COLIN MCKENZIE: Annexation Law Protects Us All
John Rowerdink's column of Feb. 27, headlined "Not All Pinewilders Are Opposed to Annexation," was so refreshing. I have read articles on the subject that are full of half-truths and greatly exaggerated numbers and percentages presented by the Stop the Taking of Pinewild (StTOP) group.
One incident occurred a few years ago when developers representing Pinewild wormed their way into a county commissioners' work session and attempted to develop 425 acres in the county, contiguous to Pinewild, but not in the village of Pinehurst's extraterritorial jurisdiction. They had prepared charts and were ready to build about 800 predominately multifamily dwellings on the tract.
County ordinances and zoning could have accepted the development as submitted. But many Pinewild homeowners were very upset and didn't want that development tacked on to Pinewild, using their roads and two golf courses. The village of Pinehurst supported their request not to approve the development, citing the original agreement with Pinewild as being a single-family, high-end development with no multifamily units. The development has not been resubmitted, but it could be,
In 2006, StTOP persuaded three of our county commissioners, Michael Holden, Virginia Saunders and David Cummings, and our state representative, Joe Boylan, to support their cause. Immediately after the primary election in May, when two of the commissioners, Saunders and Cummings, lost the primary, they teamed with another lame duck, Holden, who had chosen not to run again, and passed a resolution declaring Moore County against forced annexation. No advance notice of the resolution was given before the meeting. It was never staffed or discussed. Only after heated discussion, the motion was passed on a 3-2 vote and forwarded to Raleigh. Tim Lea and I voted against.
Later the municipalities in the county were canvassed on the subject. Replies from Managers Reagan Parsons of Southern Pines, Bill Zell of Aberdeen, Carol Sparks of Carthage and Andy Wilkison of Pinehurst all supported the state law as it is written pertaining to annexation. These are the five major municipalities in Moore County. No municipalities supported changing the law.
One of the first actions taken by the new board of commissioners when sworn in was to vote unanimously to rescind the resolution submitted by the lame duck board six months earlier. At the time, only four counties out of 100 had requested any change in the annexation law. The new commissioners and the municipalities agreed with the 96 other counties in the state to leave the annexation laws as they are.
Joe Boylan was also a loud proponent of StTOP at the local level and sponsored the legislation in Raleigh. He also was soundly defeated in the primary. Those who survived the election and voted unanimously to rescind the resolution represented the great majority of citizens in Moore County, not just the few in Pinewild.
Annexation laws serve a purpose. In most instances, they provide protection to municipalities. People trying to eliminate our annexation laws are endangering their own interests by not seeing the whole picture. Their efforts to benefit themselves personally and financially would have a detrimental effect on the rest of the county's citizens who live in municipalities.
Thank you, Mr. Rowerdink. Your closing comment -- "we have not only rights but also responsibilities, and one of them is to pay the taxes we owe" -- says it all. I agree with you, and so do the county commissioners and the municipalities. Thank you for explaining the true facts and how I'm sure many of your neighbors feel.
Colin McKenzie is a former member of the Pinehurst Village Council and a former member and chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
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