Unconstitutional or not, nine areas across the state, including Monkey Junction and two areas in Southport, won’t be annexed into city limits. Property owners in the Monkey Junction area used an anti-annexation petition to prevent attempts last year. However, Judge Shannon Joseph sided with Wilmington and other cities that sued the state over the new annexation laws because the petition process is unconstitutional. Due to Joseph’s decision, the verdict of being able to annex the areas is still uncertain. Rep. Stephen LaRoque plans to quickly pursue a way of a local bill keep the nine potential areas safe from annexation. If accomplished, Gove. Beverly Perdue cannot veto local bills. When voting on the annexation, only property owners inside the annexation areas were allowed to “vote.” This decision leaves out everyone who does not own the properties, such as renters. That being said, the cities feel the petition process is unconstitutional. Article I, Section 11 in the NC Constitution states that “no property qualification shall affect the right to vote or hold office.” LaRoque disagrees and stresses the difference between a protest petition and a vote. With 60 percent of the property owner’s signatures, it allows the owners to invalidate proposed annexations. Monkey Junction and Southport propertry owner’s signed enough petitions last year to nullify Wilmington and Brunswick County attempt to force them into the city. Mayor Bill Saffo said Wilmington has always followed the law when it comes to annexation. He also said, “While people have different opinions on annexation, I feel it has been good for the state of North Carolina.” Saffo feels the purpose of annexation in Wilmington areas is to extend city services to the areas in the separate parts of the county, like Monkey Junction, and to retrieve cost acquired by the general public using city facilities. AS of now, the state Attorney General’s Office is reviewing Judge Joseph’s ruling.
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