CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - There’s potentially a legal battle brewing in Rock Hill over the annexation of a large industrial park.
The business owners want to remain a part of York County; Rock Hill wants to annex them into the city.
A stone’s throw away from the new Panthers’ practice facility stands the Rock Hill Industrial Park.
Technically, both the future Panthers’ site and the surrounding businesses are part of York County, but everything surrounding the two are considered part of the City of Rock Hill.
“The reason I bought that building and the other building in the same industrial park was because it never really was going to be a part of the City,” said Mike Siesel, President of Casual Cushion.
Being separate from the city was the selling point for the businesses and property owners because county tax rates are lower. Now, however, Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys says their game is over. It’s time for the park patrons to join his team.
“Over the last 50 years, as the City's grown, the business park basically gets the benefit of City services, police visibility, things of that nature that they don't pay for because they're not annexed,” said Gettys.
One of those benefits is the City water supplied to the Rock Hill Industrial Park.
“I can understand if the City of Rock Hill would have some type of claim if they paid for the infrastructure,” said business owner Marcel Stark, “but they never paid for anything in here.”
Stark claims the land owners paid for the pipes; Rock Hill supplies the water. Now, Stark says, the City is using that supply to strong arm the land owners.
“Basically, the owners were pushed back into a corner and felt they had to sign these annexation agreements or their water would be cut off,” Stark said.
The property owners say the timing of the annexation is convenient. Now that the Panthers are moving into town, everyone wants a piece of the pie.
City Council will make a final vote as to whether or not they will annex the Rock Hill Industrial Park into the City.