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27 May 2016

County Staff Finds No Reason to Stop Annexation Proposals by Union City, College Park, & Atlanta

South Fulton cityhood advocates knew this day was coming.

It's the day when many annexation petitions, submitted to various cities by property owners and registered voters, would come before the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

For those wanting to create a new city called South Fulton, they hoped staff in the Fulton County Planning and Community Services Department would find a legal reason to stop other cities from annexing land. They didn't.

Georgia law says Fulton County can only object to annexation requests because of a material increase in burden upon the county directly related to any one or more of the following: (1) The proposed change in zoning or land use; (2) Proposed increase in density; and (3) Infrastructure demands related to the proposed change in zoning or land use.

Fulton County Planning and Community Services staff reviewed the annexation requests from Union City, College Park, and Atlanta. The verdict was the same on page after page.

Staff has found no basis upon which to file a valid objection and seeks the Board's approval to notify the cities of Atlanta, College Park, and Union City accordingly.

Cityhood proponents fear too much annexation of unincorporated south Fulton County could doom their hopes to create the City of South Fulton. And their fears do have merit.

Dr. Peter Bluestone, the man who authored the report declaring South Fulton financially viable, told Georgia Unfiltered there's no way to say if the proposed city would remain viable following large scale annexation of valuable properties by other localities.

"You really have to look at these things with the numbers, and they haven't been presented to me," Dr. Bluestone said. "It may be possible. There's just no way to say if they annex this much property, then it doesn't work. If they don't, then it does."

These annexation proposals by Union City, College Park, and Atlanta amount to 649 acres.

Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington, who supports creating a new City of South Fulton, says he believes the proposed government will still work even in the face of such a large annexation.

Arrington, nevertheless, opposes the annexations. He plans on voting no on any commercial annexation that comes before the Fulton County Commission.

"I'm voting no to any commercial annexation before June 30th," Commissioner Arrington wrote in an email exchange with Georgia Unfiltered. "I don't believe it's fair to the new city."

Fulton County Commissioners are expected to take up the Atlanta, College Park, and Union City annexation petitions at their 1 June 2016 meeting.