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Bill introduced to de-annex subdivision in Maggie Valley

For the second year in a row, Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, has introduced a bill to de-annex property from Maggie Valley without consulting town officials.

The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen passed a resolution at its Monday meeting opposing the bill that would de-annex an entire subdivision from the town. Mayor Ron DeSimone said the bill was introduced based on false information. He plans on providing accurate information to members of the General Assembly next week when he attends Town Hall Day in Raleigh.  

“We’re going to try to set the record straight, but it’s nearly impossible with Michele (Presnell),” he said. 

Evergreen Heights, which is located off Jonathan Creek Road, was annexed in 2009. Joe Maniscalco, whose home is at the top of the subdivision, has been fighting the town ever since to have his property de-annexed. 

He argues that the town can’t provide the same level of services to his home because of the narrow road and because there is nowhere for service trucks, emergency vehicles and snow plows to turn around. 

DeSimone said the town has no problem servicing Evergreen Heights, adding that service trucks and emergency vehicles have to back up many narrow roads in mountain communities. 

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“To say that is inherently unsafe — that’s just unrealistic in Haywood County,” he said. “We’ve not had any complaints [from other neighborhood residents] about service other than Mr. Maniscalco, and now suddenly they want to be de-annexed.”

Presnell introduced a similar bill during the 2014 short session but ended up pulling it at the last minute because she claimed there were more pressing priorities before the General Assembly. That bill proposed to only de-annex Maniscalco’s property. The current bill calls for de-annexation of the entire subdivision, which includes 11 homes and 15 pieces of property. 

DeSimone went down to Raleigh last year and spoke to the co-sponsors of the bill, bringing them information showing that Evergreen Heights was being serviced. 

He also showed committee members Maniscalco’s record with the town, including charges filed against him in 2013 for presenting false documents to the county claiming he had been de-annexed. He ended up taking a plea deal for one consolidated misdemeanor of the four common law uttering charges, but the felony charges were dropped since the 75-year-old didn’t have a prior record.

DeSimone said passing such a bill would be bad policy and set a bad precedent.  

“I don’t think it will go anywhere but we’ll see,” he said. “It would be opening Pandora’s Box.”

— By Jessi Stone

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