Dawsonville welcomed new residents to the city but also bid farewell to one of its council members during a meeting Monday night.
The city council voted to approve a set of annexations in the Gold Creek subdivision, citing the need to repair mistakes that had been made in the past, while also declining the requests of applicants in the Pigeon Creek subdivision.
"I have to say that I'm not a big proponent of these spot annexations," said Councilwoman Angie Smith. "To me, there is a total difference between the annexations of Gold Creek and the annexations ... of Pigeon Creek.
"With the Gold Creek annexations ... we are simply ... trying to remedy things that have happened in the past, as fair as we can."
It's for this reason that Smith motioned to deny the three Stillwater Lane annexation requests, which in turn moved councilman Chris Gaines outside the city limits upon his property closing.
Gaines had applied for annexation into the city.
"This has been a very hard decision and I have weighed the pros and cons of both," Smith said. "The problem with the [Pigeon Creek annexations] is that we are doing the same thing with Gold Creek all over again. We are creating a subdivision that is divided. And I'm not sure that is the best thing for us, at this time."
Councilman Mike Sosebee seconded all three of the motions.
"I totally agree with Ms. Smith about [Councilman] Chris [Gaines] being an asset to the city, and I personally have nothing against him," Sosebee said. "But I am going to have to second this motion."
With three votes, as Councilman Jason Power also voted in favor, and Gaines recused himself, the applicants, the annexation requests failed.
Without the annexation, Gaines does not reside in the city, a requirement to hold a council seat.
"I have not served with anyone who I thought put the needs of this city any higher than Chris Gaines," Smith said. "It's with a very heavy heart that I have come to the conclusion that I came to, because I am fully aware that this means that Chris no longer lives in this city."
Gaines, who has served on the council for three years, submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday morning.
"It is with a heavy heart that I submit my resignation from my seat on the Dawsonville City Council effective Tuesday, Nov. 4, due to my decision that I feel is best for my family," Gaines wrote. "It has been a pleasure and an honor serving the citizens of Dawsonville for the last three years and I appreciate all the support during this time."
Despite not getting his annexation request approved, Gaines appeared to have no hard feelings.
"I don't think it was vindictive toward me," he said. "Angie and I have ... a lot of the same conservative, small government viewpoints."
Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said that the system is in place for everyone.
"Chris was not treated any differently than ... any of the other applicants," he said. "His annexation was just another citizen coming to the city and filing for an annexation."
As for Gaines, he said his focus is his family and business.
"Of course, I'd like to be in the city, whether I'm sitting on the city council or not, and I still want to be a part of that," he said. "But, like I told my neighbors, my first and foremost goal is to be a good neighbor.
"The last thing I want to do is cause strife among neighbors. And if we couldn't come together in this scenario, then I'm not going to push it one way or another."
Also during its meeting Monday night, the Dawson City Council moved to take the Gold Creek annexation requests that it approved to arbitration with Dawson County.
"Unless the county sees fit to withdraw its objections, we will be going through the state-law mandated arbitration procedure channels," said City Attorney Dana Miles.
"I've received communication with [County Attorney] Joey Homans and he has agreed with me that it makes sense to handle these annexations through the arbitration panel together, because the county's objections are similar, if not identical, and to save costs both in attorney fees and staffing."