The handbook covers the three methods of annexation available to municipalities in South Carolina: the 100% petition and ordinance method, the 75% petition and ordinance method and the 25% petition and election method. It provides checklists, includes sample petitions, and explains the other documents to be assembled when enacting an annexation.
Beyond the processes of annexation, the guide takes a look at many other key issues, including these:
- Defining and determining “contiguity.” Properties can be annexed only when they are contiguous to municipal limits. The SC Attorney General has determined contiguity means that a property is “adjacent to a municipality and shares a continuous border [with the municipality].” The handbook provides explanations of the nuance involved in cases where roads, railroads or waterways intervene between a property inside the municipal boundaries and one outside.
- Policy considerations. For every annexation, city and town councils should ask whether the annexation is in the best interest of the municipality’s current residents. Sometimes, the increased revenue of an annexation does not offset the financial burden of furnishing municipal services to the new area. Other issues include the zoning or rezoning of parcels as they are annexed, the legal issues involved in requiring annexation agreements as a condition for providing services outside the city, as well as creating tax relief or other incentives for annexation.
- Rules for annexing certain property types. The laws governing annexation of property owned by the municipality, the county, state or federal government, school district property, corporate property, multicounty parks and others vary. There are also specific issues to consider when annexing cemeteries or church property.
- City Quick Connect podcast episode on annexation – Hear some of the Association’s field services managers talk about the specifics of the three annexation methods in South Carolina.
- Are Your City Boundaries Correct and Correctly Reported? – This Uptown article reviews all of the entities that a city or town should notify when it annexes property.
- Comprehensive Planning Guide for Local Governments – The Municipal Association publishes a guide for all issues of land use regulation.
- “Online Orientation Training for Planning and Zoning Officials” – The Association offers an online version of this six-hour course to elected officials and relevant staff at no cost. The training fulfills a training requirement for all relevant officials under the SC Comprehensive Planning Act.