Letter: Consequences of Annexation

"Involuntary Forced Annexation"—it is a legal way for a municipality to take control of your property without a single vote by the citizens. There are three states in America that allow this; Idaho, Indiana, and Tennessee.

For years rural Tennesseans have been living under the threat of involuntary annexation, yet, nobody has questioned why 47 other states allow annexation by referendum only?

People chose to live in environments commensurate with their lives. Unfortunately townships are annexed against their will, and are never the same. Subject to changes in codes, zoning, ordinances, and new taxes, they must accept the consequences of annexation, pay for it or move. This not only disrupts their lives, but, its an extreme economic hardship on them. This is devastating for our seniors.

This year state legislators have chosen to address this. They have introduced bills in the House and Senate to reform our annexation laws. House bill HB 0475 will amend our out of date annexation laws by making it mandatory for annexation of unincorporated properties to be done through referendum only. I urge you to ask your state representative to support this.

Since the founding of our country, property rights have been considered sacred and have been protected by our Constitution. George Washington said, "You cannot have a free society without private property."

When George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776 his greatest concern was the protection of property rights: He stated "No part of a man's property can ever be justly taken from him without his consent." Yet today the practice of involuntary annexation continues to thrive here in Tennessee!

William Haupt

Founder, Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation


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