Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Great Editorial about Annexation Moratorium

First the latest from the out of control cities of NC:

The Village of Marvin is at it again: http://www.charlotte.com/breaking_news/story/598820.html

Wendell Commissioners oppose moratorium plan

And now the good news:

The Editor of the Freedom Communication, Inc. Newpapers has published an excellent editorial in support of a temporary moratorium on forced annexation. This editorial has appeared in a number of their newspapers, including the Kinston Free Press and the Jacksonville Daily News. We need to thank them for being consistent supporters of property rights issues for years, including their support for putting an end to forced annexation.

'Forced' shouldn't be part of policy in free society

A temporary hold on annexations?

In a free society, property owners should have the legal status that would allow them to choose whether or not to be taken into a city or town.

April 28, 2008 - 6:34PM

Some encouraging news came out of a special legislative committee that is studying municipal annexations. The study panel wants the state to enact a one-year moratorium on involuntary annexations.

While we'd like to see forced annexations banned altogether, this moratorium proposal is a step in the right direction. It's just that the idea of "force" doesn't mix very well with the idea of a free society.

It's worth noting that a number of cities and towns across North Carolina don't use the involuntary annexation powers that the General Assembly has given. They should be commended.

But those that do use such powers should stop.For decades, municipalities across the state have used this power as a growth tool.

They decide that property that is outside their corporate limits is ripe for annexation, so they vote to swallow tracts of land into the city.

The problem with this method is that those being annexed effectively have little that they can do to stop this land grab. In a free society, property owners should have the legal status that would allow them to choose whether or not to be taken into a city or town.

That actually occurs quite often in North Carolina. Developers may be building an office park or residential community and believe that their projects will be more valuable if they have city services such as water and sewer or street lights. In that case, they will petition a city for annexation.

Likewise, an established community might desire the police and fire protection that a municipality has to offer and be willing to pay the extra taxes that annexation would demand. Complaints are held to a minimum when those types of voluntary annexation occur.

However, when neighborhoods or tracts of property are taken in against the will of those being annexed, the complaints go up. People feel that they've been violated and they have.

Over the years, many municipalities - including Jacksonville - have experienced sone heated battles over forced annexation, producing hard feelings that take a while to go away.

Supporters of an involuntary annexation moratorium will likely have their hands full when the General Assembly comes back into session next month.

Expect to see municipalities and supporters of this unfair growth tool fight the moratorium, or at least weaken it so that it's rendered ineffective.

While we'd like to see an elimination of involuntary annexation altogether, having a moratorium is a good first step.

Thank you Freedom Communications Editor!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Moratorium on Forced Annexation_ Where We Are

In a nutshell....
We DON'T actually have a moratorium....YET.

There is still work for us to do to make a moratorium a reality.

This Annexation Study Committee is a HOUSE committee only.

  • The Committee is recommending a moratorium.
  • The House has to introduce a Bill and PASS it.
  • The Bill then has to be PASSED BY THE SENATE.
  • Then it needs to be ratified by the whole General Assembly,
  • and signed by the Governor.
WE all need to keep those letters and phone calls to all of our legislators pouring in!

We need to make sure that all candidates for the House and Senate take a stand on reforming Forced Annexation!

If we DON'T the League of Municipalities will roll right over our elected Representatives with little opposition.

House Select Committee Discussion and Vote on Moratorium

Watch the video of the House Study Committee voting for the moratorium.

Plan to come to Raleigh and spend the afternoon on June 4th for the Citizens Rally for Reform of Annexation.

See YOU there!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 23rd Select Committee Meeting

I attended the Select Committee on Annexation meeting and it was very lightly attended by the general public. It was interesting though.

This meeting was supposed to be dedicated to deciding what the Committee was going to recommend to the General Assembly when they convene on May 15th.

The first item on the Agenda was a presentation by Tony Tetterton of Johnston County. He has put together a very professional and well documented Power Point that cataloged and demonstrated case examples of NC cities stretching, violating and abusing the Annexation Statutes. His presentation was the underscore to all of the testimony from hundreds of citizens who have come to the Public Hearings and have otherwise shared their story with the Committee.

The Committee members then each presented their ideas on what should be the priority recommendation. It was nearly unanimous that the first thing needed is a moratorium on forced annexation, including those now in progress.

After deliberating, the Committee added satellite annexations to the moratorium and took a vote on Rep. Goforth's motion to recommend a moratorium. The only two members to vote against this were Judith Wegner and Rep. Tucker.
If any of those reading this are Tucker's constituents, I do hope that you will remember this when you go to the polls to vote in November.

Rep. Larry Brown re-affirmed his commitment to the fight to change this law and restore a vote on annexation to the people.

Rep Nelson Dollar stated that the citizens have ZERO rights with the current law and this needs addressing. He noted how the number of annexations have 'ramped up' over the last several years. He stated that if the lawmakers could not approve a direct vote, then giving the County Commissioners a deciding voice in city annexations would be the next best thing.

After much deliberating by all, the motion was made and the vote taken. This vote is just one step on the way to passing a moratorium and a tiny step toward getting meaningful reform of the laws. There is a lot of work ahead for everyone who wants real change. The letters have to continue and a strong focus on the Senators is needed now.

Mr. Andy Romanet, from the NCLM, was at the meeting today along with several others from the League office.
A representative from the NCACC was sitting with the NCLM crowd.
Mr. Romanet spoke to the Committee at the end to let them know that he was not at all happy with the fact that he was not given the opportunity to review Tony Tetterton's video presentation in advance of the meeting! Really!! Why should he have been given that??
We were not given that opportunity before the NCLM gave their presentations.

