Town of Chapel Hill North Carolina Executive Summary
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Meeting Date: 2/11/2013

Title of Agenda Item: Greater Chapel Hill Fire District: Annexation Analysis.  (R-13)

Council Goal: Focus on Economic Development, Land Use, and Transportation for a Balanced and Sustainable Future

Background: At the January 14, 2013 Business Meeting, Council considered Orange County's request to enlarge the Greater Chapel Hill Fire District to include Area 5. Council was presented with three options:
  1. Continue to provide fire service to the area via mutual aid.
  2. Enter into a service agreement with Orange County to extend the Town's current fire district into the affected neighborhoods.
  3. Provide fire protection service following annexation of the area.
Council chose to explore annexation of the affected neighborhoods, and requested that staff prepare a report outlining the costs and revenues of annexing the area. Resources from the School of Government and NC League of Municipalities, as well as cost and revenue data from Town departments serve as the basis for the discussion and recommendations that follow.

Fiscal Note: A summary of the estimated cost and revenues associated with the annexation of Area 5 are as follows: 



Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Total Cost




Total Revenue




Net Revenue




Recommendations: Based on the financial analysis, it appears that annexation would be beneficial to the Town's long-term financial and development interests. With that said, the legal constraints imposed by current annexation laws, contextual factors related to the neighborhoods in question, and potential resource demands on staff required to initiate annexation make the pursuit of annexation of this area challenging and impracticable. Thus, based on the information provided, I recommend that the Council:
  • Reconsider the option proposed by Orange County to enter into a service agreement to extend the Town's current fire district into the affected neighborhoods for a period of two years and initiate conversations with the County about how the changes in annexation laws affect the rational planning model established within Orange County. Town staff can report in September 2013 on the status of these discussions, so Council can determine next steps. 
If the Town of Chapel Hill does not proceed with the service agreement proposed by the County, an alternative available to the area and the County is to extend the Carrboro Fire District to include this area. This could create an even more confusing situation.

Another option for the Town, even given the serious barriers described above, is to initiate annexation of Area 5.

Viewing attachments may require Adobe Acrobat.
Manager's Cover Memorandum
Parcel Map Area 5
Water and Sewer Service Map
Street Mileage and Maintenance Map
Annexation Criteria Map
Timeline for City-Initiated Annexation