General Assembly, court case could put a hold on village plans
Marvin’s battle over annexation plans continue on two fronts.
Next week, on Thursday, April 14, lawyers for the village and the group of property owners resisting annexation will present oral arguments before the state Court of Appeals. Marvin won a summary judgment in the lower court.
Even with a victory in court, the General Assembly could delay Marvin’s annexation plans indefinitely. Currently, more than a dozen bills have been filed before the General Assembly aimed at limiting municipal annexation authority or imposing a temporary moratorium.
“The Senate [S27] bill seems to have the most support in the short term,” Union County state Rep. Craig Horn said, “but the overhaul bill [H531] will take much more time to work through.”
Opponents of the moratorium fear the once enacted, it could stay in effect for longer than originally intended.
“I’m worried that the [NC] bill could wind up like Virginia,” Marvin Mayor Nick Dispenziere said, referring to the 24-year temporary moratorium enacted by Virginia in 1987, when that state began to overhaul its policy. “I am not in favor of involuntary annexation; I think there needs to be some legislation to create a process that is fair, perhaps a referendum or something like that” Dispenziere said.
In May 2010, Marvin established a comprehensive annexation policy to serve as a guideline for future annexations. The policy outlined a set of objectives; providing better zoning, higher level of community services like parks and greenways, orderly process for future annexations and developing a master plan to approach all the neighborhoods in the Marvin sphere of influence.
“We are looking toward the future, to grow as a community” Councilman Ross Overby said. “I believe most people feel as though they’re already a part of Marvin, there is a spirit of community and the annexation process provides us with a contiguous area where we can offer more efficient services.”
“More than anything, we need to provide police services” Overby said. “We need to be proactive in deterring crime. We have plans to bring in at least two more officers with this annexation.”
Voluntary annexation is the method most municipalities prefer. Monroe, for example, has an informal policy of only considering voluntary annexations. Charlotte on the other hand has a more structured policy of biennial (every other year) reviews of adjacent areas to the city that are evaluated for annexation.