Ban municipal annexation without a vote

If you live outside a municipality in West Virginia, you may have assumed the adjacent town or city could not annex your property by force. If you think that, you are wrong.

Most municipal officials are responsible enough to put annexation plans to a vote of the property owners involved. They are not required to do so. State law permits city councils to enact land through “minor boundary adjustment,” even if property owners disagree.

Morgantown officials are thinking of just such an action — involving a 3.8-square-mile area where more than 12,000 people live. Some of them have formed a group called “Forced Annexation Isn’t Right” to battle the plan. They are asking state legislators to amend the statute.

Lawmakers should do just that. Forcing people to become part of a municipality is, in a word, wrong. They should have at least some way in the matter.