Annexation occurs when an unincorporated property is incorporated into a municipality (a city or town). Municipalities seek annexations of unincorporated properties in order to eliminate enclaves and unincorporated “pockets,” “clean up” irregular borders, and increase efficiency for delivering public services. The municipality gets to expand its borders and the property owners of the newly-annexed property gain access to urban services such as water and increased emergency service response times. In order for a property to be considered for annexation, it must be contiguous to the municipality in question.
The two most common methods of annexation are voluntary annexation and an annexation referendum. As the name suggests, voluntary annexation begins when all the owners of an unincorporated property submit a petition to a city. The city then holds a public hearing and, if passed, an annexation ordinance is adopted incorporating the property.
A second method is through an annexation referendum. By this method, a city will initiate proceedings to annex a property, and hold a vote. Only registered voters who own property within the limits of the property may take part in the vote. If the vote passes by a simple majority, the property is incorporated by the city. It is important to note that property owners who are not registered to vote will be unable to take place in the vote.
Concerns by property owners over zoning, increased property taxes, and costs incurred when connecting to a city’s sewage system may give property owners in currently unincorporated areas pause. It is important to speak with the local city government to find out how such issues are handled, as it varies by area. Contact our zoning and land use attorneys today for help traversing the complexities of annexation.
To schedule your consultation with our Orlando annexation lawyers at Bogin, Munns & Munns, call our office today at (407) 578-1334, or fill out the form on our contact page. We look forward to helping you navigate the complex field of annexation law.
Why You Need an Annexation Lawyer
In many cases, annexation is not the simple process you might expect involved with getting a unanimous vote among property owners. Instead, some may have concerns over becoming part of a larger municipality. In matters like these, you need a skilled attorney to help you negotiate between disputing members.
Annexation law is complex and constantly evolving. For example, Florida used to have a “dual referendum” requirement before the laws changed in 1993, as noted in an article from the Stetson University College of Law. The term “dual referendum” meant:
- A majority of voters in the potentially annexed property had to approve the annexation, and…
- A majority of voters in the municipality who were doing the annexing had to approve the annexation
Now it is not necessary for property owners in the annexing municipality to hold a vote. All that is required is a majority approval of the proposed annexed property. At Bogin, Munns & Munns, our Orlando annexation lawyers stay abreast of all relevant legislation so that we can assist in any disputed matter.
What to Look for in an Attorney
Choosing the right lawyer for your annexation needs is an important step in ensuring that you achieve your goals. Below are just a few factors you might want to consider before making your decision.
Being Florida Bar board-certified is one indication that an attorney is at the top of the pack. Board certification requires a lawyer to express several important characteristics, such as:
- Professionalism and integrity
- A good disciplinary track record
- In-depth knowledge of a specific area of law
- Passing the rigorous examination of the Florida Bar
Since board certification is essentially how an attorney receives accolades and recognition from his or her peers, it is a good measure of how that attorney is looked upon within the professional legal community.
You also want to make sure that the attorney you select is someone with whom you feel comfortable communicating. Trust is an essential part of the attorney-client relationship and often relies on a person’s personality traits. If you don’t feel comfortable with an attorney or law firm’s practices, don’t hire them!
Prior Legal Experience
Another element that you should question is the lawyer’s or law firm’s history within the legal profession. Have they worked on annexation law before? What have their previous cases been like? How have those cases resolved? A track record of prior cases that have similar fact patterns to your situation can help you better understand what to expect from that lawyer or law firm.
Finally, you may want to do a quick Google search for reviews of the attorney or law firm you’re considering from their past clients. Make sure to analyze the reviews and discern the reasons behind them. For example, some bad reviews may simply indicate that the client was unhappy with the outcome of the case, not necessarily with the way the attorney performed. However, a swath of bad reviews could be a red flag for that attorney or law firm.
Schedule Your Consultation with Our Orlando Annexation Lawyers Today
If you are in the midst of an annexation dispute, need to understand some specific detail about annexation law, or are seeking legal ways to begin or prevent an annexation, get in touch with Bogin, Munns & Munns today. Our Orlando annexation attorneys have years of experience handling these kinds of cases and can get you where you need to be.
To schedule your consultation with our attorneys, call our Orlando office at (407) 578-1334, or fill out the form on our contact page. We look forward to learning more about how we can help you achieve justice and success.