Weaverville – In the Weaverville Town Council meeting of Nov. 23rd the board discussed annexation. The subject has not been an issue since the NC State Legislature took away towns’ and cities’ ability to involuntarily annex property outside their limits in 2012.
Now, the only way for municipalities to annex property outside their limits is for landowners to ask for annexation voluntarily. This is usually done when the property owner wants something from the town, like water or zoning restrictions. So why has this subject recently come before the council?
Weaverville Town Mayor Al Root explained the agreement came back to light after a request for a voluntary annexation of Sourwood Inn. He also mentioned a surprise annexation by Woodfin of the Woodland Hill Ingles resulted in the agreement between the towns in 2006. “It could be that there is no reason to worry about having an agreement at this point, and we can simply say ‘No .. Why don’t we just kind of let things ride? .. Understanding that we could be unpleasantly surprised by somebody going to Woodfin,” Root expressed to the board.
Root dragged the old 2006 agreement between the two towns out of the closet and talked about renewing the agreement, which carved up the areas in and around Woodland Hills, New Stock and Aiken Road between the towns. The old agreement ended in 2012.
Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey said the Town of Woodfin officials have seen the five-year agreement and are “comfortable with it.” Town Attorney Jeniffer Jones added that if they moved forward with the agreement, the town would need to set a public hearing. Councilman Andrew Nagle questioned the need for such a compact and expressed “…they sure do have a lot more area. Square footage is not even close.”
Jones explained whichever town was closer to the property to which a landowner would ask for a voluntary annexation had first opportunity to annex. That is unless there’s an annexation agreement. Nagle said he was even more confused after her explanation. The area is contiguous to Weaverville replied Nagle. “If you have this agreement, that’s the exception to the rule,” said Jones. “I’m still confused.” Nagle stated that it is a Woodfin annexation agreement and “there’s no upside to Weaverville. Both areas are contiguous [to Weaverville].”
Councilman Jeff McKenna asked of Jones if by “closer” did she mean to the town center or to the boundary of the town for annexation, which she confirmed it was closer to the town boundary. Nagle then asked if someone was in a section that, under the agreement, was Weaverville, but the owners wanted to voluntarily be annexed by Woodfin could Woodfin annex them. Jones said under the agreement, no.
McKenna and Nagle discussed making the areas more equal. Jones said there had been no negotiations about the map but was just pulled up from the past agreement. “I think this is a good opportunity to do some long-range ‘what ifs’ and…some planning and where we’d like to be…There are some big tracts of land saying come buy me and develop me,” said Nagle.
After some more discussion, the council decided to look at the agreement and the old area closer before moving forward, so the item was tabled.