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Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:46

Property owners keep asking to be booted out of Maggie’s town limits

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The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen’s split decision to de-annex someone who didn’t want to be in the town limits anymore — or pay town taxes any more — seems to have brought a trickle of other unsatisfied residents making similar appeals.

There have now been four additional requests for so-called de-annexation in the two months since the initial one was granted.

“I think that (one instance of de-annexation) has opened the discussion,” said resident Lynda Bennett, who spoke at the Maggie town board meeting earlier this month.

Bennett spoke on behalf of homeowners in the Katua Falls subdivision, which also hopes it will get the green light to be de-annexed from Maggie Valley. According to Bennett, the town had said it would care for the roads running through the subdivision — something that it has not been done, she said. However, towns do not typically maintain roads within subdivisions.

“That is why Katua is asking to be de-annexed,” Bennett said. “I don’t want Katua to be treated any differently.”

The town tabled the de-annexation request until talks with the planning board move further along. The town planning board is in the early stages of discussing new standards for road maintenance, including which road Maggie is responsible for, said Mayor Ron DeSimone.

Later that same meeting, Sonja Michaels, of Nelson Drive, made a half-hearted attempt to de-annex two lots that adjoin her house. Michaels bought the lots, some 2.5 acres, last year to prevent someone from building on them and preserve the view from her home.

But, she said the vacant lots don’t receive town services, and she shouldn’t have to pay taxes on them.

“I don’t have water; I don’t have sewer; I don’t have police protection because there is nothing to protect,” Michaels said. “Don’t you think it’s silly for me to pay?”

By that standard, however, any vacant lot in town that didn’t have a house standing on it could use Michaels’ argument.

The lots had been voluntarily annexed into the town in 2007 — a fact that was clear when Michaels purchased the land. Therefore, the town board denied her request.

The board narrowly approved a request for de-annexation by Joe Manascalco, a resident of Evergreen Heights, last month.

Manascalco argued that his 3.5 acres didn’t meet the legal criteria for annexation when it was absorbed into the town limits in 2009.

After to board’s 3-to-2 vote, DeSimone said that the decision would open a can of worms for town leaders. And, his prediction seems somewhat true. Each meeting since featured at least one resident hoping to be de-annexed.

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