Join Forest Acres
About Forest Acres
Forest Acres is a thriving city where community is made. It is home to the area's premier shopping and dining district, the best parks in the Midlands, and the region's best schools. Whether you're a young professional, part of a growing family, a retiree or anywhere in between, you’re invited to live, work and play in a community that cares.
What are the high-density housing changes Richland County is proposing?
Currently, the city limits of Forest Acres contains a lot of “donut-holes” - or properties seen in white within the green city limits mapped below. The white properties are unincorporated Richland County. Right now, Richland County’s staff has asked the Planning Commission to consider changing the zoning ordinance for ALL of the white properties within our city limits to allow for HIGH-DENSITY housing: think duplex, triplex, quadraplex and manufactured homes.
Mayor Brunson and our city council sent a letter to Richland County Planning Commission to ask that properties within our city limits stay single family residential (R1 vs R2/R3) so that the character of our neighborhoods are not altered. We also are concerned these changes would negatively impact the already struggling infrastructure of the county/state (think water, roads, schools).
Unfortunately, if passed, these proposed changes will affect our entire city no matter where you pay your taxes. The city is currently looking to amend our own zoning ordinances to consider smaller property lines to allow for more affordable housing; but it is our wish our houses stay single family to keep our community as it was designed to be when you purchased your property here.
Richland County's Planning Department has already adopted the widespread zoning changes. Now, they are just deciding on the maps, or which properties the changes apply to by July. News Coverage of the proposed changes affecting Forest Acres: WLTX , WIS and The Post and Courier.
What can you do?
- Call your county council representative to voice your concerns.
- Join us! All of these white properties are available to annex into Forest Acres and it’s usually cheaper for most homeowners since Forest Acres doesn’t charge for our superior trash service.
How do I become a Forest Acres resident?
Property owners can seek to join the city of Forest Acres through a process called annexation, where unincorporated Richland County property is moved into the City of Forest Acres. Annexation affords the property owner rights to free City services such as garbage, recycling, and yard debris collection and localized police protection.
State Law only allows properties that are contiguous to our current borders to be annexed (or currently touching our boundary line). The property must also not be part of another municipality. If you aren't sure if your property borders Forest Acres, simply input your address here and we will let you know.
Benefits of Annexation
A Strong Voice in Government
Forest Acres City Council is comprised of four Council Seats and a Mayor. All positions are elected at-large. This means that every citizen has an opportunity to vote for each position. As a current resident of Richland County, there is one Council person out of 11 total members that represents you. As a resident of Forest Acres, you will enjoy a closer level of representation that affords a more personalized experience. If you need assistance, have questions, or are concerned about an issue City Hall is no more than a few miles away. The Mayor and Council regularly speak and meet with citizens to help resolve any issues they may have.
Superior Police Protection
The City of Forest Acres is roughly 4 square miles. The City employs a police force that is solely dedicated to that area. This 24/7 dedicated coverage ensures response times averaging 7 minutes or less. FAPD Officers not only provide traditional police coverage, they participate in community-oriented programs. Residents going on vacation or leaving town can sign up for a property check program. Under this program, registered properties are specifically checked throughout the day and night. The Contact Care program allows elderly or disabled residents an opportunity to sign up for a call-in program. If the FAPD does not hear from the resident by a certain time, an officer will go by to check on them.
Superior Sanitation Services
The Forest Acres Streets and Parks Department provides unparalleled services. Garbage, recycling, leaf and limb, white goods, and bulk items are collected without additional fees. Richland County residents pay an additional $323.70 for these same services. Rear yard pickup is also provided at no additional charge for residents that qualify for the program.
Potentially Lower Taxes
Many people believe that annexing into Forest Acres will increase their taxes. For most people this simply is not true. Due to savings from Local Option Sales Tax Credit rebates and the fact that Forest Acres does not charge a garbage fee, the vast majority of people will actually save money through annexation. Data shows that any property with an assessed value at $375,000 or less will see a decrease in their taxes once they become part of this amazing City!
Frequently Asked Questions About Annexation
No. The City of Forest Acres does not have its own zip code due to the proximity of neighboring cities.
No. School zone boundaries are not impacted by annexation.
No. The City of Forest Acres does not provide water or sewer. Your current connections will continue to function.
The City of Forest Acres consists of large residential areas surrounding one robust commercial corridor. The City’s core functions are largely designed to enhance the residential experience of those that call Forest Acres home. Several of our residential areas currently have enclaves of unincorporated properties (sometimes called “donut holes”), some large and some small. City workers, including sanitation crews and police officers, drive by these properties and sometimes down entire streets to reach other parts of the City, which is inefficient and confusing for workers and residents alike.
By closing these “donut holes” through annexation, the City wishes to increase efficiencies, enhance services, and further improve the lives of current and future residents.
An increase in population would also benefit the City and would make Forest Acres eligible for larger State and Federal grants.