Constitutional amendment on annexation proposed

A bill requiring a referendum among property owners in areas proposed for annexation, currently in the House Government Committee. The bill, introduced by Representatives Pittman, Hardister, and Ford, would put a constitutional amendment before voters to require municipalities that want to annex areas to hold a vote of the residents in the area under consideration and win approval of two-thirds of the voters. This policy follows the trend by the General Assembly toward ever-tighter annexation requirements.

House Bill 79 Main Page

Short Title:        Annexation Amendment. (Public)
Sponsors: Representatives Pittman, Hardister, and Ford (Primary Sponsors).

For a complete list of Sponsors, refer to the North Carolina General Assembly Web Site.

Referred to: Government, if favorable, Finance.

February 11, 2013

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to amend the Constitution of North Carolina to restrict annexation by municipalities.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Section 1 of Article VII of the Constitution of North Carolina reads as rewritten:

Section 1. General Assembly to provide for local government.

The General Assembly shall provide for the organization and government and the fixing of boundaries of counties, cities and towns, and other governmental subdivisions, and, except as otherwise prohibited by this Constitution, may give such powers and duties to counties, cities and towns, and other governmental subdivisions as it may deem advisable.

The General Assembly may not authorize any annexation initiated by a city, town, or other government subdivision unless the eligible voters living within the proposed area of annexation, and they alone, are allowed to vote, and the proposed annexation is approved by two‑thirds of those voting. Such election shall be placed on the ballot in accordance with law within the proposed area of annexation for the general election next occurring after the municipality proposes the annexation. This paragraph does not prohibit property owners from requesting annexation if they so desire. No city, town, or other governmental subdivision may exercise any jurisdiction beyond the corporate limits.

The General Assembly shall not incorporate as a city or town, nor shall it authorize to be incorporated as a city or town, any territory lying within one mile of the corporate limits of any other city or town having a population of 5,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of population taken by order of Congress, or lying within three miles of the corporate limits of any other city or town having a population of 10,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of population taken by order of Congress, or lying within four miles of the corporate limits of any other city or town having a population of 25,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of population taken by order of Congress, or lying within five miles of the corporate limits of any other city or town having a population of 50,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of population taken by order of Congress. Notwithstanding the foregoing limitations, the General Assembly may incorporate a city or town by an act adopted by vote of three‑fifths of all the members of each house.”

SECTION 2. The amendment set out in Section 1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the statewide general election on November 4, 2014, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

“[ ] FOR           [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment requiring municipal annexations not requested by the property owners to be approved by a two‑thirds vote of the voters in the area to be annexed, and prohibiting municipalities from exercising jurisdiction outside their borders.”

SECTION 3. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The amendment becomes effective January 1, 2015. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office.

SECTION 4. This act is effective when it becomes law.