Mecklenburg and Union County borders differ, leaving homeowners in limbo

CHARLOTTE — The Shannamara neighborhood has always been split. Its golf course is named The Divide, a nod to its run through Union and Mecklenburg counties.

“Lots of kids, families. It is just a nice golf course community,” said John DiCristo said, who is a Realtor and a resident.

DiCristo has lived in the neighborhood since 1996. He’s on the Union County side but just feet away from Mecklenburg County. All of that may soon change.

“My taxes would potentially go up and the value of my house would potentially go down,” he said.

Mecklenburg County Tax Assessor Ken Joyner told county commissioners Wednesday night that Union County’s tax assessor informed him the two counties are going off two different borderlines. About 1,000 acres are in limbo. Joyner says Mecklenburg County would be poised to gain almost all of them. Union County’s new acreage would be “in the single digits.”

The differing borders can be seen through each county’s Polaris map. A review of Mecklenburg County’s Polaris map shows the county considers four lined homes on Abergele Lane to be in Mecklenburg County and the rest of the homes to the south in Union County. Officials with Union County say the border is really about 300 feet south of where Mecklenburg County considers it to be. Still, Union County considers the homes in between the lines as Union. According to officials, they really should be Mecklenburg County.

One of those homes belongs to DiCristo, who isn’t too thrilled about the potential change.

“We don’t want to live in Mecklenburg County,” he said. “Our taxes are Union County. Our politicians we know and like are Union County. Everything we know is Union County.”

What happens next remains to be seen. The tax assessor says the counties talked about this issue in 2001 and didn’t change anything. That’s still an option. But if the counties ask the state to settle the matter, they will have to abide by what the state finds.

“I did not even know that we were using a county line that was different than the one that Union County uses until this process was brought forward,” Joyner said.

Commissioner Vilma Leake isn’t sure if she wants Mecklenburg County to absorb the homes.

“I want an engagement ring first,” Leake said. “You got to propose to me. Give me the information. Then give me the ring and we will talk about our wedding date.”

The issue and the potential loss of revenue over decades are surprising to most county leaders. Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell would represent the Union County residents if they became Mecklenburg County residents.

“We could have lost, over all of these years, so many thousands of dollars in property taxes,” Rodriguez-McDowell said. “It is shocking to me.”

There is a lot at stake for the residents in limbo including trash, taxes, school, property values, and elected officials. Mecklenburg County officials are going to continue talking to Union County officials to figure out what to do.

A spokesperson for Mecklenburg County says a map is not yet available showing all the impacted properties. All impacted homeowners will have to be notified if county commissioners decide to pursue the border changes.

Joyner is not sure why Mecklenburg and Union Counties did not address the issue in 2001. A spokesperson for the county says current staff at the North Carolina Geodetic Survey also has no information on why it wasn’t addressed by parties at the time.

The Shannamara neighborhood is split between Stallings and Matthews and is off Idlewild Road.

VIDEO: Southampton real estate ‘La Dune’ listed for record $150 million