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Wake neighborhood fighting Raleigh annexation

Posted April 19, 2009
Updated April 20, 2009

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— Residents in the Berkshire Downs neighborhood in northeastern Wake County are fighting Raleigh's annexation plan. In the down economy, they say, it is too expensive.

Berkshire Downs residents join together to fight annexation Residents join together to fight annexation

“They're worried and scared and they just think that they can't afford it,” said James Alston, resident of the Berkshire Downs neighborhood.

“The median income in this neighborhood is probably about $50,000 to $55,000,” said Matt Trickel, resident of the Berkshire Downs neighborhood.

Joining the City of Raleigh means paying property taxes, fees, and part of the cost of putting in new water and sewer lines. Installing the new lines could cost around $8,000 per lot, plus connection fees.

Many people who live in the Berkshire Downs neighborhood say if the city moves forward with the annexation, they will be forced to sell. If they cannot sell their home, they will be forced into foreclosure.

“I know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck,” Raleigh City Councilman Rodger Koopman said.

That is why Koopman says he changed his mind on annexing Berkshire Downs, which is nearly encircled by Raleigh. The council voted in January to forcibly annex the neighborhood, but there was a second vote last week. That vote was one shy of overturning the annexation.

“Maybe this is a good decision two or three or four years from now, but just not right now in this economy,” Koopman said.

“The states are cutting back. The cities are cutting back. How can they expect us to go forward when we're not getting anymore money? It's just putting a burden on us,” Alston said.

Residents are hoping to talk with Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker on Monday about their concerns. Residents say they are also working to get another council member to change their mind which would give them enough votes to overturn the annexation decision.

Meanwhile, city leaders say they are looking into delaying assessment fees for residents for several years to help ease the costs.

15 Comments

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  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Apr 22, 2009

    I believe those of you saying THIS neighborhood in the story being a dump is misguided. You're thinking about Berkshire Downs West, aka the ghetto. It's always been a ghetto. It was common knowledge it was THE ghetto when it was built. And you know... for people that don't like stereotypes, there's really only one group in the WEST neighborhood... I won't say more or my comment won't be approved for being racist.

  • AuntySocial Apr 21, 2009

    Raleigh City Council should not even be thinking about adding more area to the city until they can take care of what they have. For example We have some of the sorriest bus service in the country. They say they need more riders before they can fix it, but they won't get new riders until they do. How about some liability insurance on their vehicles. Raleigh's definition of "self-insured" means no insurance at all. Raleigh doesn't need to get bigger, they need to get better. Maybe these people don't want Raleigh's sorry service. I wouldn't, and I've lived in Raleigh most of my life.

  • horseonthefly Apr 20, 2009

    Do they seriously think everyone living outside the city uses an outhouse and has to go down to the stream to get water? Guess what, a well has great tasting water that is free, a septic tank is free, and county taxes are sufficient to have two fire stations within 5 minutes and another less than 10 minutes away...If "City Services" were worth the paper they write the bills on people would be begging to be annexed.

    *My comment is generally directed and not exclusive to this story.

  • ambidextrous cat Apr 20, 2009

    How is 50,000 a year not enough to live on? It truly should be enough to not have to live paycheck to paycheck.(This is higher than the median income in the US) These people technically should be able to foot the bill. The problem many Americans face is that we are simply trying to live far beyond our means! I personally think that they should wait to annex the area. Why not give people time to recover from the hit the economy has taken? Annexation really isn't that crucial.

  • Ouaouaron Apr 20, 2009

    At first glance, it looks like government looking for a money "fix" in the form of increased property tax revenue. What do the residents get in return? In a lot of these annexation cases, usually nothing, but what about when the unannexed area is surrounded? The root cause is the same: various levels of government are looking for quick cash "fixes."

  • dlw2 Apr 20, 2009

    After reading all our your comments. I have this to say. There are more than one Berkshire Downs. There is Berkshire Downs and Berkshire Downs West. Berkshire Downs West is in the city and Berkshire Downs is not. The subdivision in question is not a dump nor have there been any murders there. You might want to consider the soccer fields when you are talking about people dumping trash. As for it being a good thing. No it isn't why would you want to put more burden on people in this economy. Sounds like they already have water, sewer, and everything else they need. As far as benefiting from the city w/out paying taxes, do they not pay taxes everytime they shop in Raleigh? Forced annexation is wrong. If the city wants to annex, then the city should pay for it. If these residents wanted to live in the city, they would have moved to the city when they purchased their homes.

  • Fun Apr 20, 2009

    Both annexation and increasing property taxes are strategy of our election officials to run people out of their homes and create "neighborhoods" in transition for tear downs rebuilds and a higher property tax base. VOTE THEM OUT.

  • Gucci Hippy Piggy Apr 20, 2009

    My n'hood was annexed, and my taxes are now so high I can barely pay them.

    I would fight it too.

  • 1Packfan Apr 20, 2009

    carlton - I do take time to pick up the trash that litters Perry Creek Road (on the Riverside subdivision side). I use that walkway several times a day taking my dog out. Have you been by there? Seen what it looks like? Doesn't do much to maintain home values and help when you're trying to sell. By the time the trash is picked up, there's more to replace it. Could easily be solved with a trashcan attached to the bus stop sign.

  • carltonstephen2 Apr 20, 2009

    you all whine too much up here, if you so concerned with the apperance of the neighborhood, why dont you take a trashbag and clean up your community. Take your neighborhoods back, dont just sit around and complain on wral from your comfy computer chair. But i guess you are all to scared because you think you will get injured or robbed crossing perry creek road. Such bologna, stop whining and do something about it. otherwise shut up.

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