Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fighting Annexation - A Book

Grady Jefferys has written a book that explains the history of, and the "players" in, the creation of the North Carolina Annexation Statutes as we have them today. The cities couldn't force you into their boundaries, under their thumb, and onto their property tax rolls so easily before 1959.

I have been anxiously awaiting the announcement that the book has been published and just got the news this week that it is available for purchase.

The book covers much of the history of the passage of the 1959 statute changes along with much about the North Carolina League of Municipalities role in getting the Legislature to give the Municipalities this unilateral power over property owners in North Carolina. The author has pulled no punches about the self interest of the NCLM in achieving this goal at the expense of the individual rights of property owners who chose to live outside of municipal governance.

The book is easy to read and very current as to where we all are in the battle between the property owners and the cities. It is a primer for all North Carolina citizens who live outside of municipal boundaries and don't know the threat that these annexation statutes pose to them. And the book is "must read" for any property owner who is living within an Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction of a city. If you don't know if you live in an "ETJ" or not, it's time to find out quickly, because you are most at risk to being forced to become part of the nearby city.

Cities large and small in North Carolina have been increasingly planning and moving forward with forced annexations lately. As I have researched and learned about the issue of forced annexation over the last four years, one thing that I have heard and seen many times is that the North Carolina League of Municipalities is the biggest advocate on the block for using forced annexation to enlarge the existing cities and the major obstacle to reforming this un-American practice. Preserving this power to steamroll over individual rights is one of the NCLM's top priorities. NC citizens can't afford to wait until the city is knocking down their doors and tramping through their back yards to get involved.

The author doesn't leave the reader wondering about what to do about the reality of forced annexation in North Carolina. The book includes thoughtful and practical advice that more NC property owners need to arm themselves with and put into action.

StopNCAnnexation will keep you informed about how to purchase a copy of this long awaited and timely book by Grady Jefferys.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Eminent Domain for Private Redevelopment?

August 30th N&O Business Section article:

PPP "soldiering on":
(Weren't we 'assured' that "it can't happen here"?)

Today's N&O Editorial

N&O wrote:

Published: Sep 05, 2006 12:30 AM
Modified: Sep 05, 2006 07:28 AM
Still rolling

Tom Darden, former chairman of the Triangle Transit Authority and CEO of Cherokee Investment Partners, still believes in a rail system to serve this area, and he still believes it would be smart to develop high-density, multi-use residences, offices and businesses near the sites of rail stations.
And that goes for Darden even though the TTA has withdrawn its request for $810 million in federal funding for a 28-mile regional rail system.

Darden, whose company is working on other projects around the country involving development around transportation systems, believes calling a halt to dense development around rail station sites just because of hitches in getting started would be a serious mistake.

Time and again in a meeting with News & Observer editors and reporters, Darden said he is confident the system would be built, even though the precise day of beginning and the day of completion can't now be determined.
Read the entire editorial here:
Cherokee Partners has been lauded in "Local Boy Makes Good" stories and other stories about how innovative the company has been in cleaning up contaminated soils by turning it into bricks, but little attention has been paid to the role that Cherokee Partners has played in government land grabs for Redevelopment Areas around the nation. In case anyone failed to notice in the earlier article posted above, Cherokee Partners is going to cash in on land that TTA has aquired by eminent domain or supposed "willing sellers" under the threat of eminent domain.

It seems that Cherokee jumped on the transportation gravy train of corporate welfare a long time ago and this partnership is one that we need to watch very closely with much concern! wrote:

Camden's 'renewal' is really just a land grab
"In April 2004, Cherokee Investment Partners, a development company from North Carolina, submitted to the city both a study of Cramer Hill and a plan for the neighborhood's future. The study explained that Cramer Hill was a blighted area ("blight" and "area in need of redevelopment" are legal terms of art now used interchangeably by developers)." article

When the N&O editorial states that their editors and reporters "meet time and again" with Darden, and one of their reporters that I have written to about this partnership says; " I don't know what a 'blight' statute is or whether NC has one, ..." and thinks that whatever a blight statute might be is irrelevant because the land taken "...does not involve property that has been labeled as contaminated or otherwise damaged." , the citizens have to take this very seriously and be their own watchdogs on how this plays out.

TTA and Cherokee both say that they will aquire additional land for the projects. By what means?? Will ED be used or hang like a threat over future deals? Are we already looking at a case of using eminent domain for private redevelopment here?
It looks that way to me.