Fact Checking Fuquay’s ETJ page

Fuquay has an FAQ page concerning this expansion.  This post is intended to fact check their answers to better reflect the true impact of the ETJ.

Disclaimer-  I am not a lawyer, I have written this to the best of my ability to represent the truth based on my readings of the town ordinances, and North Carolina Law.  If you believe I am in error please let me know with a reference to the source and I will immediately update the posting.  My goal is to make this as factual as possible so I am fully prepared to eat any of my words when necessary.

Please see Fuquay’s FAQ page here.

http://www.fuquay-varina.org/890/ETJ-Expansion

 

Is this an annexation?

The ETJ expansion does not annex your property. The State of North Carolina does not allow involuntary annexation, per Session Law 2011-396. Annexation is an entirely different process and only initiated by the property owner.

Misleading – It is true that the ETJ expansion does not annex your property, However, it is a preliminary step in that direction.  The stated purpose of ETJ expansion is to prepare for annexation within ten years

Misleading – Session Law 2011-396 does not prevent involuntary annexation.  It simply requires that no more than 59% of the affected land owners object and sign a petition.  this means that even if  more than half of the landowners object, the city can still force annex your property.

https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/SessionLaws/HTML/2011-2012/SL2011-396.html

Session Law 2011-396 160A-58.55 .i

 ” If the board of elections delivers to the municipal governing board petitions signed by eligible property owners of at least sixty percent (60%) of the parcels located within the area described in the annexation ordinance as provided in this subsection, the annexation shall be terminated and the municipality may not adopt a resolution of consideration for the area described in the annexation ordinance for at least 36 months.”

**** Update*****

I just discovered that SESSION LAW 2012-11 HOUSE BILL 925 updated G.S. 160A-58.55 to change it from a petition to a vote.  So actually an annexation needs to be voted on by the residents of the proposed annexation area and it must pass with a majority of the vote.

see G.S.160A-58.64 

https://www4.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_160a/gs_160a-58.64.html

***** Update ********

Why is the Town doing this?

The Town of Fuquay-Varina has proposed to expand its ETJ in order to responsibly manage the growth that continues to occur in Wake County. The ETJ expansion will ensure that new development meets Town standards, including improvements to the street network, that would otherwise not be required in the County.

Incomplete –   Although I am sure this statement above is true as there are many good people working to make Fuquay Varina a great city.  There are obvious goals of this ETJ that don’t sound as politically correct as this one.  Here are some additional benefits to the town

  • Lock in potential Annexation territory
    • HollySprings, Garner, and other close by towns are expanding just as rapidly as Fuquay and in some cases more rapidly.  As those towns grow they are cutting into the possible acreage for Fuquay expansion.  Once Fuquay extends it’s ETJ, it guarantees that only Fuquay can Annex the property.  Other towns are prevented from extending an ETJ or annexing in that same territory.
  • Streamline additional development throughout the ETJ.
    • In order for developers to cram as many houses as possible into an existing piece of land there are several hoops that need to be jumped through.  The county zoning is not as friendly to dense development so it is necessary to Annex the land so it can be treated as part of the city zoning instead.  the city zoning allows for increased density development which equates to higher taxes per acre.  In addition County permitting and inspection can add weeks or even months to development plans.  It is much preferred by developers to deal with the city instead.

How does being in the ETJ affect my property?

If you are not planning any significant changes to your property, you will most likely not notice any difference. However, your property will transfer from Wake County’s zoning district to Fuquay-Varina’s, and this means that, if you decide to make changes, there may be some differences in certain requirements. The most apparent change is that instead of traveling to downtown Raleigh to obtain permits, you’ll be able to do so at Fuquay-Varina’s Town Hall. A permit is needed from the Town for construction of additions, fences, dumpsters, parking areas, and signs. There will be no difference in building code requirements as both the County and Fuquay-Varina follow the NC Building Code.

Misleading – Although most of the above paragraph is true it leaves out a great deal about the towns Ordinances and how they will affect ETJ residents.

