The Dawsonville City Council on Jan. 8 voted to suspend annexation application fees for 60 calendar days to allow any of the dozens of islands within city limits to annex at no charge, pending city council approval.
In July, there were 72 islands in the Gold Creek subdivision alone, and many residents of the subdivision, who had been trying to annex into the city since February of 2017, were incensed by the council’s decision in July to instate an annexation fee in addition to making changes to the rezoning fee schedule.
The council added a $250 annexation fee, which is in addition to rezoning fees that the city already charges for properties annexing into the city, on July 10.
The council also added a $50 per additional acre charge after the first acre on all rezonings, with a $5,000 cap on the fee. The previous schedule applied that charge to only six out of the 16 zoning classifications.
The fee for appeals and change of zoning conditions also increased from $225 to $500.
The changes meant that some property owners wishing to annex into the city would have to pay double (or more) than what they previously would have paid. Someone wanting to rezone their property to R1 under the previous schedule would pay a fee of $250. With the addition of the new annexation fee, the cost to annex would be $500, or more if the property is more than one acre.
The council also added language that addresses islands, and which allows the city to decide on a case-by-case basis if they wish to lower the fee, or not charge it at all. The blanket no-charge on annexation fees is a step further to placate the Gold Creek homeowners, who were upset to learn they would have to pay more to annex into the city than some of their neighbors had in the past.
Council member Caleb Phillips motioned to add the discussion to the agenda and presented it to the rest of the council.
“We got a lot of islands in the city, inside Perimeter Road and elsewhere, and I think we should try to clean them up so I’d like to make a motion to allow anybody, for the next 60 days, to submit and application for annexation at no charge, that touch city limits,” Phillips said.
The motion was immediately seconded by council member Jason Power.
“Now just because somebody submits an annexation that doesn’t mean it’s going to get approved, is that correct,” said Mayor Mike Eason.
“That’s correct, but the fee is no charge,” Phillips said.
Council member Stephen Tolson asked on what basis an application could be denied.
“You don’t really even have to have a reason to deny them” Phillips said.
The motion was approved unanimously.
Planning Director Casey Majewski said Tuesday that the city had received one application for annexation, but that she expected a number of others to come through.