WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Wrightsville Beach leaders have approved a voluntary de-annexation proposal of the former Galleria Shopping Center property.
The 12-acre site, which has sat vacant for more than two years, is located on the mainland side of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Based on the terms of the deal, the Town of Wrightsville Beach will receive $778,896 over the next 29 years.
The move means that The Galleria site will now be placed within Wilmington's municipal tax base and zoning requirements.
Before the vote was cast, several residents spoke out about wanting to keep the property, but were understanding that the financial benefits associated with moving forward with the de-annexation.
"I want my cake and eat it too," Sue Bullock, a member of the town's Chamber of Commerce said. "From the chamber side, we want the beach to hold on to property and create a mix use district, but on the financial side we don't have the money to turn away. Neither solution is the best we could have had."
"The property has no historical, geographical, or for lack of a better term, spiritual connection to the town," said Robert O'Quinn, former Mayor of Wrightsville Beach. "It would be in the best interest of the town to take the $800,000 deal and not take the risk of getting nothing."
This was the second time that the property owners came forward with this request. Town officials denied the idea in 2013.
Before the de-annexation deal is finalized, Wilmington City Council must vote to approve it, and a bill must be submitted by a member of the state General Assembly.