How to Incorporate a Town

By Alex Lubyansky

To incorporate a town, you will first need an attorney. The process involves a heavy amount of paperwork. You may want to consider if you have the time, energy and funding to go through this process. A successfully incorporated town enjoys more freedom and protection than one that is unincorporated one, including the ability to zone its own property and immunity to annexation from other municipalities.

Incorporate a town

You will have to rally some support to incorporate a town. Convince other residents to sign a petition for incorporation. States have different requirements for the number of signatures necessary for a successful application. Additionally, states may require a percentage of the residents or just a set number of signatures. The process is akin to a small-town political election. You'll need to go door-to-door in an effort to obtain support. Be sure to mention the benefits of incorporation, such as freedom to zone and immunity to annexation. Also, understand that some residents will be uncooperative and may not appreciate your visits.

Before you begin petitioning, come up with a name for the town. Try to conceptualize something other residents will support. A historic name carries authority and offers residents something to support. The petition must display this name prominently. Also, come up with an organizational structure for the town. The town’s voting style and governmental body must be set out in the application.

Once you have completed the application, submit it to the state.

Prepare for the deliberation hearing. A public vote will always be held for a town’s incorporation. This provides a forum for residents to voice their ideas. While requirements vary from state to state, a vote of more than 50 percent will generally gain approval for incorporation.

Impress the county judge. Even if the majority of residents vote for the town, the process has not ended. The county judge holds the last word on the incorporation decision. While the judge wishes to grant incorporation as per residents’ requests, he may be heavily influenced by the state legislature. The state must grant the final charter for incorporation, and you are relatively powerless to control this outside force.

About the Author

Alex Lubyansky has been a writer since 2007. He was a research assistant for the legal publication "Feminist Jurisprudence: Volume IV" and has been published in the Education and Employment Tips section of a prominent website. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is currently a law student at DePaul University.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article