Faison Moves to Reverse Annexation

State Representative Bill Faison has filed H1061, a bill to de-annex the Highlands Subdivision from Carrboro.

I would be surprised if this went very far in the legislature. Faison, it should be noted, although his district extends into the northern reaches of Carrboro (including, of course, Highlands), did not attend our legislative breakfast meeting last month.

As far as I can tell no one connected with town government was aware of this before the bill was filed. For example, Randee Haven-O'Donnell and I have been working with the New Horizons Task Force on concerns related to the annexation. He might well have consulted with one of us on how things are going or have given us a heads up.

Also of interest is why Faison selected only one of the several neighborhoods that were annexed. If his bill is successful, Highlands will be bordered, west and north, by Carrboro neighborhoods.

We may well expect Highlands residents to decry this move. Recently, they have been up in arms at the racial justice issues surrounding the Rogers Road neighborhood. Will they rest content with a bill that serves an affluent, primarily white neighborhood, while ignoring the historically black community it borders?



How weird. Does he have a big donor in Highlands? If he cared about the principle wouldn't he de-annex all of them?

Actually, it appears that he has NINE anti-annexation bills introduced as sponsor or cosponsor. Some even have sponsors, even if they ARE all Republicans. Faison doing the Obama great-uniter thing? I'd remind him what Lincoln said...

Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man.

I don't see what the big problem is. It's just as democratic a way of going about it as the way Carrboro did -- they just wanted their lebensraum.

No one has actually asked the folks who live there what they want in a very systematic way.

Chris, do you just make this stuff up as you go along? I had to look up the German word, and I don't think the annexees would be pleased to be compared to Hilter. And of course, the town surveyed the entire annexed area last year: http://www.google.com/search?q=carrboro%2C+%22New+Horizons%22+survey

Nor, I guess, would the BOA want to be compared to Hitler.

Mention is also made of lebensraum, "living room or living space," when speaking about evolution and survival of the fittest. From wikipedia (not a definitive source but...):
"It was adapted from Darwinian and other scientific ideas of the day about how ecological niches are filled. Similar concepts are still used today in geography and biology."
There must be a better term that doesn't involve Hitler.

The survey was a good way to learn about the new residents after the annexation. I think many would have liked to have had a survey a year earlier.

Let me just add that this is probably the last time I will even respond to a post from our "nationalist" friend as the Nazi reference is a surefire sign of a troll and the rest is just ininformed.

well some of the mystery is explained. Apparently that neighborhood sent Faison a petition. He's responding to that particular request because they met the petition standard for signatures.

I think the comparison between Faison's handling of this and Carrboro's handling of the annexation is a valid one.

There were mistakes made in the annexation process. Some are as simple as the timing, the issue which largely caused Mayor Chilton to vote against it.

The New Horizons Task Force has done a great job reviewing the annexation and making recommendations to the board. For example, here are their recommendations on "improving communication":

-Form a neighborhood transition group prior to annexation
-Inform residents of upcoming hearings and votes starting with the intent to annex
-Post signs and notices in affected areas when preliminary annexation procedures start.

New Horizons made quite a few other good recommendations which can be found here.

Thanks for that information, Anita, as it shows that a process was operating. If a majority of the residents signed this petition, why wouldn't the Town or members of the Task Force not know of this effort? Was this some kind of super-secret petition effort?

The process of petitioning the General Assembly is in our Bill of Rights: "The people have a right ... to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances ..." Article I, Section 12.
It is not dependent on telling a town that it is going on. The question of the " petition standards" to be applied by a member is in the judgment of the member.

North Carolina has a rich history of petitions to the General Assembly, which for centuries were an essential part of the process of originating legislation:
"Mr. Mills presented a petition from sundry citizens of ther County of Rutherford, and Mr. Avery a petition from citizens of Burke and Rutherford Counties, praying the erection of a new county by the name of McDowell, out of parts of said counties; the reading of which, on motion of Mr. Mills, was dispensed with.
Mr. Avery introduced a bill to carry the prayer of the petitioners into effect, entitled a bill to lay off and establish a county by the name of McDowell; which was read the first time and passed, and on the motion of Mr. Avery, referred to a Select Committee ..."
(House Journal, November 26, 1842)

Mr. Black,

"If a majority of the residents signed this petition, why wouldn't the Town or members of the Task Force not know of this effort?"

As a member of the NHTF, I can tell you that the Highlands has a history of going its own way, without necessarily informing the nearby neighborhoods. When the Highlands sent around their petition requesting to be annexed by Chapel Hill, they skipped my neighborhood, Fox Meadow. I can't really blame them, as I doubt many of us would have signed it.

When the NHTF was formed, and several times since then, Highlands residents have declined our requests to participate.

This de-annexation bill was news to us.

The NHTF would love to have some participation from the Highlands, but I understand their preference to spend their efforts in other ways.

I live in the NTA and filled out the questionnaire. Number one on my list of desires was to be de-annexed. I think the majority of folks in the area would agree with me, if anyone cared to ask them how they feel about de-annexation.

I hope the bill passes and the neighborhood is de-annexed. It's my understanding that the neighborhood does not have the option of remaining outside an urban town limit (doughnut hole). I say let Chapel Hill have them. The process of annexation was mishandled from the start and I don't see any hope that the bad start to the relationship between the town and those citizens is going to be overcome through anything other than time. In the meantime, those angry people are going to change the nature of the community. The power of a community emanates from the cohesiveness of its citizens rather than its land mass.

To the elected officials of Carrboro: Preserve the small town cohesiveness of Carrboro and support Rep Faison's bill. (I know you can't because of the urban services agreement but still....)

