Tryon considers deal to delay annexation until 2013

Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The agreement also says CAFA will not file suit if the town proceeds with the annexation in 2013.

Both sides have until the end of the month to decide whether they will sign the agreement. If the majority of CAFA members and the majority of council members agree to the terms, the lawsuit is over. If not, hearings for the lawsuit will resume, maybe as early as mid-August, according to Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree. Attorneys for both sides met Monday in the Polk courthouse with Judge Richard L. Doughton, a few town officials and several CAFA members, dressed in red shirts.

Hembree says that since Tryon Town Council is not holding a regular meeting this month, council will likely call a special meeting for next week, when it will meet with the town attorney and discuss the proposal in closed session. The town will make its decision in open session, and if council agrees to the terms, the exact terms will be made public.

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CAFA sued Tryon about a year ago after the town involuntarily annexed about 406 residents in the Gillette Woods, Country Club Road, Harmon Field Road and Hwy. 108 areas of Tryon township last April. That annexation followed a previous involuntary annexation including much of Lynn that the town rescinded after being sued by CAFA the previous year.

The current CAFA lawsuit was brought by about 172 petitioners who agreed to sue the town.

If an agreement is made in this case, several things could occur between now and 2013. Several seats on the town council will be decided in municipal elections in November, and the new council members could rescind the annexation decision. More new council members who could vote to rescind the annexation could also be elected in November 2011.

The town could move forward with the annexation in 2013, but be sued by another group of people not associated with CAFA or be named on the current lawsuit petition.

If both sides agree by the end of July, orders will be handed down by Judge Doughton.

If the terms cannot be agreed to, a new hearing will be scheduled for a trial to begin. The trial could be held in Polk County or in another county within the 29th district.