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§8-6-4. Annexation without an election.

(a) The governing body of a municipality may, by ordinance, provide for the annexation of additional territory without ordering a vote on the question if: (1) A majority of the qualified voters of the additional territory file with the governing body a petition to be annexed; and (2) a majority of all freeholders of the additional territory, whether they reside or have a place of business therein or not, file with the governing body a petition to be annexed.

(b) For purposes of this section, the term "qualified voter of the additional territory" includes firms and corporations in the additional territory regardless of whether the firm or corporation is a freeholder. A firm or corporation may sign a petition by its manager, president or executive officer duly designated in writing by the firm or corporation. In any instance where a freeholder leases or rents real property to a firm or corporation the freeholder and the firm or corporation shall determine which entity will be entitled to sign a petition relating to the proposed annexation.

(c) The determination that the requisite number of petitioners have filed the required petitions shall be reviewable by the circuit court of the county in which the municipality or the major portion of the territory thereof, including the area proposed to be annexed is located, upon certiorari to the governing body in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-three of this code.

(d) A qualified voter of the additional territory who is also a freeholder of the additional territory may join only one petition of the additional territory.

(e) It shall be the responsibility of the governing body to enumerate and verify the total number of eligible petitioners, in each category, from the additional territory. In determining the total number of eligible petitioners, in each category, a freeholder or any other entity that is a freeholder shall be limited to one signature on a petition as provided in this section. There shall be allowed only one signature on a petition per parcel of property and any freehold interest that is held by more than one individual or entity shall be allowed to sign a petition only upon the approval by the majority of the individuals or entities that have an interest in the parcel of property.

(f) If all of the eligible petitioners are qualified voters, only a voters' petition is required.

(g) If satisfied that the petition is sufficient in every respect, the governing body shall enter that fact upon its journal and forward a certificate to that effect to the county commission of the county wherein the municipality or the major portion of the territory thereof, including the additional territory, is located. The county commission shall thereupon enter an order as described in the immediately preceding section of this article. After the date of the order, the corporate limits of the municipality shall be as set forth therein.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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