De-annexation legislation awaits rubber stamp


A North Carolina Senate bill sponsored by Harry Brown, R-Jones/Onslow, bundles the de-annexation of 12.2 acres of Wrightsville Beach mainland holdings with a Jacksonville, N.C., room occupancy tax bill.

Brown, chairman of the Senate Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee, introduced the bill amendment June 19, two days following the voluntary annexation of the two-piece parcel June 17.

Senator Bill Rabon, R-Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, chairman of the Revenue Laws Study Committee, introduced substitute bill SB 523 June 23 calling for the Wrightsville Beach de-annexation/Wilmington annexation. Rabon’s bill passed its second reading 113-0 June 24.

The de-annexation was staged in a rapid two-part process beginning with the unanimous vote of the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen, rescinding its 2013 decision to decline a rezoning request by attorney Michael Lee representing State Street LLC, now owners of the former Galleria Shopping Center property at 6800 Wrightsville Ave.

The June 17 vote following a public hearing was the single agenda item during a continuation of the Wrightsville Beach board’s June 12 regularly scheduled meeting.

Also on June 17, Wilmington City Council voted to accept the voluntary de-annexation. The swap comes at a cost of nearly $800,000 to be paid by Wilmington to the Town of Wrightsville Beach during a 29-year period. The first $7,224 installment is due on July 15, 2015, followed by three more consecutive annual payments of the same amount. Beginning in 2019, year five of the agreement, Wilmington will begin annual payments of $30,000 each.

Passage of the legislation paves the way for State Street Galleria LLC’s proposed high density residential retail complex. The acquisition of an additional 11-12 contiguous acres bracketed by Wrightsville Avenue and Airlie Road doubles the developer’s real estate leverage to proceed with plans for the rezoning of the commercial and residential properties to mixed use.



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