Boards tackle county line

Vance, Granville seek to determine boundary while not affecting residents
Jul. 10, 2014 @ 07:39 PM

Vance and Granville counties have given themselves three months to fix the residency issues on their boundary.

Six commissioners whose districts line county borders — Vance County chairwoman Deborah Brown and commissioners Tommy Hester and Dan Brummitt and Granville County chairman David Smith and commissioners Tony Cozart and Ed Mims — have been selected to discuss where residents will vote in the general election Nov. 4.

The question was posed in April when the Granville County manager’s office requested the North Carolina Department of Transportation move county line road markers to match designations the state adopted in 2013.

The new lines were a result of North and South Carolina redrawing their border in 2011.

Vance County Manager Jerry Asycue, who was unaware of the changes, said he got calls from residents concerned about how the adjustments would impact them.

“If we were moving people to another county, then we should have had the proper things in place,” he said.

Tracy Watkins said the Vance County Board of Elections sent her mail requesting she vote in Vance County in this year’s primary.

She and her husband, Gary Watkins, lived in Granville County before lines were changed.

“I work in Granville County,” she said. “My children go to school in Granville County. My church is in Granville County. All my friends and family are in Granville County. I like voting in Granville County.”

She said she took her concerns to court immediately but was still required to vote in Vance County.

“I wasn’t real happy about it either,” Watkins said. “It’s not where I chose to live. I chose to live in Granville County. My grandparents bought this property because it was in Granville County.”

She said she will fight harder if the changes disrupt other areas of her life.

“It would be a very hard pill to swallow if it affects my children,” she said. “This is where their friends are and where they’ve gotten comfortable at.”

Granville County Manager Michael Felts said lines moved anywhere from a few feet to the length of a football field, affecting about 10 properties.

Ayscue said about three were residents of Vance County.

Commissioners will meet in the coming weeks to make sure the lines have been established correctly and decide how to transition residents — which could mean a change in their children’s school districts, tax obligations and available services.

The county managers said they have not discussed the first meeting yet but hope it will be by the end of the month.

They said they expect to have voting issues resolved by September.

Vance County attorney Jonathan Care said the county line confusion resulted from improper surveying when the counties were established in the 1800s.

He said the boundaries were set up by land geography, such as trees and streams — some of which are not around anymore.

Under the state’s new system, boundaries are measured using the latest technology and computerized into land coordinates.

“The big question here is where are the lines supposed to be,” Care said.

He said if the counties cannot agree, an official survey must be done — a task which would take longer than a few months to produce a solution.

“I don’t think that this will happen,” he said. “This is not a adversarial debate. Both sides have been cordial in communication with each other up until now.”

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.