Walnut Tree annexation request could face problems

By Nicholas Elmes - nelmes@civitasmedia.com

Walnut Cove’s attorney Anne Rowe told the town’s Board of Commissioners last week that she was still evaluating the Walnut Tree community’s petition to be annexed into the town, but noted that she already had a number of concerns about the request.

She said the first concern centered around who signed the petition and when they may have singed it.

“The signatures have a January date on them which was the first petition,” she said. “They also have a reference to the petition being presented under Subsection B, but the cover page for the most recent petition references Subsection J. It appears the signatures may have gone with the first petition.”

She said it also looked like owners of multiple properties had signed the petition multiple times, something that would have been appropriate under an earlier petition to have the community annexed through a section of state code which required signatures from 100 percent of property owners.

“But Subsection J requires signatures from at least one adult living at each residence, and only requires signatures from two thirds of the residences,” said Rowe.

She said she was also concerned with how the petition presented proof that the Walnut Tree community was economically distressed.

“What was presented was an affidavit from a gentleman from UNC,” she explained. “He looked at census data and made assumptions based on that. I am concerned over whether or not it is appropriate to make those assumptions under the statute. As I read the statute you have to have actual data, but I am still researching it.”

Rowe said she was still researching all of her concerns, and did not want to burden the Walnut Tree community with them until she had come to a final decision on them.

Town Manager Bobby Miller said town staff was still working to certify the data presented in the petition, with hopes of of having more information for the Board at its July meeting.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

By Nicholas Elmes


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