On March 16, I had a letter published in favor of North Carolina’s annexation code and encouraging Asheville’s continuation in the battle to incorporate Biltmore Lake [“You May Need Annexation as Much as It Needs You,” Xpress]. My family has lived in North Carolina for several generations. In that time, it has evolved from the Rip Van Winkle state, (slept for 100 years post-Civil War), to the vibrant, diverse culture that we are.
Two great factors aiding this change were the development of our incredible university system and an annexation policy that allowed a rural state to help cities cope with inevitable growth. The law is both fair and simple: Once adjacent areas reach a density that is more urban in nature than rural, the existing municipality can absorb them. This keeps the central city from growth-stagnation and fiscal strangulation.
Recently there was an article in the Xpress comparing the size of Asheville city government with the North Carolina cities closest in population just larger (Greenville) and just smaller (Jacksonville) (see “Head to Head,” April 6). Really, these are the cities closest to us in size? What a joke. One needs only compare our infrastructure, cultural attractions, events, architecture, restaurants etc., to those towns and it is obvious that Asheville has been too slow to incorporate outlaying urbanized areas.
I am sure that many of the residents of Biltmore Lake came here from other places. If a view was the only goal they could have gone anywhere in overwhelmingly rural WNC to find low taxes, but convenience comes with proximity to Asheville, and proximity comes at a legal cost in this state — annexation.
— Steve Woolum