Annexation moratorium could affect Calabash efforts

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

CALABASH—If a statewide involuntary annexation moratorium is approved, it could stop pending annexation in Calabash.

“Our attempts for involuntary annexation would come to a halt,” Calabash town administrator Vincent Long said of the moratorium approved by the state house and pending in the state senate.

“It’s a looming issue, but we’re still moving forward,” Long said this week.

Long was referring to an effort launched by town commissioners June 10 to pursue involuntary annexation of 174.4 acres along Beach Drive.

Long said Monday a map of the mostly residential annexation area has already been recorded. The area includes Oak Ridge and portions of Shady Forest, Bonaparte’s Retreat and Somersett subdivisions.

The proposed effective date for the annexation is July 1, 2009. Long said the effort could be affected by the proposed statewide moratorium.

“It’s really already in effect, so to speak, because of the fact the legislature has taken it up,” he said.

Long said the moratorium was proposed to address specific problems but has mushroomed into being proposed statewide.

“Now it’s like a blanket moratorium,” he said.

Slowing or stopping any involuntary annexations would result in additional costs to municipalities and delays and pose difficulties in providing needed services, Long said.

“It would be very inconvenient, expensive and redundant,” he added, to resume annexation efforts once a moratorium is lifted.

“Obviously, providing police, water, fire and sewer will just be delayed that much longer,” he said, noting it could have impact locally.

If the state senate doesn’t take up the issue, “it’s kind of a moot point,” Long said.

If it is approved, “it could be less or moreso restrictive,” he said.

At this point, the best that can be done is for the town to contact N.C. Sen. R.C. Soles to “let him know how we feel about,” Long said.

“And to tell him we’re in opposition to an overly restrictive annexation moratorium. It needs careful deliberation. It’s a very important issue.”

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at llewis@brunswickbeacon.com