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Law's Foes Decry Annexation Without Representation

Posted April 9, 2008

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— Opponents of North Carolina's involuntary annexation law told state House members at a public hearing Wednesday evening that the law gives too much power to towns and cities.

A House committee charged with recommending changes to the 1959 annexation law listened as more than 100 people came to the Legislative Building auditorium on Jones Street to speak for or against it.

Jerry Santoro told the committee he is surrounded by homes annexed into Raleigh and he is worried his property will be next.

"We feel that if we are annexed, there will be an additional taxes on us that maybe we couldn't afford,” he said.

The law allows towns and cities to annex adjoining land that meets certain population or development-density thresholds. The municipality must hold two public meetings and agree that it will provide emergency and street services to the new citizens. Landowners in the unincorporated areas set to be added don't have to approve the annexation through a referendum, however.

"I think at least we should have a vote for it," Santoro said.

The majority of people attending the public hearing echoed the same message.

"It is all about money. They want it. We have some, and they take it," homeowner Larry Wright said.

Municipal leaders and business boosters who spoke urged the panel to leave the law intact. They said it works well by helping the state manage growth effectively, offering improved water and emergency services to developing areas and raising city populations to bring in new industries and attractions.

"Our continued economic diversification efforts are enhanced and strengthened by our current annexation laws," Asheboro Mayor Pro Tem David Smith said.

"It's a way to have more folks who benefit from the economic strength of the cities," said Chuck Allen, mayor pro tem of Goldsboro.

Others argued that if people tap into city services, they should pay the same as its residents.

"Annexation provides a city with its only mechanism to provide city service. Users become city residents," Greensboro Planning Director Dick Hails said.

Rep. Bruce Goforth, D-Buncombe, said a University of Georgia study found that from 1990-1998, North Carolina annexed almost eight times as many households as the national average.

"There's a lot of unrest in North Carolina over annexation," Goforth said.

The committee, which also held a public hearing in Asheville, can make recommendations to the full House before the General Assembly reconvenes next month.

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  • amandacarter Apr 16, 2008

    These laws must be changed so communities such as Shallotte Point can continue to thrive. Annexation laws can harm rather than help in most cases, and people dwelling in communities who are facing a possible annextion fear the outcomes that could come forth.

  • rhondacarter Apr 16, 2008

    This meeting should ensure that the Representatives hear the voices of concerned citizens against forced annexation. Shallotte Point, like so many other comminutues in North Carolina, will not benefit from annexation into town limits. The county already provides all services that the town could offer. Duplicating government to build town revenue is not in the best interest of the citizens.

  • wynn1111 Apr 15, 2008

    Last week's forum was an extremely welcome opportunity for concerned and well-spoken citizens, such as those who traveled all the way from Shallotte Point, to make a case against forced annexation. Forced annexation needs to end. Hopefully, the hearing that these citizens received will lead to reformed annexation laws in NC.

  • dh953 Apr 15, 2008

    North Carolina Annexation Laws are broken, plain and simple!! The Towns and cities are not interested in providing services, if it wasn’t in the law to do so they probably wouldn’t. They are only concerned with collecting more taxes.

    Satellite annexations are probably the worse, they end up dividing communities and neighbors. They should be held to the Counties Land Use Plans, instead they allow multi-family condos next to small historic homes.

    It’s time for our Legislators to realize that it’s time to protect their citizens from the tyranny of unbridled Towns and Cities.

  • craig32870 Apr 15, 2008

    Thanks to all who attended the annexation hearing.The out dated laws and guidelines for this issue must be changed.I live in an area that has been damaged by satellite annexation.I hope we can have our voices heard and change this existing legislation before it causes more harm in the future.

  • Hip-Shot Apr 10, 2008

    I live in an area in the process of being involuntarily annexed on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount. We were flooded by Floyd and had 50 some inches of water in our house. We decided to rebuild ONLY because we were outside the City of Rocky Mount.

    Our annexation becomes effective at the end of June. A petition was circulated by resisdents of our housing development, the problem is the city had already decided we were being annexed and the petition was just an amusement for the city council. By the way, nobody within our housing development was in favor of annexation by the petition. Many people fear the outrageous utility rates plus taxes.

  • bosoxbaby Apr 10, 2008

    "Annexation provides a city with its only mechanism to provide city service. Users become city residents," Greensboro Planning Director Dick Hails said.

    "It's a way to have more folks who benefit from the economic strength of the cities," said Chuck Allen, mayor pro tem of Goldsboro.

    Seriously, these are the best arguments they could come up with?

  • Vincenzo R. Abacus Apr 10, 2008

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but if I *wanted* to "benefit from the economic strength cities", couldn't I just, you know, MOVE to a city? Crazy idea, I know...

  • piperchuck Apr 10, 2008

    "Annexation provides a city with its only mechanism to provide city service. Users become city residents," Greensboro Planning Director Dick Hails said.

    It's not a way to "provide" city services, it's a way to force the services down the throats of unwilling people.

    "It's a way to have more folks who benefit from the economic strength of the cities," said Chuck Allen, mayor pro tem of Goldsboro.

    It's funny that they think people benefit from paying higher taxes for city services that they've not needed for years.

  • SaveEnergyMan Apr 10, 2008

    Involuntary annexation is the kind of tyrrany we fought against to gain our freedom from Britain. Annexation should at least have to be approved by the county commissioners - who are elected by the people being affected. Otherwise, it is indeed taxation without representation.

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