The representative from the County Commissioners Association responded to a request from the Committee for the views of the County Commissioners. Mr. Paul Meyer, who is the Associations Senior Associate General Council, told the Committee about the Annexation Study Subcommittee that submitted their recommendations at a meeting held on 4/18. He did not share the details of the report. He told the Committee that the Association Board planned to work with the NCLM in a joint review of the recommendations before they would approve any of the Subcommittee's recommendations.
I was provided a copy of the recommendations and make them available to you at the link above the Legislative Update window.

There seems to be a notable level of agreement between quite a few of the organizations that have submitted recommendations to the Study Committee.

Now we need to convince the Study Committee and the majority of the NC House and Senate to come to agreement that these proposed changes need to be adopted.
Let's start hammering the NC Senate to get onboard.

The NCLM wasted no time in sending out the word to cities to start contacting the Legislators immediately to try and derail any chances for this moratorium.

And don't forget to ask ALL candidates for their position on reforming forced annexation. I have been posting the candidate who have taken a public position for reforming annexation to the website: http://www.stopncannexation.com/candidates_page.htm

Please try to come to Raleigh on June 4th for the Fourth Annual Annexation Reform Rally. This year, with the momentum for reform building, it is extremely important that the attendance numbers reach the hundreds. Every year, the Rally has grown and this has had a very positive affect on how the General Assembly has responded to the citizens requests for reform. Please mark your calendars and make plans to be in downtown Raleigh for the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4/9 Public Hearing in Raleigh

April 9th's Public Hearing in Raleigh was attended by close to 400 people. Extra seats had to be brought in and there were still people standing across the back of the room. 90 people signed up to speak to the committee.

Many areas across NC were represented at this hearing. Just from the speakers list, there were at least 16 Counties represented. There were probably more if those who didn't speak had been surveyed.
Add to this turnout the people from Western NC Counties who attended the Study Committee Hearing in Buncombe Co. and the Counties represented easily rises to TWENTY COUNTIES speaking out against a forced annexation.

The Rowan County opponents to forced annexation really turned out in numbers and were very well prepared, but everyone there spoke eloquently in the limited time that they were given. There is only so much one can say in three minutes. The comments that have been heard by the Committee are absolutely having a positive impact on the understanding by Committee members that there are serious problems with how the cities are using and abusing this power to annex by force.
Rowan County Commissioners stepped up for their constituents at this hearing also! KUDO's to them for this!
Senator Brock was also at the hearing and he stayed till the very end.

Of note and very much appreciated, was the fact that a representative for NC State Grange and two people with the Moore County group, Southern Moore Alliance of Excluded Communities were there to speak to the Committee.

The Hearing was also attended by a small group of city officials enlisted by the League of Municipalities. They ALL read from their scripts that Ellis Hankins provided for them and anyone listening could tell that their comments weren't exactly their own. Most if not all of the City Officials left soon after they gave their canned comments.

The Study Committee could have saved a little time by telling Ellis Hankins that he should just read his own material once and be done with it. That would be a generous allowance for the hearing given that the Committee has already given Ellis over 30 minutes of their time at a previous meeting along with an equal amount of time for the City Attorney from the NCLM's favorite City of Charlotte.

The Hearing lasted for FIVE HOURS and more than half of the people who came to speak for reform stayed to the end.

I think that I can say for most of us that we do appreciate the opportunity that the House Study Committee gave us with this hearing and we appreciate the time that they gave to this on Wednesday night.

I'm sure that we will all continue to provide the Committee with ongoing communications to assist them in enacting the proper reforms for the people of North Carolina.

Candidates and incumbents in this upcoming election need to hear the voice of the people, and if we all speak up, they will hear us.

Thanks to all who made the time and effort to be at the hearing.

You can view videos of comments made at the hearing at Tony Tettertons Google site:

Friday, April 11, 2008

More Events for Rowan Warriors!

A comment was added to the post about the Rowan demonstrations.
Here it is:

We have additional demonstrations in Salisbury, NC scheduled for each Saturday in April at noon til 1 pm on the square (Main and Innes
Street). Rain or shine, we will demonstrate. All participants are welcome. We have signs for the 10 demonstrators allowed by city code. Others can participate by handing out literature, giving us moral support by your presence, and taking a turn at carrying our signs. You can also drive by and honk at us. We love the honking and it irritates the city of Salisbury. You can make your own sign, if you wish. Maximum size allowed by city code is 24" by 24"
We meet at the Farmer's Market in the 300 block of South Main street at about 11:40 AM to give out signs.

Larry Wright
Rowan County

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Annexation Study Public Hearing

The April 9th Public Hearing in Raleigh
has been moved
to the Legislative Building Auditorium.

The Legislative Building is on Jones St. across from the Science and History Museums.

The auditorium is up the red carpeted stairs that you see when you enter the front door.

DAY: Wednesday

TIME: 5:00 p.m.

DATE: April 9, 2008

LOCATION: 3rd Floor Auditorium – Legislative Building

There will be sign up sheets for those wishing to make comments to the Committee.
Arrive early to make sure that you are signed up to speak.

Come to this Public Hearing even if you do not want to speak.

It is very important that we show the legislators just how strong the call for reform is in North Carolina. A large turnout for this hearing will speak loudly.

If you haven't seen them yet, the presentations to the Committee at the Public Hearing that was held on March 14th in Asheville are online at Google video.

They are great and you can view them here:


Thanks to Tony Tetterton from Johnston County for recording these and all the Committee presentations.