NORTH PORT — A Sarasota County Circuit judge sided with a Wellen Park homeowner group on the ongoing battle of boundaries and legal rights in North Port.

Judge Hunter Carroll on Monday overruled North Port on its denial of de-annexation of what was West Villages.

The series of upscale neighborhoods and the Atlanta Braves stadium was renamed Wellen Park last year.

The city held a public hearing in April on whether to grant a petition by the West Villagers for Responsible Government for de-annexation, or a redrawing of North Port’s boundaries.

Its members had sought de-annexation on issues such as an alleged mishandling of city finances and a 13% property tax increase.

North Port commissioners denied that de-annexation petition in an April hearing, however.

The West Villagers group appealed. Carroll’s ruling Monday quashed the commission’s final order. His 20-page finding lists several reasons for granting the West Villagers’ appeal and throwing out the city’s decision.

Carroll, did not, however, order a rehearing of the de-annexation denial.

The city’s options include appealing the decision or granting the petition or scheduling a vote in Wellen Park, which gives homeowners the choice of removing themselves from North Port and getting absorbed into unincorporated Sarasota County, according to the West Villagers President John Meisel.

“We fully expected the (court) to recognize and honor those rights,” Meisel said of Carroll’s decision. “We were confident the entire time.”

“The city has legal concerns about the orders issued and will be filing a motion for rehearing,” said Amber Slayton, North Port’s city attorney.


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