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28 April 2016

Governor Deal Signs City of South Fulton Bill, Giving Residents Until 1 July to Complete Annexations

Residents in unincorporated south Fulton County will have another chance to create the city of South Fulton.

But before the November referendum on cityhood takes place, property owners and registered voters who would prefer an existing city to a new city will have an opportunity to annex out of the proposed city of South Fulton.

House Bill 514, the so-called city of South Fulton bill, was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal (R - Georgia) on 26 April 2016.

The bill takes effect 1 July 2016, and reads, "The boundaries of the City of South Fulton shall include all unincorporated areas of Fulton County, including the Fulton County Industrial District, as such exist on July 1, 2016."

Essentially this means that people who don't want to be in a new city of South Fulton can exercise their right to file petitions with nearby cities, requesting annexation.

Under existing Georgia law, there are two ways for property owners and registered voters to file an annexation petition -- 1.) the 100% method, which requires one-hundred percent of landowners to request annexation; and 2.) the 60% method, which requires sixty percent of landowners and sixty percent of registered voters to request annexation.

Two south Fulton County communities --Loch Lomond and Sandtown-- have requested Atlanta annex them using the 60% method. Both of those annexation requests are currently pending before the Atlanta City Council.

Any land not annexed by 1 July 2016 will be included in the proposed boundaries of the city of South Fulton, and voters in those areas will have an opportunity to say "yay" or "nay" to cityhood.

The November 2016 referendum on cityhood marks the second time residents in unincorporated south Fulton County have voted on the issue. The first cityhood referendum, held in 2007, failed by a margin of 85% - 15%.