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County residents fight against city annexation

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Emmajean Wolfe, right, and her daughter, Jamie Perez, stand outside Wolfe’s residence located at 204 York St. The property is among 90 the city is seeking to annex.

By EMIL WHITIS
Daily Press Staff Writer

A subtle rumble of dissent is crescendoing just outside the Artesia city limits. County residents are organizing on the outskirts of town in an effort to thwart an involuntary annexation proposed by the city.

The city has recently acted on the proposal, petitioning the governor to convene a boundary commission in an effort to annex six sections of county land either partially or completely surrounded by the municipality. If enacted, the move will affect 90 households.

Emmajean Wolfe, who resides at 204 York St. (on the west edge of town) is one of the county residents who would be affected by the proposal. Wolfe and her daughter, Jamie Perez, began to organize residents opposed to the measure a few weeks ago.

Since then the duo has collected 28 signatures from citizens owning at least 40 properties in the annexation zone.

“(The city) is putting us in a category as poor people and telling us we can’t fight it,” said Wolfe. “I’ll fight (the) city council. I don’t have a problem with it.”

In a letter from the city informing residents of its intentions, it is stated new annexes would be required to bring their homes into compliance with Artesia Municipal code.

“The code requirements for weeds, inoperable vehicles, building standards, etc. would be enforced,” declares the letter.

“My house is not up to code and to bring it up to code is gonna cost me a lot of money that I don’t have,” said Wolfe. “Nobody’s house out here is up to code … they’ll all be condemned.”

As is stated in the letter, the city intends to run sewer lines to the selected areas after annexation.

“A property owner would choose to remain on a septic system or tie into the city sewer system. However, no new septic systems would be permitted after annexation,” states the letter.
Wolfe said she does not believe she will ever have enough money to connect to the city sewer line, but will sooner or later be forced to do so.

She said she chose to live in the county because the living was cheaper and more freedom was afforded.

“We bought a house in the county because we didn’t want to go by their rules and regulations. Here they are trying to force (regulations) on us,” said Wolfe.

Perez said she believes it is the city’s intention to drive out the “poor people” in order to make way for a housing development which is already in the planning stages.

Tina Torres, city director of community development, said a California housing developer is poised to construct on 53 acres of land situated directly across the street from Wal-Mart on the south side of the country club. The development, however, has nothing to do with the current annexation endeavor.

Torres said the land being developed was annexed well before 2008.

Wolfe said if the city chooses to force the issue through she will move out of state.

“If you push your poor people out, who will you find to work at gas stations, Wal-Mart and grocery stores?” Wolfe asked. “We don’t have college educations … our houses show the jobs we work.”

She said the city is going against the stated purpose of the annexation when it forces people to move away.

“How is it helping Artesia grow when you’re making residents move out?” said Wolfe.

Torres said the annexation is in no way an attempt to force people from their homes. […]

