What is Annexation?
Annexation is the methodical extension of a city's boundaries into adjacent unincorporated areas, and the corresponding extension of that city's services to the areas encompassed by the new boundaries. In North Carolina, annexation is governed by state statutes that allow cities and towns to annex adjacent areas under certain circumstances. There are two types of annexation: city-initiated and voluntary. City-initiated annexations can occur when an unincorporated area contains certain urban development characteristics (population density, subdivision of land into smaller lots, development intensity). Voluntary annexation can take place after the owner of unincorporated property petitions City Council for annexation. Annexation has enabled Charlotte's land area to more than double since 1980, reaching almost 306 square miles as of July 1, 2013.
Historically, the City of Charlotte maintained a policy of systematically undertaking City-initiated annexations every two years, with an effective annexation date of June 30th of the odd-numbered years. In 2011 and 2012 the NC General Assembly passed legislation that significantly altered the way cities and towns can undertake annexations, making the two-year schedule for City-initiated annexations impossible to maintain. This legislation resulted in relatively minor changes to the voluntary annexation process.
Updated November 15, 2013