How To Win Annexation Battles

Winning annexation battles to preserve homes, community and environment is what CEDS helps people do anywhere in the U.S.  To learn how CEDS can help you win you defeat a poorly planned propose to annex your property or adjacent land into a town, city or county contact CEDS at 410-654-3021 or today for an initial no-cost discussion of strategy options.

Click this text to see examples of CEDS annexation successes.

After learning the specifics of the proposal we can usually offer initial strategy suggestions for winning an annexation battle. Advice by phone is available free to those seeking to prevent annexation from harming a community or the environment. Please don’t hesitate. Delay almost always decreases the likelihood of success.

The CEDS Approach

Following is an introduction to the CEDS approach for winning annexation battles. We urge you to take a few moments and click: PowerPoint presentation. In this presentation we use annexations in our home state (Maryland) to illustrate how to win these battles.

With regard to the CEDS approach, there are two options for applying it to your effort.

Most Victories Are Political; Not Legal

Most folks who succeed in winning annexation battles through political action not lawyers. We urge you to try talking with your local elected officials before hiring an annexation attorney. You will find advice on working with these officials in Chapter 39 of our free 300-page book, How To Win Land Development Issues.

If elected officials fail to quickly and fully resolve your annexation concerns then we urge you to mount an aggressive political campaign. Far too many citizens have lived to regret delaying action in hopes that a bad annexation would go away. When in doubt, please contact us immediately. We can give you an initial, no-cost opinion about whether its time to act. For further detail on the first steps in launching an aggressive campaign see Chapter 35 in our book. If you find you lack the time for this research then consider having CEDS conduct it for you through an Initial Strategy Analysis.

A more detailed description of how to win annexation battles is provided in our PowerPoint presentation and our fact sheet: Annexation & Citizens: Assessing Quality of Life Impacts & Successful Strategies

Following is a bit more background on annexation.

The Annexation Process

Annexation is a process used to expand the boundaries of a town, city or county. Most annexations are motivated by an opportunity to develop land at higher densities or a desire to take land generating higher tax income into municipal boundaries.

Most towns and cities have a system of pipes for delivering purified water to each home or business and then carrying away wastewater to a treatment plant. Homes and businesses outside the municipal boundary must rely on wells and septic systems. Frequently health regulations prohibit putting more than one or two housing units on an acre of land served only by well and septic. But if connected to public water and sewer, 16 housing units or more might be developed on each acre.

The land to be annexed must be physically connected to the town or city boundaries though the connection may be nothing more than a road owned by the municipality. Depending upon which state you’re in, anywhere from 51% of all the property owners or voters living within the proposed annexation area must agree to be annexed. To see how annexation works in your state go to: State-By-State Annexation Summary.

More detail regarding the annexation process is provided in our PowerPoint presentation and our fact sheet: Annexation & Citizens: Assessing Quality of Life Impacts & Successful Strategies.

Annexation Should Enhance Quality of Life

If annexation follows responsible growth management principles, then it should preserve and enhance quality of life for you and your neighbors. However, poorly planned annexations can cause sprawl, traffic congestion, school overcrowding, environmental damage, higher taxes, and other impacts with few positive effects.

The CEDS Project Evaluation Checklist allows you to do a preliminary assessment of the quality of life effects of a proposed annexation, which is key to winning annexation battles. Detail on these principles will be found in Chapters 2 to 26 of our free 300-page book How To Win Land Development Issues and in the other web pages listed on the CEDS Issues We Can Help You Win page.

Further detail and examples of winning annexation battles can be seen in our PowerPoint presentation and our fact sheet: Annexation & Citizens: Assessing Quality of Life Impacts & Successful Strategies.

Protest Petitions – A Vital Option

A number of states and localities allow the filing of a protest petition by those concerned about annexation, rezoning, conditional use or special exception permits. This action can be critical to winning annexation battles.  The protest petition requires a super majority vote to approve the applicant’s request. In other words, to approve the application two-thirds or three-fourths of the members of the town board or county council must vote in favor. Otherwise an application can be approved with a simple majority.

Though the requirements vary, usually a minimum percentage of those owning property within a set distance of the site must sign a petition with a specific format then file it a set number of days prior to a hearing or other event. So, your first step should be to determine if the protest petition option is available then make certain you meet all the requirements.

Protest petitions are but one of many steps essential to winning annexation battles. However, because it is frequently key to success we opted to bring it to your attention here. Keep in mind though that a protest petition is but one of a number of steps to victory. The other steps are described in our free 300-page book, How To Win Land Development Issues, and in the other web pages listed in the right column at the top of this page. If you lack the time to read through all these materials then consider retaining CEDS to carry out an Initial Strategy Analysis, which frequently leads to success at a far lower cost than simply hiring an attorney.