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Annex dispute pits city against county
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Kimberly Boim

A Dawsonville city attorney said Monday the Dawsonville City Council is giving the county one last opportunity to withdraw its objection to a petition for annexing 37 acres into the city.

We have informed them of the invalidity of their objection, and we give them an opportunity to withdraw their objection, City Attorney Kevin Tallant said. Failing that, we would inform the county we would engage in a land use resolution (dispute) process.

That process includes the appointment of a set of arbitrators who will decide if the the countys objections are valid, and if so, will then hearfrom the city and county as to the objections themselves, Tallant said.

The process is expected to take approximately 60 days.

Georgia law requires the county to pay at least 75 percent of the cost of arbitration, and any remaining amount can be assessed against the county if it is found to have acted frivolously in its objection to the petition, according to Tallant.

At its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, the council voted to table the annexation issue, and for its attorney to draft a letter to the county giving them a specific time frame in which to withdraw its objection. It also voted to move forward with the arbitration process.

A petition to annex approximately 37 acres on Duck Thurmond Road, near the Atlanta Motorsports Park, was filed by Byron Hutson July 24. Hutson is the father-in-law of council member Jason Power. Power currently has his home on the market.

Power recused himself from the evenings votes.

County Attorney Joey Homans said yesterday morning, he will bring the issue before the board at its next work session at 4 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Dawson County Government Center, located at 25 Justice Way in downtown Dawsonville. The public is invited to attend.

The city council also heard Monday night three additional petition requests for annexation from the following Gold Creek subdivision residents: David and Beverly James, Kenneth and Barbara Vermilion, and Jon and Sarah Steiner.

The three couples have each asked to annex approximately one acre and, if approved, to have the county zoning changed from Residential Planned Community to the citys Single Family Residential within a planned unit development. As required by Georgia law, it was a first reading and the first of two public hearings on the petitions.

Petitioner David James also addressed the council.

Were looking forward to joining the city, James said. Were not going to change anything on our property. Were a single-family home, and wed like to join the city.

Petitioner Ken Vermillion agreed.

Ive lived here five years, Vermillion said, and 50 percent of the retail business I do is right here in the city; Im surrounded by Dawson City. This is one of the reasons we want to be part of the city.

In other business, the city council:

Approved up to $10,000 for a security gate to be installed across its maintenance facility, located at 690 Maple Ave. Funds for a gate would require an amendment to the citys budget, according to City Clerk Bonnie Warne;

Heard the first reading of proposed changes to its Infrastructure Ordinance. If approved, it would allow for an improvement fee of up to $10,000 on unfinished lots in the city;

Heard the first reading of proposed revisions to its Historic Preservation Ordinance;

Discussed a resolution in support of green space designation within the city, which will allow the city to apply for $100,000 in grants for a trail system around an 18-acre park located behind city hall.