Town of Leland Statement Regarding Winnabow Incorporation Petition
The Town of Leland has been made aware of some potential misinformation regarding the Town that is being communicated in association with the efforts of some individuals to incorporate the Winnabow area. Specifically, the misinformation is that Leland will or may try to forcibly annex the unincorporated area of Brunswick County historically known as Winnabow into the Town of Leland.
This is absolutely not true. These fears of annexation into Leland are unfounded because no North Carolina town can forcibly annex any area without the will of the people. This misinformation is being used to fuel fears of residents in the area to inappropriately influence them to sign a petition for the incorporation of Winnabow.
Involuntary annexation by an existing town is not possible under current state law as it has occurred in the past. Any town-initiated annexation of an area must meet very strict geographic requirements, adhere to multiple notifications and extended timelines, and can only occur after a referendum vote in which a majority of the people in the area to be annexed vote in favor of the annexation. The area in and around Winnabow does not meet the geographic requirements necessary to even consider or begin a Town of Leland initiated annexation.
Voluntary annexation can only occur under certain circumstances also. A property owner can request annexation into the Town, but the property in question must be within a specific distance of the Town's primary contiguous boundary to even be eligible and considered for annexation. The Town also must evaluate if it can provide the necessary services to the area as it does to the other areas in the Town. Again, this type of annexation is voluntary and only at the written request of the property owner.
As our region continues to grow, the Town of Leland is encouraged that property owners and developers see value in being part of the Town and in the many services and benefits provided to its residents. The Town continues to look to provide services that are as efficient as possible. Leland is focused on both our existing communities and our future. We are making investments in both and intend to continue to do so for years to come. We have made significant investments in the northern areas of Town with redevelopment projects, parks, sidewalks, pathways, and more. Several areas to the south and west have chosen to join the Town over the past decade requiring expansions in our infrastructure. These investments are only made after much consideration and in appropriate portions to meet the needs of the area without undue burden on existing residents. The Town will prudently consider future investments in infrastructure and support services necessary to continue to provide a high quality of life for our existing and future residents. The continued growth of the Town reinforces our commitment to be a great destination to live, raise a family, and open or expand a business.
The Town is grateful for strong relationships with all our regional partners. We look forward to continuing to build on those relationships and are open to discussions with newly interested parties, as we serve our growing communities.