials about the need for the changes. They will also be able to offer feedback to those officials, letting them know what they think of the plan.
Williams, Garner’s mayor, already has an idea about why he thinks the request is a reasonable one.
“With these critical infrastructure improvements coming on the near horizon, we believe that these targeted future growth areas need to within our ETJ so that we can administer the town’s land use regulations as well as adequately plan infrastructure improvements to accommodate the anticipated urban growth in this area,” Williams said in his letter to the county.