Georgia Unfiltered

Search This Site

20 May 2016

Atlanta to Annex 57 Acres of APS-Owned Property Before 1 July Deadline, School Board Member Says

Near Cascade Road and Research Center Drive, next to the Wal Mart and Home Depot, sits 57.6 acres of undeveloped land valued at $2,446,200.

Atlanta Public Schools owns this 57.6 acre property, but the land is not within Atlanta's city limits. This APS-owned land, adjacent to Mays High School, is located in unincorporated south Fulton County. If south Fulton becomes a city in November, this Atlanta-owned property might be incorporated into the proposed city's borders.

However, that isn't likely to happen, according to Atlanta School Board member Steven Lee.

Lee, who represents the area, says, "Given the deadline in the law, we are moving forward with making a request to the city for annexation."

House Bill 514, the so-called city of South Fulton bill, contains a 1 July 2016 deadline for municipalities such as Atlanta to complete annexation requests filed by property owners and registered voters who would rather be in an established city instead of a newly-created start-up city.

Any land not annexed by 1 July will be included in the boundaries of the proposed city of South Fulton.

Interestingly enough, by bringing Atlanta Public Schools' property into the city, Atlanta could trigger a rarely used legal provision that would result in Atlanta gaining more residents as well.

State law prohibits unincorporated islands; that is land bounded on all four sides by one or more cities, but not inside a city itself.

If Atlanta follows through with annexing the 57.6 acre Atlanta Public Schools land, the two parcels (shown right) next door would be surrounded on all sides by the city, forcing Atlanta to annex that property too.

(Atlanta Public Schools owns 57.6 acres, shaded in red, that is currently unincorporated. The annexation of this land would almost certainly result in the property to the north, along Benjamin E. Mays Drive, being annexed by Atlanta as well. Image courtesy Fulton County GIS. )
The Georgia Municipal Association publication, "Growing Cities, Growing Georgia: A Guide to Georgia's Annexation Law," says state law authorizes the unilateral annexation of unincorporated islands.

A city only needs to send a letter to the property owner, telling them of the planned annexation, before the adoption of an annexation ordinance.