Annexation bill headed for state Senate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

By Karissa Minn
A bill that would let property owners block involuntary annexation passed the N.C. House 107-9 last week, and Sen. Andrew Brock said he expects it to clear the Senate with similar ease.
ěEverybody agreed we need to have reform this year,î said Brock, who represents Rowan and Davie counties. ěI think this addresses everybodyís concerns… and itís getting us where we need to be.î
According to the bill, if 60 percent of landowners sign petitions opposing a proposed annexation, the municipality could not annex the area for at least three years.
The legislation is now sitting in a Senate committee while lawmakers concentrate on the state budget. Brock said the bill may change a bit, but most of the issues likely have been worked out in the House.
ěI think 60 percent may be a little high,î Brock said. ěI could see taking it down to a majority of 50 percent plus one.î
Municipalities also would be required to install water and sewer service to houses in annexed areas for free if more than half of the landowners ask for it. Brock said this puts the burden on cities and towns to make sure there is a good reason to annex an area if the landowners donít pay this cost.
Groups opposing involuntary annexation, including Good Neighbors of Rowan County, are in favor of the bill but wanted it to shift more power from municipalities to property owners.
The North Carolina League of Municipalities, a lobbyist group representing towns and cities, neither supports nor actively opposes the bill.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.