High Court Won't Stop Pinewild Annexation
The village of Pinehurst’s annexation of Pinewild will become effective at the end of the month.
The state Supreme Court denied the last appeal from annexation opponents Jan. 28, though its decision was not certified and published until this week.
The Village Council adopted an ordinance to annex Pinewild effective June 30, 2008, but it has been on hold pending resolution of state and federal lawsuits. All of the rulings along the way favored the village but were appealed.
Under state law, annexations cannot take place until after appeals make their way through the judicial system. The statute automatically amends the effective date of court-challenged annexations to “the last day of the next full calendar month following the date of final judgment.”
That means the village can officially annex Pinewild effective Feb. 28.
“It’s time to get past the rancor,” Village Manager Andy Wilkison said, “and move forward with providing them the very best services we can. Hopefully, [Pinewild residents] will eventually be happy they’re in the village and continue to be the productive citizens they have been.
“[Those against annexation] fought the good fight and raised some interesting questions. The court’s ruled. It’s time for all of us to abide by that and move on.”
Most observers expected Pinewild to become part of Pinehurst sometime early this year. Just when that would be depended on the ultimate decision by the state’s high court.
In the wake of a unanimous rejection by a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals, opponents asked the Supreme Court of North Carolina to grant a further hearing on their case anyway. They filed a “petition for discretionary review” (PDR), and that sidelined annexation pending a decision.
The list of petitions granted or denied by the N.C. Supreme Court published Jan. 29 did not include an order on Pinewild. The justices had actually ruled on the petition for review only a day earlier, so their Jan. 28 order was not signed and certified by the clerk until Wednesday.
It may not mean the end of the legal fight. John and Lydia Boesch have been among the most vigorous opponents, and contend that gated communities are different and that annexation takes value away for which residents should be paid.
They contend that it is the same as when the state takes property to build a road or a school, arguing that this question has never been decided by any court.
Lydia Boesch, herself an attorney, has said they ought to be able to get some court to answer the simple question of whether annexation of a private, gated community is or is not a “taking” for which the Constitution mandates payment.
They tried to obtain a declaratory judgment on that question, but the effort was blocked. Federal judges refused to rule, saying that they consider such matters only after alleged takings actually occur. State courts dismissed it as well.
In Carthage, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb dismissed their request for a declaratory judgment on that question and ordered them not to file it again.
Lydia Boesch could not be reached for comment on the high court’s ruling, but earlier had said that annexation will put Pinewild in a different status.
Once Pinehurst has actually annexed the gated community, affected property owners would be able, as the federal courts said, to file actions for “inverse condemnation” and demand compensation.
She has said they will ask courts to award payment in compensation for what they contend annexation took from them.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story