Annexation – A Stake in the Heart

This past week the state Legislature heroically passed two bills that finally put a stake in the heart of any plans by Marvin to annex surrounding areas. Many are not aware that following last year’s successful petition to deny Marvin’s proposed involuntary annexation, several of the affected N.C. towns brought a suit against the state alleging that the law giving property owners the right of petition to deny involuntary annexation was unconstitutional, in that it only allowed property owners the right to sign.

In the case of the Marvin annexation, the property owners of the proposed annexation area voted overwhelmingly to deny annexation. However, a N.C. judge ruled in the town’s favor, thus voiding all of the petitions and putting all of the affected annexations back to square one, including the status of the Marvin annexation which was being contested in court at the time.

Thankfully the legislature, frustrated by the court’s decision, decided to take more direct and forceful action to end the abuse of forced annexation. House Bill 5 “Local Deannexations” was passed and ratified on May 30 (now S.L. 2012-003). This bill repeals the annexations by nine N.C. towns, including the proposed involuntary annexation by Marvin. Further, it precludes Marvin from attempting another involuntary annexation for
12 years.

In addition, the legislature passed by a veto proof margin House Bill 925 “Annexation Reform 2.” This bill requires that any forced annexation must be put to a referendum by all affected area voters and must be approved by more than 50 percent. Should the governor sign HB 925 or, if vetoed, it be overridden by the N.C. legislature, this bill effectively ends involuntary annexation in the state.

The towns that filed suit against the state would have been better off leaving things alone and spending their energy and resources to provide meaningful services that would entice voluntary annexation. However, I am happy their hubris has resulted in a better and more lasting outcome.

Kelly Walker

Unincorporated Union County

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