Rick Severance

Rick Severance

At the April 29 hearing, the city of North Port commissioners acted responsibly and in the best interest of all North Port residents, in voting 5-0 against adopting a petition to de-annexation or contraction from the city.

This hearing was the culmination of months of discourse, false information and outlandish claims by the West Villagers for Responsible Government. Ultimately, common sense prevailed, and we can now focus on the path forward for Wellen Park.

During the hearing, numerous experts provided comprehensive information on the de-annexation feasibility (or lack thereof), in addition to the extensive findings shared in Munilytics’ Feasibility Study.

Don’t just take my word for it. I encourage everyone to watch a recording of the hearing online. Five reasons for denial were stated by city commissioners at the hearing — and reiterated again in the city’s Order Denying Petition for Contraction. Simply put, it is not in the best interest for the residents of the city of North Port. The denial order and the feasibility study are available to read at WPFactsToKnow.com.

At the end of the hearing, the WVFRG attempted to submit a petition of signatures to force a referendum, or special vote, so that residents within the proposed de-annexation area could singularly vote on whether they should de-annex from the city. Not only was that inappropriate in terms of the time and place, it is also not legally permissible. Since the city commissioners denied the petition to de-annex, there is no opportunity for a referendum to be requested or take place.


Thank you to those who recognized the far-reaching financial and economic ramifications of the petition for de-annexation, despite the “facts” being touted by the WVFRG. Thank you to the numerous residents who supported our position and spoke out against the petition. Your voices made an impact and helped contribute to the sound decision made by the city commissioners in unanimously denying the petition to de-annex. And, last but not least, thank you to the city staff and city commissioners for all of their hard work to prepare for this hearing.

This marks the first time you are reading something in the media directly from our perspective as the developer of Wellen Park. That’s intentional. We purposely kept quiet publicly as we strived to stop the petitioned de-annexation through legal means. From the very beginning, we have seen the detrimental impact de-annexing would have caused — not just for residents within Wellen Park but all residents within the city of North Port. From the very beginning, we have strived to be good stewards of Wellen Park residents’ time and money, keeping their best interests in mind. De-annexation does not best serve our residents, nor city of North Port residents as a whole. As the developer, we recognize that, and so did the city commissioners.

Wellen Park is already an amazing place to live. But there is so much potential that we are on the verge of unleashing. We are on the precipice of tremendous growth and development for Wellen Park by realizing the plans we set into motion years ago to create a more vibrant community. We have remained committed to ensuring its bright future, including investing significant financial capital to lay the community foundation and infrastructure in order to realize the potential of what Wellen Park can and will be. Our focus throughout all the de-annexation discourse has been protecting the progress for Wellen Park and future benefit for all.

Now that the City Commission has spoken, we are solely focused on the job at hand: creating an amazing sense of place in Wellen Park, where people love to live and thrive.

Rick Severance is president of Wellen Park

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