Bill would allow forced annexation of ‘doughnut holes’

The Stop NC Annexation Coalition has issued a “heads up” to annexation opponents concerning a bill to allow Wake County to forcibly annex areas considered to be “doughnut holes.”

H.B. 486 Wake Municipalities/Doughnut Annexations would allow municipalities in Wake County to forcibly annex so-called “doughnut holes,” areas that municipality has surrounded by annexation.

In 2011, the General Assembly approved a bill to require municipalities to conduct a referendum to allow affected residents to vote on annexation. Previously, the law allowed for a petition signed by 60 percent of affected-area landowners to halt the forced annexation.

“The stealth erosion of the new annexation laws has begun,” said Cathy Heath, StopNCAnnexation Coalition director.

“This is how the N.C. League of Municipalities does their dirty work,” said Health. “They lobby for a law that gives one municipality or county an exception to the state law.”

“Then they come back year after year and lobby to add another and another city to the exception,” she said. “These bills pass quietly through the General Assembly without the people noticing.”

Heath said that if HB 496 isn’t stopped in its tracks, changes to the law won’t stop with Wake.

“The satellite annexation laws started with Wake County and then crept across North Carolina city by city,” she said. “Once the cities had the law and many cities included the next step was to expand the law further and further.”

The bill is currently in the House Government Committee. It was to be heard this morning, but the committee meeting was canceled.

“I’m sure the meeting will be rescheduled, but now we have more time to send emails and make calls to legislators,” Heath said. Wake representatives on the committee are Rosa Gill (D), Duane Hall (D), and Yvonne Holley (D).