Saturday, June 25, 2011

Annexation Legislation Passed by the Legislature!

To All,
A Very Good Year For Annexation Reform!

The 2011 Legislative Session has been a very good year for the effort to obtain real change to the Annexation Laws of NC that helps to protect property rights for all North Carolina citizens. 

It took many years as well as a historic change in the Leadership of the General Assembly, and the journey had its ups and downs, but real change has finally been ratified by the Legislature and is before the Governor. The change will be positive for those living near municipalities and those living inside of municipalities, because the much of the incentive to misuse the law has been removed. 

To achieve this historic change to the law required the efforts of every single person who has spoken up in opposition to the practice and who then took the needed action to be heard loud and clear in the General Assembly, whether through emails, phone calls, visits to legislators, attending events and hearings, or taking the annexation issue to the voting booth. 

Last week at the General Assembly was intense, with the annexation legislation being brought to a final vote and ratified amidst long hours, late nights, and competition with many other Bills. The priority that the new Legislative Leadership gave to the issue of restoring some rights to property owners being targeted by city initiated annexation is much appreciated by StopNCAnnexation and the thousands of people and local Community Groups who have supported this effort to change the law over the last decade. 

What Happened in the Legislature Last Week?

During the week of June 12th, the Annexation Reform Act of 2011 (H845) was taken up by the Senate Finance Committee, voted through on the floor of the Senate, passed to the House for concurrence and ratified on the Floor of the House on June 17th. H845 was sent to the Governor for signature and was received by the Governor on June 20th. 

Our sincere thanks goes out to the House and Senate Leadership, the staff members of the Legislative Leaders, whose hard work on this legislation was critical, to the Sponsors of H845, who worked hard to defend and the legislation and gain support for it, and to ALL the Legislators who voted FOR the Annexation Reform Act and the Local Omnibus Bills H56 & S27. (voting record posted on the SNCA website)

The next step in the progress for this legislation is in the Governor's hands.  

If the Governor takes no action on H845 between now and June 30th, on July 1st the legislation becomes law.  

What Has Been Changed in the Annexation Laws?

H845 changes:
  • No more "small city/large city" special rules
  • One year advance notice from the city considering an area
  • An added provision to allow property owners to obtain water and sewer infrastructure from the annexing municipality to their property at zero to reduced cost
  • Added a provision that allows area property owners to REJECT the annexation proposal
  • Areas that reject an annexation proposed by the city cannot be considered again for three years
For more detailed information about how the Annexation Reform Act changes the law, visit the SNCA website:
What About the Areas Currently Being Forcibly Annexed?

Additional legislation was also passed last week that allows nearly every area currently being forcibly annexed the right to use the Petition to Reject.

Nine Municipalities will have the current attempt to forcibly annex areas made subject to the results of the Petition to Reject. The legislation allows the property owners being annexed by these cities the right to use the Petition to Reject as enacted by H845. Many will be watching this new process in action as these local communities will be the first to use it.

Those cities are: Kinston, Lexington, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, Asheville (Biltmore Lakes), Marvin, Southport, Fayetteville (Gates Four), and Goldsboro.

Three cities in the process of forcibly annexing communities that opposed being annexed that were not included in this special legislation are Burlington, Elizabethtown, and a small area annexed by Asheville. "Why?" is a question that still needs an answer.

All of this legislation is dependent now on what the Governor chooses to do with H845. 
Governor Purdue can choose one of three options;
  • She can VETO H845
  • She can SIGN H845
  • She can allow the bill to remain unsigned without veto for ten days which would allow H845 to become law without her signature.
You can contact the Governor to communicate your support for the passage of H845:

Office of the Governor
Constituent Services Office
116 West Jones Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Phone: (800) 662-7952 or (919) 733-2391
Fax: (919) 733-2120

Contact information for Legislators who can be thanked for making this legislation a priority can also be found on the StopNCAnnexation website. 

Thanks to everyone for your sacrifices made for this cause.

Catherine Heath

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