ASHEVILLE, NC – Amid persistent rumors that the City of Asheville is eying the Leicester area for possible annexation the Town of Woodfin took action Tuesday night to begin a series of annexation hearings for the unincorporated area along Asheville’s northern border in Leicester. The potential annexation area would run from Woodfin’s present town limits across New Leicester Highway and along Asheville’s northern border, preventing Asheville from ever annexing further into the Leicester area.
Woodfin officials passed a Resolution of Intent to Annex at their regularly scheduled March 17th meeting. "The Board has been concerned for some time about Asheville moving further north and the possible negative impacts that might have on our community. One area of particular concern is how an annexation by Asheville might impact the West Buncombe Fire District which serves about a 1000 Woodfin residents at present. Our understanding is that if Asheville moved further up the road it has the potential drain a lot of revenue from the fire district which would likely compromise their ability to maintain the high level of service they provide the community. Unlike Asheville, a Woodfin annexation would not impact fire district revenues."
Town officials stressed that this matter was far from decided. "Our Board wants to talk to the residents of the area proposed for annexation and to hear their thoughts and concerns, unfortunately the only way to conduct such discussions without providing another town or city the opportunity to annex an area is to pass a Resolution of Intent. Passing the Resolution will allow community members and town officials the opportunity to find out whether or not such an annexation makes sense without having to worry that Asheville might act unilaterally during those discussions." said Young.
According to Young, the Woodfin Board of Aldermen has been concerned about signals that Asheville might be considering a move north for some time, but that the recent construction of a new Asheville ABC store near the City’s northern border had amplified those concerns among Board members and residents of Leicester that have reached out to the Town concerning the issue. "We have had a number of people who live just north of Asheville approach Board members and staff about their concern that they would soon be annexed by the City. Since they announced the construction of the new ABC store those contacts seem to have intensified." Young added.
Property owners within the proposed area of annexation will be notified in mail about the upcoming hearings and will have an opportunity to get information ask questions and express their concerns. The annexation study has not been competed at this time, but members of the public with questions are encouraged to contact the Woodfin Town Administrator.