LELAND — People living in Lanvale Forest could find themselves as residents of the Town of Leland if the town’s plans for involuntary annexation move forward.
The Leland Town Council will vote Thursday on whether to proceed with a town-initiated annexation of property within the Lanvale Forest subdivision.
Town Council will also decide the fate of the undeveloped portion of Lanvale Forest, also known as Phase Three; the developer has requested approximately 37-acres be voluntarily annexed into the town’s limits.
While the voluntary annexation of the undeveloped phase-three can be voted upon and approved by the Town Council, it is significantly more difficult for a town to annex property after laws passed in 2012 required a referendum in order to annex involuntarily.
The annexation of the 37-acres has been discussed, and continued twice since September. After an initial public hearing on Sept. 28, and when Council agreed to continue the public hearing until November.
The road conditions of Lanvale Forest have been a concern for residents, and according to Brunswick County’s Assistant Attorney Bryan Batten, “Building permits for the lots in the new section will not be issued until the final lift and paving of the streets in Lanvale Forest has been Installed or bonded and installed within 18 months.”
Currently, road conditions within the subdivision include large potholes as well as exposed manhole covers that are not level with pavement, but extend several inches off the ground. But, if the town annexes the area, the county’s concerns may not be addressed, since the town could issue its own building permits.
Economic Development Director Gary Vidmar said, “If Council approves the developer’s request to annex the Section 3 portion of Lanvale Forest into the Town of Leland, the Town plans to issue building permits for new homes that are planned for Section 3 in accordance with the Town’s normal policies and procedures. The public roads in Sections 1 and 2 are county roads and are not in the Town’s corporate limits and consequently the Town has no jurisdiction over them. Thus the Town does not have the authority to require the owner of these public streets to complete them as a condition of issuing building permits in Section 3.”
Vidmar also said that town staff is scheduled to present a development agreement to council to address street repairs.
“Concerning the town-initiated annexation of sections one and two and some adjacent properties, the Resolution of Consideration that will be presented to Council on Thursday is the first of many steps that are required by state statute. A town-initiated annexation is roughly a two-year process which will culminate in a referendum vote by the property owners in the proposed annexation area,” Vidmar said.
In order for the town to annex property several things must happen, including the first step of adopting a resolution of consideration — this is what will be decided upon Thursday. The resolution must be mailed to all property owners within the affected area.
After the initial resolution is passed, the town must wait at least one year before moving forward and approve a resolution of intent. After a resolution of intent is passed, the town must then hold a public informational meeting.
Following several more informational sessions and state required processes, “The next step in the process is a referendum to consider the question of annexation. Only registered voters of the proposed annexation area shall be allowed to vote on the referendum. A majority of the votes cast on the referendum must be in favor of annexation in order for the town to proceed with annexation,” according to town documents.
The Town Council meeting Thursday is open to the public and will be held at Town Hall at 6 p.m.
Michael Praats can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org