The N.C. House gave preliminary approval Monday night to a nine-month freeze on cities or towns forcibly annexing new land.
Legislative leaders said the temporary ban gives them time to come up with recommendations for updating the state's annexation laws during next year's legislative session, which begins in January.
The House voted 99 to 15 for the moratorium, but a final debate and vote is scheduled for today.
Cities and towns often annex new residents to expand the tax base, and in exchange provide services that those neighborhoods had not been receiving. Such moves, though, sometimes spark heated protests from residents who don't want the tax increase that typically accompanies annexation. Mark Johnson