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By EMIL WHITIS
Daily Press Staff Writer
A subtle rumble of dissent is crescendoing just outside the Artesia city limits. County residents are organizing on the outskirts of town in an effort to thwart an involuntary annexation proposed by the city.
The city has recently acted on the proposal, petitioning the governor to convene a boundary commission in an effort to annex six sections of county land either partially or completely surrounded by the municipality. If enacted, the move will affect 90 households.
Emmajean Wolfe, who resides at 204 York St. (on the west edge of town) is one of the county residents who would be affected by the proposal. Wolfe and her daughter, Jamie Perez, began to organize residents opposed to the measure a few weeks ago. Since then the duo has collected 28 signatures from citizens owning at least 40 properties in the annexation zone.
“(The city) is putting us in a category as poor people and telling us we can’t fight it,” said Wolfe. “I’ll fight (the) city council. I don’t have a problem with it.”
In a letter from the city informing residents of its intentions, it is stated new annexes would be required to bring their homes into compliance with Artesia Municipal code.
“The code requirements for weeds, inoperable vehicles, building standards, etc. would be enforced,” declares the letter.
“My house is not up to code and to bring it up to code is gonna cost me a lot of money that I don’t have,” said Wolfe. “Nobody’s house out here is up to code … they’ll all be condemned.”
As is stated in the letter, the city intends to run sewer lines to the selected areas after annexation.
“A property owner would choose to remain on a septic system or tie into the city sewer system. However, no new septic systems would be permitted after annexation,” states the letter.
Wolfe said she does not believe she will ever have enough money to connect to the city sewer line, but will sooner or later be forced to do so.
She said she chose to live in the county because the living was cheaper and more freedom was afforded.
“We bought a house in the county because we didn’t want to go by their rules and regulations. Here they are trying to force (regulations) on us,” said Wolfe.
Perez said she believes it is the city’s intention to drive out the “poor people” in order to make way for a housing development which is already in the planning stages.
Tina Torres, city director of community development, said a California housing developer is poised to construct on 53 acres of land situated directly across the street from Wal-Mart on the south side of the country club. The development, however, has nothing to do with the current annexation endeavor.
Torres said the land being developed was annexed well before 2008.
Wolfe said if the city chooses to force the issue through she will move out of state.
“If you push your poor people out, who will you find to work at gas stations, Wal-Mart and grocery stores?” Wolfe asked. “We don’t have college educations … our houses show the jobs we work.”
She said the city is going against the stated purpose of the annexation when it forces people to move away.
“How is it helping Artesia grow when you’re making residents move out?” said Wolfe.
Torres said the annexation is in no way an attempt to force people from their homes.
“Code enforcement has to do with constructing minimum standards to make resident’s properties habitable,” said Torres.
A meeting of those in opposition to the annexation was held two weekends ago. Those in attendance agreed the city has no right to force an annexation on people against their will.
“I moved out of the city to get out from under (the city’s) thumb (as to) what I could do with my own property and my own house,” said Tommy Munson of 2806 W. Main St. “I follow the law — I’m not dishonest — but I don’t like somebody telling me what I can and can’t do on my property.”
Douglas Apperson owns five properties which would be affected by the proposal.
“The city is trying to tell us what to do … you’ve got to get permits just to put up a damn fence … its ridiculous,” he said. “They want to charge you for permits while they holler at you to upgrade your property — then they want to charge you more taxes.”
Apperson said he was at city hall discussing charges for waste bins “a while ago” when a clerk told him his neighborhood needed to be “taken care of.”
“She said ‘you know what? Something needs to be done out there, it looks like Morningside used to … it’s trashy looking,’” he said.
The letter from the city claims that “annexation gives suburban residents a voice in the government of the larger community in which they live.”
Wolfe disagrees, and said she views the city’s choice to force annexation as evidence of its attitude toward residents of the community as a whole.
“They don’t hear us now — why would they listen later?” said Wolfe.
She said the group of dissenters on the west edge of town are not the only potential annexes upset by the city’s actions. A crowd of residents of 26th Street are also in the process of organizing, she said.
“I can and will get their support,” she said.
Wolfe intends to make contact with the 26th Street opposition today in an effort to merge the two sympathetic factions, perpetuate the momentum of the cause and bolster its power.
Meanwhile, city hall awaits word from the governor affirming a three-man boundary commission has been convened. Torres said the hearings on the issue will most likely be held in September or October. Torres said the main duty of the boundary commission will be to ascertain whether the city can supply utilities to the selected areas in a “timely manner.”
“We won’t forget about this … we’re going to take it as far as we can take it,” said Wolfe. “If (the city thinks) otherwise, they’re dealing with the wrong Mrs. Wolfe.” By EMIL WHITIS
Daily Press Staff Writer

A subtle rumble of dissent is crescendoing just outside the Artesia city limits. County residents are organizing on the outskirts of town in an effort to thwart an involuntary annexation proposed by the city.

The city has recently acted on the proposal, petitioning the governor to convene a boundary commission in an effort to annex six sections of county land either partially or completely surrounded by the municipality. If enacted, the move will affect 90 households.

Emmajean Wolfe, who resides at 204 York St. (on the west edge of town) is one of the county residents who would be affected by the proposal. Wolfe and her daughter, Jamie Perez, began to organize residents opposed to the measure a few weeks ago.

