Local News

Apex votes to control 9,000 acres next door

Posted October 2, 2007 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2008 6:15 p.m. EDT

— Apex leaders voted unanimously Tuesday for a plan that could position the town to nearly double in size in the next 10 years.

The plan to ask Wake County to grant Apex planning and zoning jurisdiction over nearly 9,000 acres outside town boundaries will be the largest extra-territorial jurisdiction move ever in the county, Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly said.

Extra-territorial jurisdiction lets a municipality control development in unincorporated areas. State law determines how far out a town can reach.

"It allows for orderly planning on the area adjacent to our city limits," Weatherly said. "It provides protection from a neighbor, from the intrusion of something that could be built next door."

Areas within the extra-territorial jurisdiction remain outside town limits, and the town does not tax them. People who live there do not vote in town elections. The town could eventually annex some or all of the land.

"That would, I think, almost double or corporate limits," Weatherly said of annexation.

Extra-territorial jurisdiction may limit what residents can do with the land that, in some cases, they have owned for years.

"When I first got the paper, I didn't understand what was going on," said Christine Williams, who wanted to put a mobile home on another parcel of land that would soon be under Apex's zoning laws.

"That's when I realized I couldn't put that there on that property," she said, noting Apex's zoning laws don't allow mobile or manufactured homes.

Williams said it isn't fair because she still lives in the county. Apex town leaders said it is a part of planning for growth.

Town leaders said people within the extra-territorial jurisdiction will have the option to become part of the town and that no area would be annexed by force.

The town planning director said anyone can petition to change their zoning, but it must be put to a vote.