Forced annexation is now history in North Carolina. Gov. Beverly Perdue allowed H.B. 845, the Annexation Reform Act to become law without her signature. The key provision of this bill allows property owners in an affected area to stop a forced annexation if 60 percent of the property owners sign a protest petition. The bill would also require municipalities to provide free water and sewer hookups for property owners in the proposed annexation area.
“This represents a huge change to a very bad law that was a blemish on the State of North Carolina,” said Cathy Heath, director of StopNCAnnexation. “This is a change of historic significance.”
StopNCAnnexation was formed eight years ago by a Wake County group fighting a forced annexation with a mission to use the internet to organize citizens across North Carolina into a cohesive effort, to assist each other and convince the legislature to end forced annexation.
Heath said she was puzzled by the governor’s decision not to sign the bill, but to take a “hands off approach” and let it become law by default. She noted that thousands of people, nearly two dozen citizens groups and the UNC Center for Civil Rights supported the bill. The bill passed with a strong bipartisan vote in both the House and Senate.
“In light of all of the support the legislation had among the people and the overwhelming majority of the legislature, it is hard to understand why Governor Purdue chose not to show genuine support for the bill,” Heath said.
The bill also eliminates different annexation rules for “small” and “large” municipalities, requires municipalities to give a one year advance notice to areas being considered for annexation, and prohibits a city or town from attempting to annex an area again for three years once the property owners have rejected annexation.
Another bill that passed the legislature and is now law will allow nearly every community currently being forcibly annexed to use the petition process to reject annexation. The municipalities affected include Kinston, Lexington, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, Asheville, Marvin, Southport, Fayetteville, and Goldsboro.
For more information:
- The Civitas Institute: Legislature imposes new hurdles for involuntary annexations
North Carolina’s historic annexation reform bill became law automatically on July 1, 2001. Maybe not so ironically, 135 years ago, on July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress reconvened to consider a resolution introduced in June by Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee that: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
That resolution was approved by 12 of the 13 States (New York not voting) the next day, and for the the next three days Congress debated a statement drafted in support of that resolution. The statement was formally the work of a committee of five: John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of Connecticut; Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York; and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia; but with only minor edits, the document was entirely the work of Jefferson.
On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress officially adopted the statement, now know to the world as the Declaration of Independence.