County, Weddington agree to negotiate with Charlotte
Extending the annexation agreement with Charlotte may take a little longer than expected, as Union County towns are split on starting talks now. After a resolution by county commissioners in support of starting talks to extend the agreement, Weddington’s town council voted in favor of the proposal during their Monday, Sept. 12 meeting. Members of the Marvin council however don’t see a need to start the process so early, for a plan that expires in 2014.
“We are in no rush to sign a new agreement with Charlotte” Marvin Mayor Pro tem, Ron Salimao said. Councilman Ross Overby nodded his head in agreement as Salimao spoke.
“We have to assess where we are in November and then look at who wants to be a part of our community,” Salimao said, referring to the petition referendum currently underway by the Union County Board of Elections.
For the last three years, the ongoing annexation issues have consumed a great deal of time and energy of both the current and preceding Marvin Village councils. Some Council-members would prefer to concentrate on the new Marvin-Efird Park, which will be previewed to the public October 22.
In the past year, the Village officials have had to contend with a lawsuit, day trips to Raleigh to lobby the General Assembly members and most recently, to special legislation that subjected Marvin’s 2008 annexation approval to a petition whereby a vote of 60 percent of landowners can overturn the annexation. The petition is under way and the results will be announced in mid-November.
In July, another annexation issue was presented when the Hunter Oaks home owners association held a neighborhood meeting to discuss and advocate for voluntarily annexing to Marvin. The Hunter Oaks annexation has expanded the controversy beyond Marvin to Monroe and the County commissioners, who have been asked by some homeowners to intervene on their behalf.
Annexation agreements are between municipalities only; counties do not have annexation power, which typically precludes their involvement in any kind of agreement. However, in an effort to belay the fears of some homeowners; Union County Commissioners have asked their staff to facilitate an early renewal of the agreements between Weddington, Marvin, Stallings and Charlotte, all which end in 2014.
Union County’s Planning Director Richard Black is spearheading the county’s effort, by contacting the three municipalities and Charlotte’s annexation planner, Jonathan Wells. Black recently forwarded to each town’s planning officials, a memo from Wells reviewing the history of the various annexation agreements and clarifying the timeline.
In response to an email query by Mr. Black concerning Marvin’s stance on early renewal, he was told that “The Marvin Village Council doesn’t see a need to sign the agreement early. The new state annexation laws seem to give property owners the choice of not being annexed if the Village, Charlotte, or whoever wanted to involuntary annex a neighborhood.” In a follow-up response the County has requested a formal letter stating the Village’s position.
Periodically, municipal governments and staffs review their resolution of consideration, a document, typically a map, that identifies adjoining areas under consideration for annexation in the city’s sphere of influence. Marvin’s resolution of consideration was last updated in 2002 and designates undeveloped land and subdivisions along the New Town Road corridor and along Rea Road to the South Carolina and Charlotte-Mecklenburg border, respectively.
“If both the voluntary and involuntary annexations are successful,” Salimao said, “there may not be a reason to renew our agreement with Charlotte. We have plenty of time to consider our options.”
Weddington’s council meanwhile said they have no problem with starting the process early.
“Go ahead and do it early, it won’t do any harm,” council member Jerry McKee said.
Town attorney Bobby Sullivan detailed that the Hunter Oaks situation didn’t impact Weddington at all, as Hunter Oaks exists in what’s known as the Marvin sphere of influence. Subdivisions that exist in an area’s sphere of influence can only be annexed by that town. In the case of Hunter Oaks, the neighborhood could only be annexed by either Marvin or the city of Charlotte.
“The only subdivision we could annex is Longview,” Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson said.