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Lawmakers OK major rewrite of NC annexation rules

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Grassroots anger of landowners whose property was scooped into nearby cities and towns is leading to a major change in North Carolina's laws allowing municipal annexation whether people like it or not.

The North Carolina House voted 102-7 to give final legislative approval to the broadest rewrite of the state's involuntary annexation laws in more than half a century.

The biggest change would let property owners block an annexation if 60 percent of them sign a petition of opposition. The town or city would be barred from trying again for three years. Landowners whose property is being annexed now have few options other than going to court.

The annexation laws were established and defended for decades by municipal officials who said they ensured cities grew at a manageable rate.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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