The Annexation of Shaw Heights: Part Deux

By: Andrew Porter

First, I want to thank everyone for their comments and feedback. It’s your feedback that makes part two possible. Second, I want to recognize the immutable fact that I am human and may not get everything 100% correct. With these two things in mind, it appears that Shaw Heights does not qualify for the impoverished, or distressed, area exceptions for annexation by petition. I want to thank Senator Kirk deViere for providing the statistics below:

Census Tracks 24.01 and 24.02 make up Shaw Heights.

Census Tract 24.01
In this area, there are 1,742 people for whom poverty is determined.
Of those, 670 are below the Federal poverty line (38.5%).
265 are children (<18) in poverty.

Census Tract 24.02
In this area, there are 3,598 people for whom poverty is determined.
Of those, 1,105 are below the Federal poverty line (30.7%).
356 are children (<18) in poverty.”

2012-2017 ACS (American Community Survey) – 5-year data released on December 6, 2018 by the Census Bureau

Based on the numbers provided by Senator deViere, Shaw Heights has an average poverty rate of 34.6%; a significant rate, but below the 51% threshold to meet the two exceptions. Moreover, the numbers provided do not distinguish the level of poverty, so we do not have a clear picture of how far Shaw Heights is from the threshold. In short, it appears that voluntary annexation is not the best option for Shaw Heights, however, does this mean Rep. Floyd’s bill is the best option? Again, it’s not.

Annexation by a Municipality

As I said in the previous post, involuntary annexation by the NCGA is the fastest and simplest way to annex, however, it bypasses the will of the people. Nevertheless, annexation by a municipality is quite the opposite. The power to annex by a municipality is granted by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-58.52:

“The governing board of any municipality may extend the corporate limits of such municipality under the procedure set forth in this Part.”

The aforementioned procedure can found in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-58.55. The procedure in order is:

  1. Resolution of Consideration – A resolution passed by the Council identifying the area to be annexed; good for 2 years.
  2. Notice of Resolution of Consideration – Resolution of Consideration is published in the newspaper and mailed to all real property owners in Shaw Heights.
  3. Resolution of Intent – At least ONE YEAR after the Resolution of Consideration, the Council can adopt a Resolution of Intent to annex, which authorizes…
  4. Public Informational Meeting, Public Hearing, Notice(s), and Other Governmental Processes – All the Government minutiae that makes annexation possible.
  5. Referendum – The residents of Shaw Heights vote FOR or AGAINST annexation at the next municipal election that is at least 45 days after the Resolution of Intent.

In addition to procedure, the area to be annexed must meet the requirements set forth under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-58.53 and § 160A-58.54. There are several requirements that must be met, but for the sake of efficiency let’s say Shaw Heights meets them. I honestly believe it meets all the requirements, but this is a blog, not a law review article.

Have you done the math yet? Under this process, the earliest the residents of Shaw Heights can vote on annexation is at the 2021 municipal election. Nonetheless, this is the most democratic method of annexation. Annexation by a municipality respects the will of the people, although time consuming, and is the only way I can see Shaw Heights being annexed in the near future.

*Side note: The Council passed a resolution on April 10, 2017 calling for the annexation of Shaw Heights. If the resolution passed meets the description of the Resolution of Consideration, and the Council met the Notice requirements of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-58.55, then it might be possible for the Council to pass a Resolution of Intent; placing the Referendum on November’s ballot.  

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