Annexation Statutes Declared Unconstitutional

             This is a news flash post.  This afternoon the Raleigh News & Observer posted an online article stating that Superior Court Judge Shannon Joseph struck down as unconstitutional several key sections of the recently enacted legislation that overhauled and neutered North Carolina municipalities’ ability to annex urbanized areas adjoining municipal boundaries.

              The debates and clashes over annexation persisted for years and resulted in one of the most cumbersome and labyrinthine municipal statutes enacted in years.

             To read the article, click here.  To read my previous commentary on this misguided legislation, you’ll find it here: Annexation — Some New and Different Perspectives.

             I have not heard the judge describe the decision, nor have I read the pleadings or the judgment.  My information comes entirely – at this point – from the N&O.  I have learned in law that you should never promise that a certain result will ensue.  But as I sit here I’m considering how high a wager I’ll make that within 30 days of the judgment’s entry this case will be appealed to the Court of Appeals.

            According to the N&O, the problem with the law is that 60 percent of residents living in an annexed area could, through petition, nullify the action.  However, non-resident property owners could “vote,” but resident renters could not.

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3 Responses to “Annexation Statutes Declared Unconstitutional”
  1. Marianne Royle says:

    The majority of states do not allow involuntary annexation by cities.
    High Point’s annexations in the past have been, by far, voluntary. I can think of only one involuntary, into Davidson County. This city has been able to grow far into the undeveloped area north of it. (Annexation by sewer and water line.)
    We thought, when the current law was passed: at last we are no longer disenfranchised!

    I hope you are correct and that the courts will overrule this. In early 2009, a Joint Legislative Study Commission on Municipal Annexation heard from opposing sides on the question, and voted FOR a moratorium and FOR a referendum.

  2. Doug Clark says:

    High Point’s annexation of areas around and north of Oak Hollow Lake in the early 1980s were involuntary and vociferously opposed by residents there.

    I don’t think I read that Tom predicts the ruling will be overturned.

  3. Marianne Royle says:

    My mistakes; I have heard Mayor Becky Smothers numerous times say in public that High Point has never annexed involuntarily. Perhaps she is mistaken, perhaps she’s trying to make political points. Also, when I said courts will overrule the decision, I meant to say it will be taken to higher court (and we hope, overruled).

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