On Saturday, March 4, when a lot of area residents were thinking about the impending basketball game that night between Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, many Summerfield leaders and residents were focused on an entirely different subject – a move by local developer David Couch to have his property de-annexed from the town.

Couch has been engaged in a lengthy process with town officials that would allow him to build a large residential development in a way that would be acceptable to town officials.  However, those negotiations seem to have come to an end.  Town leaders learned that Couch was making an appeal to the NC General Assembly that would allow him to remove the property in question from Summerfield.

Saturday at 11:09 a.m. Town Manager Scott Whitaker sent out an email announcing an emergency 4 p.m. meeting that day.

Normally, local governments must give 48 hours’ notice before public meetings; however, if it is an emergency, the meeting can be held on very short notice.

The meeting included a closed session by the Summerfield Town Council.

When the councilmembers came back into open session, Summerfield Mayor Tim Sessoms told the attendees he was disappointed that Couch had chosen this path rather than to continue to work with the town to come to an acceptable arrangement.

Sessoms also said that the move would remove a “substantial core” of Summerfield and be very detrimental to the town.

He also said the town council was opposed to any de-annexation, but that the legislation seemed to be moving fast so he encouraged the residents to call and write their state representatives.  The town provided contact information for the legislators on Summerfield’s Facebook page.

“This has come at us quick,” the mayor told the attendees.