JLF Memo
Sep. 20th, 2010: - johnlocke.org

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Annexation Abuse Even With Consent: Lessons for North Carolina
By Daren Bakst

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In the Spotlight

The city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, which needs consent from the property owners in the Miller Pond neighborhood before it can annex them, was all set to abuse the state's annexation law, as is common with municipalities across the country.

As reported in the Herald Online:

Rock Hill officials plan to turn off utility taps of county residents who refuse annexation by today's noon deadline despite being asked for an extension, city officials confirmed Tuesday. ...

"We're scared," said David Grigg, president of the Miller Pond homeowners association. "I'd be lying if I said anything different."

Possibly due to its extreme nature, Rock Hill has, for now, decided against taking this action. It certainly is still a possibility, however, if something can't be worked out between the city and the proposed annexed area.

Lessons for North Carolina: Giving people a vote isn't enough to prevent annexation abuse. To have true consent, a municipality should never be allowed to hold something like the denial of water service over a proposed annexed area. That isn't true consent -- it is like pointing a gun at someone's head and asking them to sign a contract.

The other lesson is any annexation reform in North Carolina needs to recognize that municipalities will do whatever it takes, regardless of how disgraceful and unethical their actions, to make up for their incompetence in running their own municipalities. They will always seek out ways to get around changes in the law, so it is critical that any statutory changes must do whatever it can to anticipate abuse.

Quick Takes

Garage Owner Battles City Over Eminent Domain

A battle over a private piece of commercial property is heating up.

Harvey Davis, owner of Davis Garage on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, is fighting the city because it wants to use a portion of his business for a new transportation center, but Davis thinks the plans are too far off base.

Group protests Asheville's annexation plans

More than 20 people lined Charlotte Street on Monday with signs in front of the city's public works building to protest Asheville's planned involuntary annexation of 686 homes south of the city.

Drivers honked at the urging of protesters who waved signs against the city's move to extend its borders around the Royal Pines and Coopers Hawk Drive.


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