Neighbors say 'no' to Gulfport annexation plans

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The possibility of annexation in one South Mississippi neighborhood has residents speaking out.

Earlier this month Gulfport City Council voted to approve a measure that would extend its city limits two and a half miles into Harrison County. The plan would affect about 40 homeowners and a nearby business.

People who live on John Lee Road would be effected by the proposed annexation. The small community is nestled in the woods of Harrison County and residents want it to stay that way.

"This is the place where people want to go," said Shawn Spencer. "They like the quietness. We don't need to have a bunch more developments. We don't need anything else out here."

Shawn Spencer is one of the newer residents in the community. He's lived in his home just four years. However, he said the annexation debate is something he's heard before.

Spencer said he knew nothing of Gulfport's most recent annexation plans until after the council's vote to approve the measure.

"Nobody keeps us in the loop and they try to do things behind closed doors," said Spencer.

Even though many residents are opposed to the idea, Mayor Brent Warr, his administration and several council members agree that now is the time to annex.

Plans include a 500 unit development. It will also give the residents water and sewer. But people who live in the Harrison County community say they don't want it.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Dorothy Roberts. " Why would we want Gulfport to annex us."

"I don't think Gulfport is ready to take on any more responsibility," said Spencer."This is a rural area. We like being outside the city limits, number one. Number two, the services we have know I believe are adequate. We don't need to have a bunch more services added. It's not the city."

Pitcher Point Investments owns the land and owner James Frisby is pleased with plans for the development.

"It will be a state of the art project that will be comparable to other master planned communities," said Frisby. "It will actually help attract diversified employers to the area."

Frisby proposed similar plans to Biloxi and Harrison County, but neither municipality could come to an agreement with Frisby.

"If the county is serving the individual properly, then we are against annexation," said District 5 Supervisor Connie Rocko. "You have got to prove that you are going to do a better job serving your constituents. And right now I think Gulfport and Biloxi, should be thinking about Gulfport and Biloxi."

Biloxi and Harrison County both have the right to oppose Gulfport's annexation attempt in court.

We should also mention that annexation is not on this Tuesday's city council agenda, but residents plan to address council and the administration during the citizen's forum.

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