Annexation fears drive NHC community to incorporate

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Updated by Peter Smelser - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Residents of The Cape could soon become citizens of The Cape.

The Cape subdivision, located between Carolina Beach and River Roads in New Hanover County, is moving forward with a process to incorporate to avoid being taken over by the City of Wilmington.

"We wanted to maintain our own opportunities for everybody in our community to have the maximum amount of input in how their community is run and when you get into a larger government system, you have less and less opportunity to do that," said Ken Burda, vice president of The Cape Homeowner's Association (HOA).

Homeowners voted on Oct. 10 to begin exploring incorporation.

That would make the Cape it's own entity providing residents with water, sewer, trash and fire service, in addition to many things the HOA already does like maintain roads. These are services the community says they provide efficiently.

"What we could run the community for as a municipality and you compare that against what we would be taxed if we were a part of the City of Wilmington and the potential future of where that's going. There's a significant difference," said Joyce Edwards, president of The Cape HOA.

The Cape HOA began looking at incorporation about 2 years ago, but recent annexation of part of Monkey Junction by the City of Wilmington is adding a new urgency.

"Is it necessary or is it too much too soon?" said Bruce Chambers, Cape resident. "I think that's the big question."

The Cape does not have long to find an answer.

The Monkey Junction annexation takes effect next summer, so the community must file all its paperwork before that's final. That's because state laws do not allow communities within 5 miles of a large city to become their own municipality without that city's permission. The addition of Monkey Junction would put The Cape within that 5 mile limit.

"In a sense what we're doing is an insurance policy," said Burda. "An insurance policy where we can remain self-governed."

A petition drive will Dec. 1 to collect signatures from residents who want to become incorporated.

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