Ammo For Sale

« « Gun Porn | Home | The company you keep » »

Starve them out

The city of Rock Hill is upset that residents won’t vote for annexation. So, they’re going to cut off their water.

It reads like some story about an evil king, doesn’t it?

19 Responses to “Starve them out”

  1. Jake Says:

    I’ll say the same thing I said over at SnarkyBytes:

    Did anyone read the story before getting angry?

    The city claims the right to annex from an agreement it made with the neighborhood’s original developer. Long before houses were built, the city agreed to provide utilities in exchange for annexation at a later date.

    That obligation passed on to future property owners, according to city officials.

    But many residents claim they didn’t know about it.”

    If it was in the contract when they bought their houses, then the city is in the right. If they didn’t want to be annexed, they shouldn’t have bought property where the city has a contractual right to annex them. As for not knowing about it, that’s why you read the contract (including the deed) before you sign it!

    It’s pretty common in real estate for an obligation to be passed along to new owners as part of the title. With new developments, it’s usually a requirement to join a future HOA, or -like what this is about – annexation-on-demand by a neighboring town or city.

    If you don’t look out for that kind of thing when you buy, you can find yourself unpleasantly surprised, and it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

  2. kahr40 Says:

    And if the residents are in breach of contract the city should sue them to force annexation not use extortion to get their way.

  3. ericire12 Says:

    Power & Control

  4. Ian Argent Says:

    Breaching a contract is a matter for the courts, not the water company. Particularly for water service, assuming bills continue to be paid

  5. TomcatsHanger Says:

    Jake: And?

    The city should have annexed the land before hand, when 75% of the property owners would have agreed.

    Oh, what’s that? Back door dealings to mis-represent the actual tax liabilities made that unattractive? Tough shit.

    Now they have to deal with many private land owners, instead of one or two. Seems kind of stupid to me.

    Wait, Stupid Government, that’s redundant. Same with Greedy Government.

  6. Jake Says:

    Breaching a contract is a matter for the courts, not the water company. Particularly for water service, assuming bills continue to be paid

    Why? If, for example, you violate the terms of your contract with your ISP, but continue to pay the bills, do they have to take you to court before they terminate your service? The same thing with a power company, or the phone company, or the cable company. Why should this be any different?

    The city agreed to provide water service in exchange for a monthly fee based on usage, and in exchange for the homeowner’s agreement to allow annexation whenever the city decided to do so. The homeowners have violated that agreement, so the city, which provides the water, is cutting off the service. It’s the same thing.

  7. Jake Says:

    The city should have annexed the land before hand, when 75% of the property owners would have agreed.

    If the property owners didn’t want to be annexed, they shouldn’t have bought homes under contracts that gave the city that option.

    Nobody forced them to buy those particular houses, and they agreed to allow the annexation when they bought them. Having the city water cut off is a consequence of refusing to honor that agreement.

  8. wizardpc Says:

    If the property owners didnít want to be annexed, they shouldnít have bought homes under contracts that gave the city that option.

    You’re assuming they did. Nowhere in that article does it mention that the developer’s agreement with the city was transferred to the homeowners.

    I don’t see where that’s the case. Where can I see a copy of the contracts, since clearly you’ve seen them?

  9. comatus Says:

    I’ve seen two cases just like this, with “secret” small-print covenants glossed over by the real-estate agents. But I’ve seen worse. An enclave surrounded by a “balloon-on-a-string” annexation had 65 houses with well water. First the city’s development manager called in the state EPA to have the water quality condemned. When it passed the tests, he ginned up a tax exemption and a city waste-water exemption to entice in a firm that would dump enough dirty stuff into the water table to guarantee a test failure.

    The residents called his bluff, though: they enjoined the encroaching city to show that they had the revenue to actually build water mains. The plan fell apart.

  10. wizardpc Says:

    Here is an article that states the agreement with the original developer is decades old. It also features a comment by a homeowner who says it’s not mentioned anywhere in any of the closing documentation.

  11. Jake Says:

    Nowhere in that article does it mention that the developerís agreement with the city was transferred to the homeowners.

    I was basing it on this:

    The city claims the right to annex from an agreement it made with the neighborhood’s original developer. Long before houses were built, the city agreed to provide utilities in exchange for annexation at a later date.

