Tryon sued over annexation again

Published 1:07 pm Monday, June 30, 2008

The Town of Tryon is being sued again over plans to expand the town limits.A lawsuit filed last Friday at the Polk County Clerks of Courts Office claims that the town&squo;s latest annexation plan, approved in April, does not meet state requirements.The lawsuit was filed by the local group Citizens Against Forced Annexation (CAFA), which also sued the town over its previous annexation plan last year that the town eventually dropped. The town rescinded that annexation that would have taken in much of the Lynn community, and switched to a new annexation plan focused on the Gillette Woods area.The town approved the latest annexation plan on April 29 of this year with the effective date being one year later. The lawsuit makes several claims about the town&squo;s annexation report, including that lots split by the town&39;s current boundary are not properly recorded in the annexation report. &uot;Neither the Annexation Services Report nor the Ordinance adequately describes the method employed by the town in calculating the use of each split lot or tract as well as its acreage within the annexation area,&uot; says the lawsuit.The petitioners claim the town did not use actual surveys to calculate the acreage of the split lots in the annexation area, which could affect whether the annexation area meets state land use requirements.&bsp;Petitioners also claim the town did not factor into its report that the owners of lots split by the town boundary already pay taxes to the town for the entirety of their tract regardless of the acreage that falls outside current municipal limits. &uot;Consequently,&uot; the lawsuit states, &uot;the annexation services report misrepresents or grossly overestimates the revenue that will be generated by the annexation.&uot; Other errors the lawsuit claims the town made in its report includes that the total acreage in the annexation area does not meet the subdivision test and that less than 60 percent of the toal lots in the annexation area are used for urban purposes as required with the use test. &uot;Upon information and belief, less than sixty percent (60 %) of the total acreage in the proposed Tryon annexation area used for residential purposes or undeveloped/vacant is subdivided into lots and tracts three acres or less in size as required for compliance with the subdivision test;&uot; states the lawsuit. &uot;Upon information and belief, less than sixty percent (60 %) of the total lots and tracts in the proposed Tryon annexation area is used for urban purposes as required for compliance with the Use Test.&uot; The lawsuit also claims that the town erred in its land estimates in excess of five percent or more contrary to N.C. General Statute 160A-42. The lawsuit says the town&squo;s annexation report did not include a legible map depicting with any reasonable degree of accuracy issues such as boundaries and the proposed extension of water and sewer mains, nor an adequate description of the town&squo;s plans for extending water and sewer lines to the area or the town&squo;s method for financing the costs of the extension of services, among other failures of explanation in the report. Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples said yesterday that he feels like the town made sure this time all its &uot;i&uot;s were dotted and &uot;t&uot;s were crossed. &uot;I think (this annexation report) was gone through with a much finer tooth comb then the last time,&uot; Peoples said, &uot;and I expect it to come to fruition for us.&uot; Tryon abandoned its last annexation plan following the first lawsuit and placed blame on its contractors who did the annexation report, the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC). The current annexation was done by Benchmark, CMR Services, who the town also uses for planning and zoning services. &bsp;

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