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County disagrees with annexation
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The Dawsonville City Council voted 4-0 on Monday to annex nearly 85 acres of property in the county.

The annexations include a 5-acre parcel to which Dawson County Attorney Joey Homans had previously filed an objection.

The property at 106 Hwy. 136 East is across the street from the city limits, but borders the county on its other three sides.

The remaining annexed sites are made up of primarily unincorporated islands, which are surrounded by the city limits.

At issue is whether the disputed site is eligible for annexation.

Dawson County contends it isn't, meaning the annexation would violate a 2007 agreement between the two governments.

The second required public hearing for all the annexations is set for Aug. 1.

Despite the difference in opinion, Homans remains optimistic the two sides can come to an agreement.

"[I] hope that the city and county can sit down and resolve the issues that need resolving," Homans said.

If they can't, a panel of independent arbitrators could take up the matter.

Nalita Y. Copeland and William W. Whittington filed the request to annex the disputed property.

Copeland, who was at the meeting Monday night, said she had been "meaning to [file] for a while and just never got around to doing it."

"Our family used to own all four corners of [the intersection of Hwys. 136 and 9 ]," she said. "So we just wanted it to all be in the city."

Copeland added that she has "no immediate plans" to sell the property.

Both she and Dawsonville City Attorney Dana Miles maintained that the rest of the property at the intersection has been annexed.

Despite their assertions, a survey map of the area shows the disputed property is nearly 450 feet from the corner.

That would mean the property, if annexed, would still be surrounded on three sides by the county.

According to Homans, that's what prompted the objection.

"The objection was filed because the property is outside of the property that is eligible to be annexed, as per [the county's 1-cent sales tax] agreement with the city," he said Tuesday morning.

"You can't sign an agreement in '07 that is valid until Dec. 31, 2013, and then ignore that agreement."

After Monday night's meeting, Miles said the annexation of the property had "nothing to do with" the sales tax deal.

Still, before the vote, Miles went through the criteria necessary for annexation as outlined in the special purpose local option sales tax arrangement.

"As part of the SPLOST agreement, we agreed to a resolution where we would consider certain criteria before we annexed outside of that zone," Miles said. "And that's what they just did tonight."

Per the agreement, certain criteria must be met in order for the city to annex a portion of the county.

Those include whether the city is able to provide emergency and other services, including sewer, water and solid waste disposal.

The council agreed that, with the exception of sewer, the criteria could be met and therefore the property was eligible for annexation.

In the objection letter, delivered to Mayor Joe Lane Cox on June 27, Homans stated that "(t)he City's Resolution regarding the criteria to apply to potential annexations of property into the City's corporate limits does not justify this annexation."

Homans added that "the property that is the subject of proposed annexation is not located within the area identified for annexation within the Intergovernmental Agreement for SPLOST V between Dawson County and the City of Dawsonville dated Aug. 28, 2007."