RALEIGH -- State lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to an overhaul to North Carolina's current annexation laws during the last legislative session.
Among other things, the law said city services need to be provided, and at a quicker rate, for newly annexed landowners or that the landowner can opt out.
It is another bullet point of the law that had several cities really balking at the proposal. It said that taxpaying citizens would have have the opportunity to override a city's annexation decision.
The law said that if 60 percent of landowners choose not to allow the annexation, it can't happen.
“It was an important aspect, “ said Paul Meyer with N.C. League of Municipalities, “but most certainly was one of those issues that was hotly in debate during the discussion.”
Then secondary legislation was passed to include annexations already in progress to be part of the petition process. On Monday, a judge said this petition process is unconstitutional.
“It is upsetting to me that those good, hardworking people,” said James Eldrige, an attorney working with folks in the Monkey Junction area near the coast, “what they worked for so hard is now suddenly reversed.”
With this ruling from the courts, legislators said the next step might be redrafting this law.
“I think if some of these cities continue to push down this road, they may not like what they get back from the General Assembly,” said Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Wake County Republican.
It is likely this ruling with be appealed to a higher court.