Kannapolis, China Grove annexation bills make progress in General Assembly
By Liz Moomey
SALISBURY — A bill to allow for additional annexation by the town of China Grove is being fast-tracked, while another bill allowing the city of Kannapolis to annex land along a newly constructed Old Beatty Ford Road has experienced some hiccups in the N.C. General Assembly
Last week, the China Grove Satellite Annexations Bill, House Bill 171, passed the House. The bill is sponsored by the Reps. Harry Warren, R-76, Julia Howard, R-77, and Larry Pittman, R-83. Sen. Carl Ford, R-33, filed a companion bill that passed unanimously in the Senate and is now in the House.
Warren expects that since Ford presented the same bill, China Grove’s annexation bill will be passed in the coming weeks.
The bill would add China Grove to an act that removes a cap on satellite annexations — adding land that’s not adjacent to the town into its municipal limits. Removing the cap would allow the town to voluntarily annex commercial properties and residences to benefit from the town’s services, including water and sewer.
For the Kannapolis annexation, initially, Ford and Rowan County’s representatives filed companion bills, Senate Bill 63 and House Bill 84, to allow for the addition of an economic development area in the area of an Interstate 85 exit at a new Old Beatty Ford exit.
The House bill, sponsored by Warren and Howard, was passed in March, 103-1. Pittman did not vote.
The Senate bill, sponsored by Ford, was passed in March unanimously. A section was added to the bill that states, “The city of Kannapolis may exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction in the territory described” at Old Beatty Ford Road.
Ford said that tweak will allow the city to work with the N.C. Department of Transportation to install water and sewer lines instead of “double digging.”
Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said the city is waiting for the bill’s passage to make the annexation final and build water and sewer lines.
“Everyone wants to move ahead right away,” Hinnant said. “This is not only good for Kannapolis but for southern Rowan County and all of Rowan County.”
Because both the Kannapolis annexation and China Grove annexation bills are local bills, they will not require the governor’s signature.
In other action in the legislature:
• Ford, along with Sen. Eddie Gallimore, a Republican who represents Davidson and Montgomery counties, are primary sponsors of a High Rock Lake navigation aids bill, Senate Bill 506.
If passed, the bill would allow funding to install safety buoys and directional beacons at High Rock Lake. Ford said he has received multiple complaints about the lack of buoys in the lake and concerns for boaters and swimmers.
The bill asks for $500,000 for the 2019-20 fiscal year from the state’s general fund to go to Rowan and Davidson counties. For the next fiscal year, the bill asks for an additional $50,000 for maintenance and upkeep of the navigation aids.
Ford said his primary goal is to get the lake up-to-date and make it more appealing.
• Warren says he has received support for a bill on electric vehicle charging stations, House Bill 329.
The bill passed the House last week.
The bill would exempt electric vehicle charging stations from being regulated as a public utility. Warren said the bill would allow electric companies to charge for vehicle charging stations and respond to an expected increase in electric car sales.
Warren is one of several primary sponsors. Others include Reps. John Szoka, R-45, Dean Arp, R-69, and Bobby Hanig, R-6.