Unincorporated Community Sues Town For Racial Discrimination
A predominantly black unincorporated community is suing an adjacent North Carolina town, a move that comes after a decades-long fight for annexation.
The suit was filed by the 73-household Walnut Tree Community Association and four individuals. It alleges racial discrimination by the predominantly white town of Walnut Cove.
K&L Gates Law Firm represents the plaintiffs. They say the lawsuit is an attempt to accelerate annexation so Walnut Tree community members can participate in town elections and receive the benefits and services available to town residents. Right now, those who live in Walnut Tree pay nearly twice as much as town residents for water and sewer services, but receive no police coverage or trash pickup.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports Walnut Cove rejected a formal petition for annexation in January. K&L Gates says repeated denials of annexation since the 1970s violate the North Carolina Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
Town attorney Anne Rowe said she has no comment on the pending litigation.