Commissioners back Brock bill to restore pre-1959 law prohibiting forced annexation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Commissioners have endorsed an annexation bill sponsored by Sen. Andrew Brock that would end forced annexation in Rowan County.
Monday evening, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution supporting Senate Bill 2149.
The bill would restore pre-1959 annexation law in Rowan County by requiring a referendum on annexation through a petition of the residents to be annexed.
The bill would also prevent any city located primarily outside Rowan County from annexing in Rowan County, which would apparently block any potential annexation efforts by Mooresville, Cooleemee or Kannapolis.
Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell read the entire resolution. He pointed out that this is a different bill than House Bill 2367, which calls for a nine-month moratorium on forced annexation in Rowan County.
Commissioner Jon Barber offered an amendment to the resolution to record that the board had voted “unanimously” in opposition to the current state laws allowing forced annexation.
He joined with Commissioner Jim Sides in offering the resolution for a vote.
Earlier in the meeting, during public comment, Larry Wright repeated his opposition to forced annexation. He lives in the N.C. 150 area Salisbury proposed annexing earlier this year.
Wright took issue with the North Carolina League of Municipalities’ support of forced annexation.
“The NCLM and city officials tell use that forced annexation is about providing services to urban areas. This largely untrue statement is only a poor attempt on their part to justify their unethical actions.”
Wright urged residents opposed to forced annexation to call state Sen. Tony Rand and ask him to allow a vote on House Bill 2367 that calls for a statewide moratorium.
Rand, Senate majority leader, is also chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and has the power to bring the bill up for a vote.
Rand’s phone number is 919-733-9892.
The bill passed the House last week 90-18. The bill was amended to reduce the number of months on the moratorium to 9 months.
According to an e-mail from Rep. Fred Steen, if the Senate passes the bill as is, the moratorium will begin on July 31 and end May 31, 2009, giving the annexation committee more time to present a final recommendation to the full House next year.