Speaking of annexation, where would one go to look up any future annexations by any of the towns in the county? Because yes, I do realize the Carrboro annexation was charted out years before (doesn't change my thoughts on it, though). But is there an easy way to check on any other areas earmarked for annexation?

And Ruby, isn't that little survey after the annexation occured? And I'm not seeing much about asking folks what they thought about being annexed. It's just a list of concerns like green ways and taxes that are ranked by the residents. And I also said "systematic" -- which I guess you can count a self-selected survey as systematic in its distribution, but it's hardly worth much when trying to get a feel for how the population of the annexed areas feel.

Chris, the preliminary step to initiate involuntary annexations require a resolution of condieration or a resolution of intent. The Town Clerk should have a record of any of those. They both expire (I think a resolution of consideration is valid for 2 years and the other one for one year)

As fars as ADOPTED annexations (both voluntary and involuntary), see the following URL's

Carrboro (goes back to 1961):

Chapel Hill (goes back to 1950):

There are some wonderful old maps linked there

Master list is at
this Land records project is being built out, no entries for Hillsborough yet

It is a part of Carrboro's long-term plans to annex all the way to Eubanks Road and just a little on the far side of Eubanks. Also almost as far west as Union Grove Church Road (actually touching that road in some places). That area is called the Northern Transition Area or Carrboro Transition Area. It will take decades for all of that area to be annexed. In order to be involuntarily annexed, an area must meet the State's definition of "urbanized." At the present time there is no area that is elligible for an involuntary annexation into Carrboro, from what our staff tells us.

The remaining areas in Carrboro's Northern Transition Area are all too rural to be involuntarily annexed. All new subdivisions/developments are now annexed as a condition of approval. Consequently no new involuntary annexations into the Town of Carrboro are likely to occur anytime soon. In other words, further developments in the Northern Transition Area are annexed as a part of the development approval process, with the result that there are no "urbanized" areas outside of town limits.

The situation is similar for Chapel Hill, but I don't know whether there are any areas that Chapel Hill could presently involuntarily annex. The northern limit of Chapel Hill's annexable territory is approximately described as follows: The boundary is Interstate 40 from the Durham County line as far west as the Landfill on Eubanks Road. The new Chapel Hill Town Operations Center is, I believe, about the northernmost point that will ever be in the Town of Chapel Hill (unless there is some major unforeseen change in the Joint Planning Agreement, which is unthinkable in the current political environment).

The Carrboro, Chapel Hill or Orange County planning departments all have maps of these areas to show exactly where the lines are. For Carrboro, you can get a good sense of it by looking at our town GIS system at the following link:


The areas shown on that GIS system (the link above) in peach (maybe salmon? i am colorblind) color and labeled RR are to be annexed as they are developed in the future (the Northern Transition Area). The same is not necessarily true for all areas south of the current Town limits because a lot of that is in the University Lake Watershed and will never be "urbanized." That area is shown in a light pink color (maybe; colorblind) and is labeled WR. Those areas are likely to remain in our planning jurisdiction, but, so far as I understand it, are not allowed to be developed to densities that would permit involuntary annexations. I suppose that, hypothetically, they might be voluntarily annexed, but I am not sure whether that would even be allowed under the Joint Planning Agreement.

If you would like to know more than that, I would suggest looking at the Orange County Joint Planning Agreement, which can be obtained fromt he Orange County Planning Department (919) 732-8181.

Oh and here is a really good map of the entire matter:


I must confess that I could be wrong about some aspects of this. Others should feel free to correct me. Thanks.

The following is a link to a very well done news story on the de-annexation of the Highlands in the Daily Tar Heel:


This DTH article mentions the issue of road maintenance. This was discussed in detail at the August meeting of the New Horizons Task Force. The minutes can be found here. Summarizing what was learned in regard to road maintenance: town and DOT maintenance standards are comparable, the town will take over road maintenance after the next scheduled resurfacing, and this is standard practice.

This is a pointer to today's editorial in the DTH supporting the de-annexation of the Highlands:


While the petition might account for one, I don't think it accounts for the other 8 bills. Right?

So, obviously he has an issue with annexation.

"So, obviously he has an issue with annexation."

Who doesn't have an issue with forced annexation? Unfortunately, even if this de-annexation were to pass, the town would have to turn around an re-annex in a couple of years. Dough nut holes are not allowed.

There are actually no prohibitions on donut holes, but they make provision of services difficult.

If neighborhoods surrounding Highlands also de-annex, and if further forced annexations are not allowed, Highlands might not be a "donut hole". Carrboro town limits would be to the south and west, Chapel Hill to the east, and nothing but Orange County to the north.

Question for Gerry:

Thank you for clarifying that there is no state requirement for municipalities to close doughnut holes. I was under the impression that the legislature had stepped in to stop the land use practice of intentional ly disenfranshising minority communities. (WARNING: link is PDF document). Is there any mechanism that would stop this?

(I'm not suggesting that Carrboro, Fayetteville, Raleigh, etc. had such altruistic intents with their involuntary annexations.)

Terry. the General Assembly has done nothing in response to the study you linked above, or to a later project by the Center for Civil Rights at UNC Law School dealing with the problem of "underbounding" in Moore County, an annexation pattern there very simlar to what the authors in the linked document talked about in Mebane.

When the Law school did the underbounding study in 2004, they had a wonderful conference on the subject, but apparently involved in it NONE of the decisionmakers at the General Assembly who could do anything about it. I complained after the fact.
I'll post a link to their work.


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