Sunday, February 22, 2009

Changes to NC Annexation Laws

The N&O features a fairly insignificant article -- with a significant sidebar -- today on the howling of Republicans and of property-rights-over-all Constitutionalists that reform is needed for NC's laws allowing cities to involuntarily annex adjacent and overtaken neighborhoods.

Here's the money (from the sidebar):

The legislature has a menu of options if members decide to address the controversies over involuntary annexation.

MORATORIUM: Bills have already been filed to delay annexation in specific counties. A statewide moratorium cleared the House but died in the Senate last year.

REFERENDUM: Supporters of this option say that people have a right to determine their own fate and therefore should be allowed to vote on whether they are annexed into a city or town.

REVISE ANNEXATION PROCEDURES: This option has the most support in the legislature. The idea is to change the law to require cities and towns to give property owners more time and ways to react to an annexation proposal. Options include giving property owners more time to challenge an annexation and giving a commission the power to review annexations.

If I were an NC city administrator, and considering the lack of steel currently in the General Assembly, I think I could live with the last option (which, incidentally, "has the most support in the legislature"). But I'd also expect that moratorium while Option 3 gets written as legislation. Wouldn't you?

It would be a bad move to strangle North Carolina's vibrant little (and big) cities. But that's where this anti-annexation movement will arrive eventually. (And by the way, I idolize Thomas Jefferson a good deal MORE, I wager, than the people quoting him right now.)

No comments: