Fernwood/Pinebranch Area Annexation Project
Many people who consider themselves Forest Acres residents actually live in pockets of unincorporated Richland County that are completely surrounded by the City of Forest Acres. These pockets are often referred to as “enclaves” or “donut holes.” Enclaves create a number of inefficiencies for service delivery for both the City and the County, and shifting jurisdictional lines can create delays in police response times and confusion for emergency responders.
A common misconception is that moving into the City of Forest Acres will increase the overall property tax and fees on your house. For the overwhelming majority of people, though, that simply is not true. Due to the $323.70 sanitation fee Richland County charges per year, anyone owning a house with an assessed value lower than $375,000 will actually save money by annexing into Forest Acres. This gap will only increase as Richland County increases their garbage fee.
Removing properties from these holes will protect the integrity of the community and continue to improve property values around the City. Our community standards and appearance help to make Forest Acres an attractive place to live, work, and play.
Frequently asked questions and the benefits of annexation can be found in our annexation brochure located here.
We are routinely asked why annexation is so important to the City. Aside from the efficiency and continuity of services, there is an inherit issue of equity. While residents within enclaves miss out on direct city services, they do enjoy a greater quality of life provided by some municipal services. They benefit from a low crime rate due the City’s police presence all around them. In most cases, the Forest Acres Police Department regularly patrols their road because some of the houses are in the city. They also enjoy the ready access to shopping, dining, and quality retail stores that is provided through city infrastructure and planning. City residents and businesses pay for all of those amenities. By remaining in donut holes, none of the property taxes generated by these homes are going to help provide these services.
The City of Forest Acres is working to close these enclaves. Our first project is a group of 40 properties on Fernwood, Satchel Fort, Sylvan, Pinebranch, and Reamer. We are contacting these property owners and asking them to sign a petition indicating their willingness to be part of this group annexation effort. A copy of the petition can be found here.