Since then the duo has collected 28 signatures from citizens owning at least 40 properties in the annexation zone.

“(The city) is putting us in a category as poor people and telling us we can’t fight it,” said Wolfe. “I’ll fight (the) city council. I don’t have a problem with it.”

In a letter from the city informing residents of its intentions, it is stated new annexes would be required to bring their homes into compliance with Artesia Municipal code.

“The code requirements for weeds, inoperable vehicles, building standards, etc. would be enforced,” declares the letter.

“My house is not up to code and to bring it up to code is gonna cost me a lot of money that I don’t have,” said Wolfe. “Nobody’s house out here is up to code … they’ll all be condemned.”

As is stated in the letter, the city intends to run sewer lines to the selected areas after annexation.

“A property owner would choose to remain on a septic system or tie into the city sewer system. However, no new septic systems would be permitted after annexation,” states the letter.

Wolfe said she does not believe she will ever have enough money to connect to the city sewer line, but will sooner or later be forced to do so.

She said she chose to live in the county because the living was cheaper and more freedom was afforded.

“We bought a house in the county because we didn’t want to go by their rules and regulations. Here they are trying to force (regulations) on us,” said Wolfe.

Perez said she believes it is the city’s intention to drive out the “poor people” in order to make way for a housing development which is already in the planning stages.

Tina Torres, city director of community development, said a California housing developer is poised to construct on 53 acres of land situated directly across the street from Wal-Mart on the south side of the country club. The development, however, has nothing to do with the current annexation endeavor.

Torres said the land being developed was annexed well before 2008.

Wolfe said if the city chooses to force the issue through she will move out of state.

“If you push your poor people out, who will you find to work at gas stations, Wal-Mart and grocery stores?” Wolfe asked. “We don’t have college educations … our houses show the jobs we work.”

She said the city is going against the stated purpose of the annexation when it forces people to move away.

“How is it helping Artesia grow when you’re making residents move out?” said Wolfe.

Torres said the annexation is in no way an attempt to force people from their homes.

“Code enforcement has to do with constructing minimum standards to make resident’s properties habitable,” said Torres.

A meeting of those in opposition to the annexation was held two weekends ago. Those in attendance agreed the city has no right to force an annexation on people against their will.

“I moved out of the city to get out from under (the city’s) thumb (as to) what I could do with my own property and my own house,” said Tommy Munson of 2806 W. Main St. “I follow the law — I’m not dishonest — but I don’t like somebody telling me what I can and can’t do on my property.”

Douglas Apperson owns five properties which would be affected by the proposal.

“The city is trying to tell us what to do … you’ve got to get permits just to put up a damn fence … its ridiculous,” he said.

“They want to charge you for permits while they holler at you to upgrade your property — then they want to charge you more taxes.”

Apperson said he was at city hall discussing charges for waste bins “a while ago” when a clerk told him his neighborhood needed to be “taken care of.”

“She said ‘you know what? Something needs to be done out there, it looks like Morningside used to … it’s trashy looking,’” he said.

The letter from the city claims that “annexation gives suburban residents a voice in the government of the larger community in which they live.”

Wolfe disagrees, and said she views the city’s choice to force annexation as evidence of its attitude toward residents of the community as a whole.

“They don’t hear us now — why would they listen later?” said Wolfe.

She said the group of dissenters on the west edge of town are not the only potential annexes upset by the city’s actions. A crowd of residents of 26th Street are also in the process of organizing, she said.

“I can and will get their support,” she said.

Wolfe intends to make contact with the 26th Street opposition today in an effort to merge the two sympathetic factions, perpetuate the momentum of the cause and bolster its power.

Meanwhile, city hall awaits word from the governor affirming a three-man boundary commission has been convened. Torres said the hearings on the issue will most likely be held in September or October. Torres said the main duty of the boundary commission will be to ascertain whether the city can supply utilities to the selected areas in a “timely manner.”

“We won’t forget about this … we’re going to take it as far as we can take it,” said Wolfe. “If (the city thinks) otherwise, they’re dealing with the wrong Mrs. Wolfe.”

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