Acworth decides not to proceed with annexation plans
by Megan Thornton
May 30, 2013 12:19 AM | 3427 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood works the crowd of 270 attendees before delivering the State of the City address Thursday at NorthStar Church during a meeting of the Acworth Business Association.<br>Staff/Noreen Cochran
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood works the crowd of 270 attendees before delivering the State of the City address Thursday at NorthStar Church during a meeting of the Acworth Business Association.
Staff/Noreen Cochran
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In a complete reversal, the Acworth mayor and Board of Aldermen decided to rescind an ordinance annexing 105 parcels of unincorporated Cobb County approved earlier this month.

At a special meeting called Tuesday night, the board also unanimously approved waiving another proposed annexation of 66 properties that was to be considered during the planning and zoning commission meeting later that night.

“The mayor and the board have heard and taken into account many (citizen) comments and information concerning island annexations during this past month,” Mayor Tommy Allegood said.

Despite the decision, Allegood said the city reserves the right to consider island annexations in the future, meaning the city will continue to look at the possibility of taking in areas that are not in Acworth but are almost or fully surrounded by properties already within the city. These parcels are referred to as “islands.”

The areas affected by the repeal of the annexation were along Hickory Grove Road and New McEver Road. The withdrawn petition to annex included properties on Acworth Due West Road, Nance Road, South Main Street and Blue Springs Road.

In a certified letter sent to affected landowners April 2, the notice states that these “islands of land” would be brought into the city limits in order to better deliver services.

The meeting adjourned after about two minutes and there was no discussion among the aldermen.

After the meeting, Allegood said the decision was based on new information he and the board had received.

“We just said we are not quite ready to move forward with this action,” he said.

Allegood said city staff is doing more research and would be ready to further comment within the next week.

“We’re going to sometime probably look at this again in the future but not any time soon,” he said.

No pending litigation

Allegood said the decision was not based on any pending litigation, but came from comments made during the May 2 meeting by property owners who raised questions and concerns about new state laws governing island annexations.

“It was information that was within the Georgia law that created some concern,” Allegood said. “So we are going to rescind the vote and wait until we get better clarification.

“Some of the comments we received challenged us to go back and look at the law and, at this time, we’re kind of in a due-diligence period and we want to further study and understand annexation laws passed by the state Legislature.”

He added that although the May 2 meeting was “rather contentious” with about 12 people speaking out against the annexation, the decision was based more on the substance of the residents’ comments than on their opposition to annexation.

Christine Dobbs, community development director, said all affected property owners were initially notified by mail of the annexation. The residents will be notified of the reversed decision via mail, she said.

Property owners surprised by reversal

The annexation approved May 2 would have become official on June 1.

Allegood said the property owners were not informed in advance of the decision and would be “very surprised” by the reversal — an assumption that proved correct.

Alene Henson, who lives just north of North Cobb High School next to the Summer Springs subdivision and owned part of the targeted properties, attended both the special meeting and the subsequent planning and zoning meeting and said city officials would not explain why the decision was made, only that she would receive a letter in the mail.

“They should not leave us hanging like that,” she said.

Despite her frustration, Henson said she was happy about the reversal because as a senior citizen living on a fixed income, she’s not interested in another tax bill.

“I’ve lived here 55 years and they just don’t have anything to offer me,” Henson said of Acworth. “We have Cobb County utilities and water. They of course were stressing better police protection but you can’t get much better than Cobb (Police Department).”

 

Comments
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May 31, 2013
Hmmm...Mayor and Board vote to annex the properties despite the property owners' pleas and requests for the annexation to be denied. Then all of a sudden the Mayor and Board decide to reverse their decision??? Sounds to me like the City Manager either failed to provide all information from the beginning or City Manager received correspondence from a property owner's legal council... Knowing Bulthuis and his inability to face confrontation he probably advised the Mayor and Board to reverse their decision to prevent legal issues and negative exposure to the City. Another case where the City of Acworth is controlled by the City Manager not the elected officials! Glad the end result was in favor for the property owners... just a shame not for the right reasons.
Citizen_Rogue
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May 30, 2013
I highly suspect that the City has discovered that this attempt @ island annexation violates O.C.G.A. § 36-36-4 which prohibits the formation of any new unincorporated islands. The law which went into effect in 1991, would allow ONLY islands formed BEFORE that date to be annexed by the island method. Such a shame that they put so many elderly citizens thru the stress of dealing with this possibility...all to increase their tax base. Shame on Tommy Allegood!! Kudos to Butch Price, the only alderman to vote AGAINST this preposterous idea.
Just Wait
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May 30, 2013
Usually, a city does not listen to it's own citizens. It is amazing that Acworth chose to listen to people who did not want to become citizens of their city. Good going!
Citizen_Rogue
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June 11, 2013
This was not a case of Acworth listening to anyone! It was merely a case of the City being caught in a situation where they KNEW they were WRONG!!
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