Annexation bill meets deadline
State legislation allowing Waynesville to grant Lake Junaluska's request for annexation squeezed by bill-filing deadlines Wednesday when N.C. Sen. Jim Davis (R) of District 50 introduced Senate Bill 290 and N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D) of District 119 entered an identical bill, H.B. 306, on the House side.
The legislation was requested jointly by Lake Junaluska Assembly Board of Directors and the Waynesville Governing Board.
Each bill is entitled "An Act Adding Certain Described Property to the Corporate Limits of the Town of Waynesville" and spells out boundaries and PIN numbers of properties involved.
Bills in their entirety can be viewed on the N. C. General Assembly website. North Carolina statutes require three public readings, and the bills won't become law until voted upon by both the House and the Senate.
Jack Ewing, executive director of the Lake Junaluska Assembly, presented results of its public input survey at the Waynesville town board meeting Tuesday. Of 811 surveys sent to property owners, 492 were returned, with the majority favoring becoming part of Waynesville as opposed to remaining the same or forming a separate town.
On March 8, 2013, the board of directors of Lake Junaluska Assembly formally voted to actively pursue annexation by the Town of Waynesville to become effective August 31, 2013, and to request that the N. C. General Assembly extend corporate limits of Waynesville to include all of LJA and to seek Waynesville Board of Aldermen support of that action.
The Waynesville governing board voted unanimously Tuesday night to formally accept Lake Junaluska's invitation and timeline.
Waynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal said the nuts and bolts of the agreement will be laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding, including the hiring of all Lake Junaluska Assembly employees. The complex process has taken a year, with dozens of open meetings and stacks of information available to the public before decisions were made.
"I'm glad we saw the surveys," said Alderman Wells Greeley. "That further confirms that the public has weighed in on this. I'm very comforable with where we are."
Alderman Julia Freeman agreed.
"The process has been extremely thorough," she said. What is the next step?
"It'll be in the hands of our legislators," said Mayor Gavin Brown.
In other business, the board tabled until its next meeting the awarding of a bid for skate park grading and construction.
"One of the bids wasn't received until late Thursday, and we need a little more time to review what we have," said Onieal. Waynesville governing board meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays in the Town Hall board room above the Police Station on Main Street at 7:00 p.m., unless otherwise announced.