The ordinances are located here.

https://library.municode.com/nc/fuquay-varina/codes/code_of_ordinances

Much of this does not affect a residents day to day, so lets use the following as an example.  Part 9 Article F 9-1255 Use standards (b) Agriculture & animal-related uses (2) Accessory use, residential—Chickens

Standards for chickens as an accessory use. Chickens within a structure on a zoning lot for single-family detached residential use in the Residential Agricultural Zoning (RA) Zoning District, Residential Low Density (RLD) Zoning District, Residential Medium Density (RMD) Zoning District, Residential High Density (RHD) Zoning District and Planned Unit Development (PUD) Zoning District are permitted under the following standards:

Please not that this includes Residential Agricultural zoning which is Fuquay’s most rural zone available that is not considered Resource Conservation .

This begins a solid page of rules around chicken ownership.  These rules apply to both town limits and ETJ residents.  Some of the rules are slightly laughable like the following.

v. Prohibited activity. On-site slaughter of chickens shall be prohibited.
vi. Disposal. If a chicken dies from causes other than slaughter, it shall be promptly placed into a plastic bag, which shall be closed securely and disposed with household waste.

Now for any of you who live in a neighborhood with an HOA in Wake county or in the city this may not seem like an issue.  However, if you drive around the outskirts of town and go down a few of the dirt roads I think you’ll find many residents that have a family homestead that will not take kindly to being told they can only have 5 chickens, no roosters, need permits to have a chicken coop, and if their chicken dies they need to put it in a trash bag and throw it the landfill.

I have heard people tell me that “Well the city won’t enforce this” or “Your use will be grandfathered in”  To that I say, What would happen if one of my neighbors decide they don’t like me anymore and choose to report me to the city code enforcement.  A city cannot selectively enforce its code.  If they do they open themselves to all sorts of complaints and lawsuits.  They would have no choice but to compel me to comply with code.  My structures that exist on the property might be safe but the ordinance rules themselves are in place.

How will my property be zoned?

Any property added to the Town’s ETJ will be placed into the Town zoning district that is the most compatible with its current Wake County zoning district.

The towns most rural zone is “Resource Conservation”(RC) which can really only be used on parcels greater than 3 acres and don’t allow manufactured housing.  The next one is Residential Agricultural (RA) and RA is subject to most all of the same ordinances as the other more urban zones.

For more information regarding your property’s zoning, please refer to the interactive ETJ Webmap.

Do addresses change when properties become part of the ETJ?

No, the ETJ expansion does not modify addresses. The US Post Office assigns mailing addresses and ZIP codes.

This is correct your address will not change.

Will I be able to comment and ask questions?

Yes, there will be multiple opportunities to do so. During September and October 2018, the Planning Department will be hosting multiple ETJ Expansion Community Information Meetings at various locations, as well as information booths during the Follow Me 2 Fuquay-Varina (FM2FV) Concert Series. Of course, you can always contact the Planning Department staff directly Monday–Friday, 8 am–5 pm.

For a detailed schedule, please refer to the Community Information Meetings Flyer.

How does being in the ETJ affect businesses operated from my home or my home occupation?

Please refer to the Town’s Home Occupation User Guide.

I have not done any research into this aspect of the ETJ so if someone can fill gaps here I would appreciate it.

How does being in the ETJ affect bona fide farms?

As provided by North Carolina law, a property used for bona fide farm purposes is exempt from Town zoning. If the property ceases to be used as a bona fide farm, it becomes subject to Town zoning.

Although “bona fide farms” are exempt from town zoning that exemption only exist for bona fide farm purposes.  For example you can build a barn for your cows but if you build a structure that is not directly related to the bona fide farm then that structure is subject to zoning.  Lots of grey area here that is still being worked out via court cases.

Do property owners in the ETJ receive Town water and sewer?

No, water and sewer services are not automatically provided to properties when they are added to the ETJ. If property owners wish to receive Town water and sewer services, they must apply to be annexed into Town limits. For more info regarding annexation and connection to Town water and sewer, please contact the Fuquay-Varina Planning Department at (919) 552-1429 or planning@fuquay-varina.org.

This is true…. no services just more rules

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