Council decides not to bring in Chatsworth, surrounding area
One month after approving an annexation study, the Weddington Town Council decided not to move ahead with plans to bring in the Chatsworth subdivision and surrounding areas.
During their meeting Monday, Nov. 8, council members rejected the annexation idea 3-2, with Mayor Nancy Anderson breaking the tie.
“Given the fierce opposition, I am not in favor of a forced annexation, ” Anderson said. “To drag people in is kind of counterproductive.”
In October, the town moved forward with a study of the estimated 38 acres of property, currently in unincorporated Union County. They include Chatsworth, a subdivision off Providence Road, the neighborhoods of Victoria Lake, Hawkstone and Hampton Fare, property owned by former N.C. Rep. Curtis Blackwood. A survey of the residents showed 70 percent had no interest in joining Weddington, seeing no real difference in services.
Currently, those areas are patrolled by sheriff’s deputies, with various fire departments and emergency medical services answering calls.
Given the opposition, council members question why the town should move forward with something bound to end up in court.
“We’re gonna get a lawsuit, ” councilman Jerry McKee said, wondering if the cost would be worth the end result.
Over the last few years, Weddington has sought to protect itself from what town leaders see as a possible flood of chain retailers. When the issue comes up, residents repeatedly say they don’t want more commercial development in the town. To guarantee the zoning around the town limits stays residential, Weddington looked to annex certain properties.
The town still can use its extra-territorial jurisdiction, something that hasn’t gone too well for Union County municipalities in recent years. In 2008, Wesley Chapel attempted to impose restrictions on unincorporated areas, only to lose in the court system.
“Our main objective was to have some (zoning) control over the area, ” Anderson said. “It’s the council’s objective to have control over the undeveloped parcels along our border.” That doesn’t mean the town should pull in people who don’t want to be residents, Anderson said.
The thing is, Anderson said, any restaurant owners who want to open up a business in the unincorporated area will eventually need Weddington more than the town needs them.
“Now they’re gonna be on their own against the county, ” Anderson said. “If they want to have a restaurant and serve liquor by the drink, they have to come in to Weddington, as we’re in a dry county. My feeling is we don’t need them, they need us.”