Marvin council member objects to being singled out by Rep. Horn
Towns shouldn’t annex properties unless they can offer something new to homeowners. North Carolina House Representative Craig Horn made that declaration April 21, speaking at a town hall meeting held at the Wesley Chapel Fire Station on Newtown Road.
Horn singled out Marvin’s annexation of 14 area subdivisions as a “land grab”, stating the village had nothing to offer the residents. Horn’s perspective drew a sharp rebuke from Marvin Mayor Pro Tem Ron Salimao, calling the threat to overturn the annexation a political attack.
“Eighteen years ago Marvin was formed to protect us from Charlotte” Salimao said, “Marvin residents do not want extra services or high taxes. To call this [annexation] a land grab is incorrect, we do offer services like planning & zoning that makes sure you don’t have a trailer next to your $2 million home, we offer a park and green-ways, we are building a community for the future.”
Horn spoke of Walden-Pond subdivision fighting the annexation. When asked about the 13 other subdivisions, Mr. Salimao said “I have never received a letter from anyone since I have been on council. These subdivisions form the center of the donut and they need to be part of the town.”
For more than 50 years, the North Carolina cities and towns have exercised an unparalleled authority to forcibly annex adjoining land and property without the approval of its owners. That could change very soon as legislators pit one annexation reform bill against another.
The apparent front-runner is House bill 845, a compromise bill sanctioned by a reluctant North Carolina League of Municipalities, who prefer this bill to an annexation moratorium. The challenger is House bill 531 sponsored by four term Rep. Larry Brown of Davidson and Forsyth counties.
Both bills change the annexation picture, forcing municipalities to offer services and allowing citizens a voice in the process. Brown’s HB531 annexation reform is more restrictive and protective landowners under threat of annexation.
In a letter to House members he pointed out the many differences. For example, Rep. Brown stated that his bill requires the annexation law apply the same to all sized cities; he defined the meaningful services cities must give the annexed landowners, in specific terms and his bill allows for a referendum vote, if five percent of the area residents protest the annexation action.
“Cities throughout the state have proven that they have no respect for the common citizen. For over five decades, they have only been on the take.” Brown said in his letter, “They have given as little as permitted and often less. Drastic changes must be made to protect the citizens and prevent cities from continuing the assault on unwilling and virtually helpless residents.”
“I do not have any annexation problem in my district, but I care about you and what happens to the “of the people and for the people.”” Brown wrote, “All I see with HB 845 is “for the NCLM.””
Meanwhile, the lawsuit seeking to overturn the Marvin annexation is waiting for a decision from the North Carolina Appeals Court. Representative Craig Horn, while offering no further statements on the Marvin issue, said he stand by his remarks and will seek to protect Union County citizens from forced annexation.