N.C. General Assembly passes bill suspending Leland’s ability to annex land
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - The N.C. General Assembly passed a bill to suspend the Town of Leland’s authority to annex nearby land on Wednesday, July 12.
The first part of HB 267 de-annexes a property in Holly Springs, and the part relevant to Leland reads as follows:
PART II. LELAND ANNEXATION MORATORIUM
SECTION 4.(a) The authority of the Town of Leland to annex territory under Article 4A of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes is hereby suspended.
SECTION 4.(b) This section shall not apply to any petition for voluntary annexation which has been executed by petitioners on or before March 1, 2023.
SECTION 5. This Part is effective when it becomes law
Republican Senator Bill Rabon, representing Brunswick, Columbus and New Hanover counties, introduced a nearly identical bill in the senate which was copied over to HB 267. The bill passed the House primarily along party lines 63-39, with only six votes in favor from democratic representatives.
The Town of Leland provided the following statement:
“The Town of Leland is disappointed in the decision by the NC General Assembly to restrict the personal property rights of landowners by preventing them from voluntarily annexing into the Town. In recent years, landowners have voluntarily annexed into Leland to take advantage of the quantity, quality, and highly efficient level of service the Town provides. From excellent police and fire service, public utilities, street maintenance, and the quick turnaround for plan reviews and building inspections, landowners see the great value of being a part of Leland. We look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the reasons behind this decision with our state level representatives.”
The Brunswick County Democratic Party released a statement on Thursday.
“This is an amazing act of hypocrisy,” Brunswick County Democratic Party Chair Shelley Allen said. “It was taken by one of the leaders of the Republican Party, a party that campaigns on limited government, local control and protecting personal property rights. This bill flies in the face of each of those principles. It adds to state power, while curbing local government control, and it damages the property rights of landowners who may well want their land to be part of the town.”
The statement says that according to Leland Town Councilman Bill McHugh, the bill was passed without discussion with town leadership or an explanation.
“This region is among the fastest growing in the country, but make no mistake, this bill will not limit growth. It will only limit the right of property owners to enjoy the services provided by the town while contributing to the upkeep of the town, its services, and its infrastructure,” McHugh said.
WECT has reached out to the Brunswick County Republican Party but is yet to receive a response.
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