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Annexation is the process of petitioning the City Council to bring property currently located in an unincorporated area into the city's corporate limits. There are three types of annexation petitions considered by the City:

  • Voluntary Contiguous Annexation. Owners of property contiguous to the City of Wilmington may petition the city for annexation. A property is deemed contiguous if, at the time the petition is submitted, the property either abuts directly on the municipal boundary or is separated from the municipal boundary by:
  1. The width of a street or street right‑of‑way, a creek or river, or the right‑of‑way of a railroad or other public service corporation,
  2. Lands owned by the municipality or some other political subdivision, or
  3. Lands owned by the State of North Carolina.

 A connecting corridor consisting solely of a street or street right‑of‑way may not be used to establish contiguity. 

  • Voluntary Noncontiguous Annexation. Owners of property located within 3 miles of the primary corporate limits may petition the city for annexation provided no point of the property to be annexed is closer to another municipality and if such property is added, the total land area of all satellite annexations is less than 10% of the total land area within the primary corporate limits.

  • Distressed Area Annexation. The city may annex distressed areas contiguous to its boundary. Distressed areas are defined by Chapter 160A, North Carolina General Statutes, as "an area in which at least fifty‑one percent (51%) of the households in the area petitioning to be annexed have incomes that are two hundred percent (200%) or less than the most recently published United States Census Bureau poverty thresholds." Petitions for distressed area annexations must be signed by at least one adult resident of at least 2/3 of the resident households located in the proposed annexation area.  




Step 1.Pre-Application Meeting

A pre-application meeting is required prior to submission of a petition for annexation. The purpose of the pre-application meeting is to provide an overview of the application process and general guidance on the proposed annexation, rezoning and development concept, if applicable. Pre-application meetings may be scheduled by emailing the Development Review team or calling 910.254.0900.

Step 2.Sufficiency of Petition

  • Six weeks after an annexation petition has been received, a resolution will be presented to City Council directing the City Clerk to investigate the sufficiency of the petition. 
  • Upon determination that the petition meets statutory requirements, a second resolution shall be presented to the City Council certifying sufficiency of the petition and setting a public hearing date approximately four weeks out for the annexation request. This resolution is typically presented two weeks after the first resolution.

Step 3.Rezoning

  • The petition for establishment of initial zoning for the property will be heard by the Planning Commission prior to the annexation public hearing.

Step 4.Public Comment

Public comment on pending applications is accepted in advance of both the Planning Commission and City Council public hearings through on-line portals. Members of the public may also contact the Development Review team with any questions they may have on pending applications.

Step 5.City Council Public Hearings

  • The City Council will hold a legislative hearing on the proposed annexation pursuant to the resolution establishing a public hearing date.
  • If the annexation is approved, the public hearing on the proposed zoning of the property will be scheduled, typically within two to four weeks of the approval of the annexation.





Step 1.Petition Submission

Petitions for annexation and associated materials must be submitted to the City Clerk in paper form. Failure to submit all items required by the checklist provided with the application will result in rejection of the petition.

Step 2.Legal Description of Property to be Annexed

Prior to submitting the annexation petition, the applicant is responsible for preparing a metes and bounds description of the property to be annexed and obtaining City Engineer approval of the description.





Step 1.Fee Amount


Regardless of whether the annexation petition is approved or denied by the City Council, the responsibility for all fees associated with the annexation process lies with the applicant(s) or their designated representative. Signing the petition for annexation indicates the applicant (or their designated representative) accepts this financial responsibility.

*A mailed notice fee of $0.85/notice shall apply to all applications received on or after July 1, 2024. This fee will be determined during the review process and a separate invoice issued. The supplemental fee must be paid prior to a hearing on the application.

Step 2.Payment Options

If you plan to pay in advance, planning staff must first notify the collections department to enable acceptance of payments.

Payment by Phone (910. 343.4745)

  • 8 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday except for holidays)
  • Limited to VISA and MasterCard payments.

Payment in Person

  • 8 am to 5 pm (Monday through Friday except for holidays)
  • Billing & Collections Office
    Skyline Center
    929 North Front Street, 1st Floor

Payment by Mail

  • Please include invoice number or account number
  • Regular Mail
    City of Wilmington Collections
    PO Box 1810
    Wilmington, NC 28402
  • Express Mail
    City of Wilmington Collections

    929 North Front Street, 1st Floor
    Wilmington, NC 28401


Step 1.Annexation Petition

There is no set schedule for submission of annexation petitions.

Step 2.Rezoning Petition

Annexation petitions must be accompanied by a petition to establish initial zoning for the property. Rezoning applications are accepted on a monthly basis according to the Planning Commission schedule. 
(PDF, 114KB)