By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Annexation disagreement continues
Placeholder Image

The Dawsonville City Council continues to field annexation requests, despite objections from the Dawson County commission.

With more people attempting to annex their property into the city limits, the county's protests could lead to legal arbitration.

The council heard four requests for annexation during its meeting Monday night. They came from Byron Hutson of Duck Thurmond Road and David and Beverly James, Kenneth and Barbara Vermillion and Jon and Sarah Steiner, all in the Gold Creek subdivision.

"I've lived here for five years and at least 50 percent of our ... business is done right here in the city," Vermillion said. "It's interesting, I was looking at this map [of the city] and there is a big green section right in the corner. The little white dot in that map is my house. It's surrounded by Dawsonville on all sides."

On Sept. 15, the city's planning board voted unanimously to recommend that city council approve the requested Gold Creek zoning amendments required to fulfill the requests.

Commission Chairman Mike Berg has previously said that he noticed "at least one of them is a complete island; it doesn't touch the city in any way, shape or form. The other two may."

"It's strange that the general idea of annexation is to fill in holes. [This] is the opposite. It's creating them," he said.

However, City Attorney Kevin Tallant responded to the county's objections of these holes during the meeting Monday.

"The city has received an objection letter to all three of these ... requests," he said. "The county has objected, contending that the annexation of these properties makes an existing island worse.

"The Georgia Court of Appeals ... says this is not the case ... and has ruled that, when you annex a part of a larger island, you are not creating a new island and that the city can, in fact, do that."

The county commission also has contested the recent request by Byron Hutson to bring 37 acres on Duck Thurmond Road into the city.

Hutson has also asked that the land, which is under the county zoning of residential exurban/agricultural, be rezoned as restricted agricultural.

In a letter to the city, County Attorney Joey Homans wrote that approving the request without an adjacent 2-acre parcel would create an unincorporated island, a violation of Georgia code.

In addition, he said the application fails to contain a complete description of the land to be annexed.

The county also contends the proposed city zoning classification differs greatly from that of the county's and would allow an increase in density.

"The city has received an objection from the county to the city proceeding forward with this annexation request," Tallant said.

According to Tallant, Georgia law allows the city to proceed through an annexation request. Should an objection stand, then the two entities - in this case, the city and the county - will enter into arbitration.

"In speaking with the county attorney, the county has elected to not withdraw its objection," he said. "It would be my recommendation to the council, in accordance with Georgia law, to not take a final vote on this application this evening... and table this decision until the conclusion of ... the annexation dispute resolution."

In order to settle the dispute, a set of arbitrators will be hired to hear and decide whether the county's objection is valid and, if the objection is valid, hear both sides of the objection.

"The law requires the county to pay at least 75 percent of the cost of arbitration proceedings and the remaining amount can be assessed against the county if it is found that they have acted furiously in asserting its objections to this petition," Tallant said.

With this advice, the council tabled the Hutson annexation until further dispute resolution was reached. The council also voted unanimously to pursue arbitration should the county not withdraw its objection.

As the other annexation requests were reviewed on first hearing, no decision was made.

Staff Writer Michele Hester contributed to this story.