Union County Pulse: August 26

An Open Letter to Hunter Oaks Residents

In reading various articles, subterfuge and lengthy explanations, are used to skirt substantive issues. These tactics are attempted to divert attention from the key question, why annexation? This letter will address this question that should be asked by all Hunter Oaks residents.

In a conversation that I had with Jonathan Wells, director of annexation for the city of Charlotte, he was surprised that annexation had been raised. Agreements have been in place since 1994 through 2014, not to cross county lines and annex unincorporated land. Charlotte currently has parcels of land within Mecklenburg County being reviewed for annexation thus their plate is full-Hunter Oaks is not on Charlotte’s radar.

New laws that became effective in June, prohibit arbitrary annexation. All annexation efforts require a 60 percent no vote, by the resident, to dismiss the entire process. These facts are indisputable, but members of our board are skeptical of the law. When skepticism leads to poor decisions, without all the facts, actions then become dangerous and in our case, financially injurious.

Mr. Wells went on to say that there are many steps that must be followed before the process begins. The first and most important one is a cost/benefit ratio analysis. This simply asks the question, is the entire process worth the effort and the capital outlay. Would it generate a reasonable return for the municipality crafting the annexation? The higher the density of the proposed land the higher the cost ratio would be and this is strongly in play with Hunter Oaks. Having over 900 homes requires many services. That does not make economic sense for Charlotte to undertake any action.

Wells also told me that Weddington, Marvin and Stallings would, legally, have the first option to start annexation proceedings with Hunter Oaks and not Charlotte, based on the current agreements in place. Charlotte has never done anything which would indicate they are not going to continue abiding by the terms of the Extra Territorial Agreement. Charlotte has honored the agreement for 17 years, continues to do so and has never given any indication that they would consider not continuing to honor the agreement.

The Tax and Fee arrangement has been vaguely discussed and distorted. With the exception of Powell Bill Funds (taxes included in auto gas purchases). Hunter Oaks is unincorporated, therefore, no other taxes or fees are collected . Marvin’s tax statements would include 5 cents per $100 real estate taxes, along with fees and ordinances which increase tax bills to a total of an additional 0.09 average effective tax rate per $100.

Marvin Council held a meeting in 2008. Discussed, was an action to annex Hunter Oaks and Somerset communities. The discussion was tabled because the Council felt that the communities were not a good fit and feared that they would overtake the size and scope of Marvin and undermine their controls and ordinances. Also, it would neutralize Marvin’s vision of a Premier Equestrian Village as well as other grand visions for the Village.

Visions are fine, if the paper village has the capital to underwrite the projects. They did not then and they do not now! That does not mean that the “visions” have changed. The strategy of gaining funding has resurfaced—annex Hunter Oaks to get the necessary funding required thus, satisfying the vision!

Our homeowners association has offered, to Marvin, the opportunity to annex Hunter Oaks when it was determined that Marvin’s annexation plans, of our surrounding neighbors, were destined for defeat in the courts and most recently by the new laws that require a 60 percent rejection. Marvin realizing defeat, joined with our HOA, and went to Plan B. This would have Hunter Oaks step up and save the day! And that, should not sit well with any Hunter Oaks resident!

These neighboring communities have great insight into how Marvin operates. We in Hunter Oaks should take full advantage of their years of research and experience and go to school on it. Why have our neighboring communities fought so hard and for so long not to be annexed by this paper village. Let’s analyze the results before we jump into the same morass. When their annexation is denied, it will set a precedent for Hunter Oaks to fight off any attempt of annexation, in the future. Time is on our side!

The most relative question is this – why is our HOA, unanimously, in favor of us being annexed by a paper village? Marvin has nothing to offer us and especially not tax relief. What they would have is the power to increase taxes, fees and ordinances to fund their vision as needed! We need to question our HOA motive- why they are taking this action. Hunter Oaks is certainly a nice place to live and raise a family –let’s keep it that way!
If you have submitted your voluntary annexation paperwork, and you have now changed your mind, just call Braesael Management at 704-847-3507 or email to hunteroaks@braesael.com and request they return the paper work.

Thank you,
Jack Brienza

Marvin Arrogance and Dishonesty – Have They No Shame?

Does anyone remember when Marvin said its new park would be in harmony with its surroundings and that they would show respect for the natural beauty of the park site, preserving vegetation and existing wildlife habitat for deer, ground mammals, birds and fish for the enjoyment of all?

Regrettably, the village council has intentionally trampled and broken those promises by destroying 60 feet of natural, mature vegetation along the western shoreline of the park, land and water areas that just happen to be Walden Pond HOA private property. The second leading cause of children’s death is drowning, yet the Village has created a path to the waters edge, increasing grave risks to young park visitors with wanton disregard for safety. They are intent on breaking their own ordinances to suit themselves, and totally ignoring the private property rights of their neighbors. The Sheriff’s Department has been notified of these trespassing and destruction of private property. Two state criminal statutes covering the destruction of private property and one statute requiring double damages are clearly and legally applicable.

The viewing of public documents is a right granted all citizens of our free society. Apparently not in Marvin. Although they have a village prepared Public Records Request form, they refuse to respond or provide public records in a timely manner. We’re talking two months. Is this lack of responsiveness what the Marvin taxpayers expect from their paid elected and appointed officials or their salaried professional employees? Or do they have so much to hide that perpetual delay is their only option?

It has become apparent that the Marvin Village Council has had its way with the taxpayers for so long that they think they can do virtually anything with impudence. Their web site clearly supports this with their advice to “Say Nothing At All” regarding the forced annexation and the Petition to Deny campaign. We hear you … be good little sheep, just shut up and send us your money.

There is only one problem with that plan, councilmen. The people around here are insulted by your apparent disregard for the wishes and rights of nearby residents. The petition to deny campaign will succeed because you continue to give it, and all concerned citizens, every reason to fight to win. If you need any more reasons to deny annexation, just go to the Marvin web site and read their zoning, subdivision and tree ordinances. You will be outraged by their SUPER HOA status which affects everything you do on your property, super-ceding your own HOA Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.

To all annexation targets – you must sign and return your petition to deny to have your vote count against Marvin annexation. If you do not reply, your vote becomes a yes vote to more and higher taxes, and permanent loss of your individual property rights. Go to www.denyannexation.com to get more details or to have a volunteer bring you a Petition to Deny.

Paul Schneider – Walden Pond Homeowner
Unincorporated Union County

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