A while back, Momo took us on a tour of Jackson Hamlet, a small Black community surrounded by Pinehurst and Aberdeen but not in either's municipal limits. They, along with a similar community on the other side of Aberdeen, Midway, have been trying to obtain municipal services, especially water and/or sewer.
Without going too deeply into why these communities are surrounded by, but not in, municipal borders, it comes down to historic settlement patterns, NC annexation law, and the high costs of utilities extensions among other things.
Much progress has occurred lately and it appears Midway will be getting services soon thanks to a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) obtained by Aberdeen. Midway will soon be part of Aberdeen, through voluntary or involuntary annexation.
Jackson Hamlet has water thanks to an earlier CDBG, but they still lack sewer. Several parcels have failing septic systems and are becoming a public health concern. Not everyone in Jackson Hamlet is so sure they want to become part of Pinehurst, which would be part of the equation of getting sewer service. Pinehurst can provide its full slate of services to Jackson Hamlet, but only if it is annexed. Considering that it will likely be difficult to get 100% buy-in from the community to request voluntary annexation, Pinehurst will probably have to take the forced annexation route in order to serve the entire area and put an end to the existence of islands of unincorporated properties in Jackson Hamlet.
This brings us to a neighborhood far different than Jackson Hamlet. Pinewild is its name and it is a gated country club not far at all from Jackson Hamlet. Pinehurst has for many years legally filed its intent to annex Pinewild. Now that Pinewild is approaching the minimum population density for annexation, Pinehurst has begun the procedures to do so. Guess what? Many of the residents of Pinewild "don’t want" to be in Pinehurst. They prefer to live on the edge of town and enjoy its amenities without having to share in the tax burden. They actually take credit for ousting Morgan, who was not interested in taking on NC annexation law. Boylan was more than happy to promise to throw in a local bill “protecting” Pinewild from Pinehurst.
Well, Boylan has delivered on his promise by sponsoring H60, “Moore Annexation Referendum.” So what does this mean? Basically, if 10% of affected voters in Moore County object to an annexation, it has to go to a referendum. The selfish residents of Pinewild, through Joe Boylan are taking on NC’s annexation law possibly to the detriment of underserved communities who would substantially benefit from municipal services. Pinehurst sure took it on the chin two years ago for the disparity of conditions between the resort and Jackson Hamlet right down the road. If Boylan and Pinewild get their way, Pinehurst may not be able to help Jackson Hamlet even if it is their top priority to do so.
Lets not let Art Pope and the selfishness of a few people living in a gated community trying to avoid their fair share of taxes make it even remotely less likely that the people of Jackson Hamlet, Midway, and other similar areas can get the life-sustaining public services they so desperately need. Don’t let this little local bill sneak through.