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Residents not all for annex requests
joe gaines

Residents of the Pigeon Creek subdivision spoke out Monday night on three requests from property owners who have asked to be annexed into the city of Dawsonville.

One of those requests, filed on Sept. 26, came from Dawsonville City Council Member Chris Gaines. Two others, filed the same day, were from Pigeon Creek residents, James and Barbara Watson, and David and Daphanie Waddy.

Gaines potential property, which is currently under contract, does not touch city property, according to property records.

Georgia law prohibits the formation of any new unincorporated islands.

If the annexation requests of Gaines potential neighbors are approved, Gaines property would then touch city property, allowing him to keep his city council seat.

During the public hearing portion of the citys special called council meeting, Pigeon Creek resident Joe Gaines, who is not related to Chris Gaines, spoke first.

So, I have to ask, why? Joe Gaines said. It has no use to the city; no income to the city; produces no revenue for the city, so you annex. Why? I understand Chris wants to buy a house there. I understand that completely, which brings me to my next point.

Gaines next point was what he called debacles of previous city council members; he noted the annexation of property to build the Atlanta Motorsports Park and the annexation of portions of Gold Creek subdivision.

Whenever things like this happen, you start to lose credibility, Joe Gaines said. Im not saying this to be mean, Chris, Im just speaking facts. What does that look like to the public? What does the average citizen in Dawsonville say? Oh, thats part of the good ol boy network. Oh, they take care of their own. Well, you have to look out for your own credibility.

Pigeon Creek subdivision is located off Shoal Creek Road in Dawson County, approximately two miles from downtown Dawsonville.

During the meeting, Council Member Chris Gaines recused himself from all motions and said he would purchase the home whether or not the annexation is approved.

At the end of the day, I want be able to move my family into a home that we love, be a part of the City of Dawsonville and continue to serve as a member of the City Council for the betterment of our whole community, Chris Gaines wrote in a letter after the meeting. Its that simple.

Pigeon Creek Subdivision mostly empty

According to resident Colleen Smirell, there are 94 lots and 15 homes in the subdivision.

Im not for or against this, she said, but I think as a homeowner, my only exposure to this type of situation is like Gold Creek (subdivision). I would like to see our subdivision stay the same -- either we all do it or we all dont.

Resident Jim Watson, who did not attend the meeting, sent a letter to Mayor James Grogan, from which the mayor read portions.

We border city property on the back (west) side of our property and feel it is our responsibility to make sure progress and growth are managed to enhance and maintain our property here in Pigeon Creek Estates, Watson wrote. ...Some of you may not know, but adjacent to lots 15 and 16 is a deep test water well owned by the City of Dawsonville. This is where our water comes from. The City already owns property in our subdivision. We can choose to isolate ourselves from the rest of the property owners around us who are part of the city or engage and become part of the growth opportunity needed in a small community.

Resident and letter-writer John Stegall also did not attend the meeting, but a copy of his letter was obtained by the Dawson News & Advertiser, portions of which were read by Pigeon Creek resident Brenda Schultz.

Some of us recall years ago when Kevin (developer Kevin Smith) was pushing for incorporation into the city, Stegall wrote. We didnt think it was a good idea then, and I believe it is a bad idea today. Other than a marginally lower rate for water and trash pick-up, is there any financial benefit to being in the city? Financially, my major concern is a future city property tax.

Stegall letter also agrees with Simrells comments that it is important for the subdivision to have the same government representation and services.

This was the first of two public hearings on the annexation requests.

Other annexation requests

The City of Dawsonville has another pending request for annexation of a 37.9 acre parcel owned by Byron Hutson, father-in-law of City Council Member Jason Power. The property is located adjacent to the Atlanta Motorsports Park.

Letters between the city and county attorneys have also been exchanged.

The county objects to the annexations, while the city says it will give the county one more opportunity to withdraw its objections.

According to City Attorney Dana Miles, if the county withdraws its objections, the city council will vote on the annexations after its second public hearing on Nov. 3 at 5 p.m; however, if the county does not withdraw, the issue then goes to an arbitration panel.

At that time, attorneys for both sides have an opportunity to present their case.

If the panel rules, for instance, in favor of the city, the city would come back for a vote (on Nov. 3), Miles said.

If the panel rules against the city, no vote would be taken.

In other city council business Monday night:

The city approved sending a commitment-of-funds letter to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for construction of a recreation trail around what will be called Main Street Park, behind city hall. The city agreed to spend $25,000 in order to get a grant of $125,000 to help build the trail.If approved, the city agrees to maintain the trail.

The city approved a resolution to submit an application for funding from the DNR to develop the trail.