Residents of unincorporated areas across North Carolina now have the ability to block forced annexations by a majority vote, thanks to a bill sponsored by Buncombe County Rep. Tim Moffitt that became law on June 11, after Gov. Bev Perdue took no action to veto it.
Previously, a petition process requiring signatures of 60 percent of affected-area landowners could halt the forced annexation attempts of a municipality. The new law allows affected residents to hold a referendum. A simple majority vote against the annexation would block it; a simple majority in favor would allow it.
Annexation has long been a hot-button local issue. And during his 2010 election campaign, Moffitt, a Republican, took a strong stance against efforts by the city of Asheville to forcibly annex the Biltmore Lake area. He faces Democratic challenger Jane Whilden, who he beat in 2010, in the fall.
At this writing, Moffitt hadn’t returned a call from Xpress seeking comment.