    That obligation passed on to future property owners, according to city officials.

    While it is, admittedly a claim by the city, it’s not refuted anywhere in the article that I saw, and such obligations are supposed to come up in the closing (in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s required by law in every state). They are usually referenced in the title or deed, or the subdivision documents, either directly or indirectly (i.e., the deed says “according to document X, recorded in Deed Book Y, Page Z”).

    Here is an article that states the agreement with the original developer is decades old. It also features a comment by a homeowner who says itís not mentioned anywhere in any of the closing documentation.

    Age is irrelevant, but if it wasn’t in the closing documents, that does make a difference. If that’s the case, the homeowners’ lawyer should be looking at asking the courts for an injunction until things can be straightened out.

    The problem with that situation is that the town may still have the legal right to shut off the water, and the homeowners’ may have to get some form of financial judgment against their closing agents. That starts getting into how local and state law handles those issues in contract and real estate law, and turns into a complicated mess depending on when and how that covenant disappeared.

  12. TomcatsHanger Says:

    After reading another article on it, I found the lack of a rather specific word “Contract” interesting.

    I’m guessing the city couldn’t enter into a contract with the developer to do something it takes a vote to approve, possibly something about it being illegal to circumvent the established laws regarding annexation I’m guessing.

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/25026145/detail.html

    ďI checked all my closing documents last night, and it’s just not in there,” McGoye said.

    Legal agreements don’t simply pass on due to one party claiming they do.

    The town might have the legal right to turn off the water regardless. But a sure fire way to piss off the opposition is to bully them, and the statist thugs in Rock Hill sure don’t seem to have learned from history.

  13. Phelps Says:

    There was a peaceful town called Rock Hill

    Where people lived in harmony

    They never had no kind of trouble

    The town saloon was always lively

    But never nasty or obscene

    Behind the bar stood Able Johnson

    He always kept things nice and clean

    Then all at once the trouble started

    A pack of revenuer thieves

    Like swarms of locusts they descended

    Their aim to make the townfolk fleeced

    Now is a time of great decision

    Are we to stay or up and quit?

    There’s no avoiding this conclusion

    These bums are really full of shit

  14. Jake Says:

    ďI checked all my closing documents last night, and itís just not in there,Ē McGoye said.

    See, if true, that could change the whole game. It depends on what “it’s just not in there” means. If he means the title references “Document X”, and Document X isn’t in his closing papers, then he’s still bound by Document X – he just didn’t do his due diligence when he closed without finding out what Document X obligated him to. If there’s no reference to that document in his closing documents, then there’s been a third party failure (or fraud) somewhere along the line, and the city should hold off until some equitable solution can be found.

  15. TomcatsHanger Says:

    The city isn’t looking for equitable, they want tax money.

    I don’t see a compromise position here.

  16. divemedic Says:

    If the city had a legitimate claim to annexation via deed restrictions or a valid contract, they wouldn’t need to shut the water off to force them to vote for annexation, they would simply annex them and get the courts to enforce it.

  17. Jake Says:

    The city isnít looking for equitable, they want tax money.

    I donít see a compromise position here.

    Assuming the facts are as reported, and the city is not lying:

    If the city provided the water, and the infrastructure to do so, based on the promise that they would get that tax money, and the homeowners are refusing the annexation in violation of that promise, then why should the city compromise?

    As far as an equitable solution goes, if the city is lying, then the equitable solution is that the city gets nothing and has to continue providing water as they have been, and has to pay the homeowners’ attorney fees. If the homeowners are lying then the solution is that the annexation goes forward and the homeowners have to pay the city’s attorney fees.

    If, however, the developer or previous homeowners sold the property without notifying the current homeowners of the obligation, then it’s more complicated. The city should not have to give up the revenue stream they were promised by the developer because of the bad acts of others, but the homeowners should not be forced into paying the city those taxes, either. I’m not sure what an equitable solution would be in that case, except that if it was deliberate it should involve whoever caused the problem being bent over his bunk and receiving ‘input’ from his cell mate on a nightly basis over the course of several years.

  18. John Smith. Says:

    I would not be surprised if the due diligence is a single piece of paper locked away in city hall for city use only.

  19. Phelps Says:

    It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”