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Annexation coming to head
Closing arguments next week
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On Monday, Dawsonville residents will have one final chance to voice their opinions on the latest wave of annexation requests before the city council.

One of the three tracts, all of which are on Stillwater Lane in the Pigeon Creek Estates subdivision, is under contract to City Councilman Chris Gaines.

Gaines has previously described his request as "rather simple."

"I have worked very hard to make a life for my family and found a house that we fell in love with in a neighborhood that borders the city," he said.

However, if the request is not approved by both the city and the county, Gaines' council seat could be in jeopardy.

During an Oct. 20 special called meeting, the city heard the first of the latest sets of annexations, which have previously included a site on Duck Thurmond Road and three properties in the Gold Creek subdivision.

County Commissioner Gary Pichon, an outspoken opponent of Dawsonville's annexations, previously shared his views on the topic.

"At the heart of this problem is this constant annexation by the city," he said. "If you look at the map, we're slowly going to be consumed by the city and we're not going to have any say in that."

Like Pichon, one Dawson County and Stillwater Lane resident spoke against the requests, however, he has since changed his mind.

"Spot annexation, I think, as we all know, creates a lot of problems," said Joe Gaines (no relation to the councilman), who lives in Pigeon Creek Estates. "What happens is ... this council ... loses credibility and the people in the city start questioning these actions. They say: ‘Oh, that's part of that good ol' boy network. They take care of their own.'"

The councilman said he agrees with the elder Gaines.

"I completely agree with you on the feeling of the ‘good ol' boy' network and that is one of the primary reasons I subjected myself and my family to run for public office," he said. "In the last few years I feel that we have done some great things and laid a solid foundation for things to come. That ‘good ol' boy' network is no longer thriving in Dawsonville as it once was."

Because of that, Joe Gaines said, he is giving second thoughts to his comments during the first hearing.

"My objection was not aimed at [Chris Gaines] personally, but more to the system in place being used and the lack of judgment used by some of our past city officials," he wrote in a letter to Councilman Gaines.

"I care deeply for my city and feel that anything that might discredit it even in the slightest should be opposed," the letter continued. "I feel that ‘pocket annexation' like this gives cause to rumors and accusations of ... special interest motivations. When there is no sound reason to annex a property then the thoughts of the citizens turn to special interest or corruption. "

Joe Gaines said this week he will do all that he can to help the city councilman retain his seat and annex this property.

"At the next meeting, I am going to withdraw my opposition to this annexation," he said. "I still stand on my feelings about ‘pocket annexation,' but in this case I can see the need.

"We need Christian men in government and I believe God has put [Chris Gaines] here for a purpose. Given the way things are I will do what I can to help [his] cause with the neighbors."

According to Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg, the county has no plans to withdraw its objection to the annexation requests on file with the city.

Because of the impasse, the city and county likely will enter arbitration following the city's meeting Monday.