Proof Positive Pittenger Pushed Controversial 2003 Waxhaw Annexation

Proof Positive Pittenger Pushed Annexation – Key items highlighted


I don’t like most satellite annexations. One of my favorite sayings for years has been that the best way to make serious money in NC is to buy cheap land and cheap politicians, because the politicians will make the land a lot more valuable.

Politicians can make land more valuable by providing a road, water & sewer, or higher density zoning, to name a few of the more popular options. While any of those options may be justified, unless the public closely monitors policy in those areas, strange things will inevitably happen.

In 2003, because I didn’t like some of the strange things I’d seen happening in Union County, I introduced a bill attempting to limit satellite annexation while increasing the chance a satellite could grow by voluntary annexation to join the town of which it was in theory a part.

My bill had absolutely nothing to do with the 2003 Waxhaw satellite annexation. Repeated attempts to suggest I filed a bill to make the Waxhaw annexation possible were simply attempts to divert attention from those really responsible. The people I thought owned the property at issue, Pace-Dowd, didn’t even know about my bill until I met with Steve Pace at Pittenger’s request. Here is a note from Steve Pace written after I met with him, told him about my bill, and asked him to see if there was any possibility he could work things out with Wesley Chapel rather than go the satellite route:

—–Original Message—–
From: Stephen Pace []
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 6:43 PM
Subject: Cuthbertson Road Annexation

I called Jim Mullins and talked with Carol. She said that she would have
him call me but he has not. I just finished reading your bill 452. Item
numbered (2) gives me a little concern. Our property adjoins Wesley Chapel.
If I am reading this section correctly, Waxhaw could not ever annex our
property if Wesley Chapel chose not to annex us unless Waxhaw annexed all of
the property between our property and their town limits. Am I correct in this reading?

My response to Mr. Pace makes it clear that I did not initiate the Waxhaw annexation amendment, contrary to the impression spread by Mr. Pittenger and his allies, and that I was going to oppose it unless I was permitted to make sure that my bill did not apply to the property annexed. While I introduced a bill, S452, dealing with satellite annexation in 2003, a bill which by the way passed, it had nothing to do with helping Waxhaw annex the Pace-Dowd-Pittenger property.

Note that copies of my response to Pace also went to Pittenger and Hartsell, since I met with Pace at Pittenger’s request and Pittenger had said Hartsell was handling the annexation amendment.

(By the way, in order to get elected to the Senate, Pittenger ally Tommy Tucker spent thousands of dollars on mailers claiming that while I was in the Senate I had Z-E-R-O bills pass. Obviously not true. Birds of a feather and all that.)

—-Original Message—–
From: Sen. Fern Shubert
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 11:17 PM
To: ‘Stephen Pace’
Cc: Sen. Robert Pittenger; Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, Jr.
Subject: RE: Cuthbertson Road Annexation

Absent special legislation, Waxhaw can’t annex your property as a satellite now, but that is current law. The only change in 452 is the part underlined which permits contiguous annexation to a satellite even if another town is closer. In other word, S452 permits annexations that are not currently permitted provided they are contiguous to a satellite because denying voluntary annexation means there will eventually be involuntary annexation.

Thank you for your willingness to discuss your issue with Wesley Chapel. They are, as you have surmised, not happy to see anything other than R40, but no one has explained to me why they have any realistic belief that the property would be developed at that density. In talking to the council I tried to make it clear that I was not so much interested in whether they supported or opposed your development but on the reasons why they felt as they did.

I have told them that while I understand their displeasure with higher densities, Wesley Chapel can’t annex the property unless it is voluntary or until it is developed, which means that it will ultimately be part of Waxhaw. I’ve also told them that I don’t think they can hope by opposing your development they will get anything better and in my opinion anything else could and probably would be worse from their perspective. Not one of them has disagreed with the facts as stated; they just don’t like those facts and it seems they wish the situation would go away.

Based on your representations re your plans, I’ve told them that I am not inclined to oppose the request from Pittenger and Hartsell, although I would probably feel differently if your plans were less concrete and if I didn’t feel your project would represent a desirable buffer. (I’ve also told them if they want to see what can happen without buffers they can visit my family farm in Wingate. I just wish I could have something like you propose on the boundary there.)

Because of S452, I am making my agreement contingent on including a provision stopping Waxhaw from using your development as an anchor to permit contiguous annexation since that might well include something that would be detrimental to you and to Wesley Chapel.

After letting Pace, Pittenger and Hartsell know my decision, I sent a note to Gerry Cohen, Director of Bill Drafting, confirming my verbal request for assistance in drafting an amendment to be sure my bill, S452, did NOT apply to the annexation being advocated by Pittenger and Hartsell.

—–Original Message—–
From: Sen. Fern Shubert
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 10:27 AM
To: Gerry Cohen (Bill Drafting, Director)
Subject: FW: Cuthbertson Road Annexation

Amendment or PCS needed per conversation (see last paragraph)

Under the rules of the legislature, while bills or amendments are being drafted, they are the exclusive property of the legislator(s) requesting the proposed legislation be drafted. Other members are not allowed access without the permission of those who made the initial request to bill drafting.

When I asked for access to the Waxhaw annexation language, a request that would make no sense if I already had access (which I did not since I had no part in initiating the annexation), the original sponsors of the legislation in question were asked for permission to let me see their language. Note who was asked for permission:

—–Original Message—–
From: Gerry Cohen (Bill Drafting, Director)
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 10:32 AM
To: Sen. Robert Pittenger; Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, Jr.; Rep. Jim Gulley
Subject: HB705 amendment

Senatro Shubert has asked me to draft some language for HB705 (Matthews annexation) to conform a proposed Waxhaw annexation in a proposed committee substitute to the language in her SB452 which deals with Union County satellite annexations so that SB452 would not apply to it. Can I share a copy of the Senate PCS with her in roder to draft her amendment?

(Note: Gulley was the original sponsor of HB705, the Matthews annexation bill that Pittenger chose to amend. Jim Black had signed on to the bill as co-sponsor, whether before or after the Waxhaw annexation was discussed with him I do not know.)

And here is Robert Pittenger authorizing Bill Drafting to share the Waxhaw annexation language with me:

—–Original Message—–
From: Sen. Robert Pittenger
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 10:57 AM
To: Gerry Cohen (Bill Drafting, Director)
Subject: RE: HB705 amendment

yes, thanks for your help. rmp

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