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Proposed Southport annexation could leave some homeless

READ MORE: Proposed Southport annexation could leave some homeless

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- The idea of annexation does not go over very well with folks who live just outside Southport. Many say it's unconstitutional, or that they can't afford the extra fees and taxes. However, those who live in the Woodside Trailer Park say they could be left without a place to live.

"A lot of people I know who died for my country," said Fred Gann, a Navy veteran. "A lot of people. And sometimes I think, what is it all for?"

Gann is just one of many military veterans who live in the Woodside Trailer Park right outside of Southport. To them, the park is more than just a neighborhood.

"They're not rich people, but I mean, it's a family," said Reese Swan, who lives in Woodside Trailer Park. "It's a wonderful place in here, and I don't want to leave."

The trailer park is located within the proposed Southport annexation area. If annexed, Earl Clewis, the park's owner, says he will be forced to hook up to the city's sewer system estimated at a cost of more than $1 million, which he says he can't afford.

"If we get annexed and have to put on a mandatory sewer hook-on, we'd have to close this park down," Clewis said.

Closing the park down would leave many people with no place left to go.

"I had to sell the family home because of high taxes," Woodside resident Daniel Swan said. "I couldn't afford the taxes anymore. I took what little bit of money I got from that, bought this trailer, moved in here, and this is where I live now. If Earl closes the place down, I'm going to be out in the street with no where to go."

The Southport Board of Aldermen held a public hearing about annexation Thursday night, but Gann says he wonders if they were even listening.

"We feel like this board is a dictatorship," Gann said. "It's not a democratic thing. That's what I put my life on the line for democracy. This is not a democracy. This is a dictatorship."

At the end of the hearing, the Board of Aldermen announced that the vote for the annexation ordinance is now scheduled for June 2 instead of June 9.

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