Davidson County, NC -- A group of homeowners in Davidson County, facing forced annexation, are planning a victory party this July.
The group, Citizens United Against Forced Annexation (CUAFA), has been fighting the city of Lexington to scrap plans to annex them since 2007.
After five years, their epic battle with City Hall ended just as the homeowners wanted it in the first place.
John Frank and his family chose to live on a lake on the outskirts of Lexington in Davidson County some six years ago.
"We had a control of our own life out here, where in the city, you lose a lot of that," Franks said.
But barely a year after moving into his new home, the city drafted a plan to force him and about 1,200 county residents into the city limits.
"I don't think I should be told [how to do things] when it comes to my own property," Frank told News 2.
Ed Frank, who is a board member of CUAFA explained that if they wanted to live in the city, they would have purchased a home in the city instead of being forced.
"We thought it was totally un-American," he added.
But state law allowed it. The move would have given Lexington a new revenue source and the county residents would have had to pay more taxes.
In return they would also get city services like trash pick-up and police protection.
"They saw dollar signs," Friedman said about the city leaders. "We would have had trash cans and we don't feel like we should pay a thousand or $1,500 more a year to get trash cans."
So, for five years Friedman and his neighbors fought.
"These were approximately 1,200 little guys fighting one big entity being the city," he said.
Appeal after appeal, minor victories and major let down.
"It was a little up and down," said Frank.
And then finally, there was a bold move by the state legislature, which now blocks forced annexation with a vote this month.
The new law HB-925 now gives the power of choice back to the homeowners.
"We won," said Friedman. "You can fight city hall."
The legislature passed two new laws in this case. The first one puts a 12-year ban on the Lexington case.
The second one bans annexation statewide, unless residents vote in favor of being annexed.
That law goes into effect July 1. However, there's a slim chance the town of Lexington and others will appeal.
Lexington has lost a lot of businesses and about a thousand of their residents since the last census.
The city was banking on bringing in new residents through the annexation to entice economic development. But after the loss, the city manager said they are looking into other options for revenue. One idea includes fixing the city rail service.
WFMY News 2