Local News

Chatham commissioner opposes Cary annexation

Posted July 3, 2007 7:44 p.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2008 6:15 p.m. EDT

— The latest United States census results show Cary is the fastest-growing town in Wake County. In fact, the town is the eighth fastest-growing municipality in the nation with more than 100,000 people.

Census results show Cary grew 5.1 percent in the past year, although the town says that figure is closer to 4.3 percent.

But a town-initiated annexation of part of Chatham County has one leader there angry.

"They're limited to the north by Research Triangle (Park), they're limited to the east by Raleigh," Chatham County Commissioner Patrick Barnes said. "They're limited to the south by Apex and Holly Springs, so the only direction they can grow is west. And the west doesn't want them."

Cary officials say there has not

"Cary still has a lot of vacant land, particularly out west in what we consider our utility service area," town spokeswoman Susan Moran said. "And we have some development that's occurring in Chatham County, too."

And it's that potential to grow west that has one Chatham County commissioner fighting mad.

Cary representatives say Barnes is fighting a one-man battle on the commission. But you don't have to go to Chatham County to find folks who oppose Cary's annexations.

"The cities can force property owners to be part of the city without any negotiation, without any discussion," Catherina Heath, with Stop NC Annexation. said.

Cary officials say there has not been that kind of "town-initiated" annexation since 2003 and the people who come in want to be part of Cary.

"And even if you count the folks that came in with that, town-initiated annexation only represents 2 percent of all the annexations we see in Cary," Town spokeswoman Susan Moran said.

Heath also says new developments bring environmental concerns. Anytime there is a new subdivision, it means trees have to be uprooted.

"And we can demonstrate that in a million different ways from our clear-cutting laws to the millions of dollars worth of open space that we try to purchase every year," Moran said.

And Cary officials say that commitment is part of the reason why the town is growing so quickly.

There is a temporary agreement between Cary and Chatham County that Cary will not annex any land there until August...and that deadline could be extended.