At the edge of cities and towns across North Carolina, property rights collide with progress, resulting in anger and mistrust that has festered for 50 years.
The controversy over involuntary annexation -- in which a city or town can expand its borders even if an affected property owner does not consent -- has raised blood pressure and sparked fights for a half century. The issue is a perennial problem at the legislature. But this year, the pressure to do something has reached a bursting point and lawmakers say they want to give property owners more rights when cities start stretching their borders.
"You're talking about doing something to someone's home, which is probably the second most near and dear thing to them beside their family," said Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican. "Some planner is coming to them and saying the city has grown out to where you are. You're coming into the city, and now you have no say in the process."
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