06/22/04 — Residents in targeted annexation area file court petition to block city

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Residents in targeted annexation area file court petition to block city

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 22, 2004 2:03 PM

A group of residents fighting Goldsboro's plan to annex an area north of the city has made good on its promise to take legal action.

The group filed a "petition for review" last week in Wayne County Superior Court. It asks the court to throw out the city's annexation ordinance, saying it failed to meet state requirements.

The petition says the annexation ordinance that the City Council approved in April fails to show:

*How the city will provide required services to the area in the same way that they are provided in the rest of the city.

*How the city will pay for those services.

*And how the annexation will affect the city's finances and services.

"As a result of the City's failure to substantially comply with the aforementioned statutory requirements, Petitioners believe that they will suffer material injury," the petition says.

It asks the court to declare the annexation null and void and to provide any relief to the residents it deems proper.

The petition was filed Thursday by the group's lawyer, James E. Eldridge of Wilmington. The city will be asked to file a response.

City officials have said they are prepared to fight in court for the annexation. They say the annexation is needed for the city to grow, and it has been done in a legal manner.

The suit is the latest in an ongoing battle that began over the last couple of years when the city announced its plans to annex subdivisions on the east and west sides of Salem Church Road and on the north and south sides of Buck Swamp Road.

Residents first tried to form a town called Northbrook to block the annexation, but the proposal died in the state Legislature. After the city voted in April to annex, the residents formed Good Neighbors United and have been holding several meetings with lawyer Eldridge to plan legal action. The group has also held fund-raisers to pay for the legal fees.

The petition lists the following people as petitioners:

William R. Burnette and wife, Sandra; Gene A. Mozingo and wife, Sharon; Thomas L. Dupree and wife, Margaret; Robert H. Pleasants and wife, Margaret; Lawrence M. Pierce and wife, Rita; Kevin L. Mathers and wife, Brenda; Kenneth S. Wadsworth and wife, Jean; Marvin D. Turner and wife, Anne; Thomas W. Fleetwood and wife, Diane; John D. Booth and wife, Erlene; Gerald T. Mozingo and wife, Janie; and Robert T. Hinnant and wife, Sandra.