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06 May 2016

Two More South Fulton Communities Opt for Atlanta Annexation Over Creating a New City

State Senator Donzella James (D - College Park) likes to tell folks that her constituents want to create a new city called South Fulton.

But as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words -- and if the recent actions of local communities are any guide, the prospect of being in a newly created city has some south Fulton residents exploring other alternatives, namely annexation.

At the 2 May 2016 Atlanta City Council meeting, district 11 representative Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced two ordinances that would annex Cascade Falls and Martin's Park into Atlanta.

Both ordinances were referred to the Finance/Executive Committee.

In addition, Bottoms introduced a series of placeholder annexation ordinances, hinting that more communities may choose Atlanta over the proposed city of South Fulton.

City of South Fulton advocates say Atlanta is using "stiff-arm tactics" to push through annexation.

"Tactics include anonymous robo calls, which gives false and misinformation about Cityhood, scare tactics to seniors about property taxes, and city initiated neighborhood meetings (according to residents), in violation of annexation laws," reads a pro-city of South Fulton press release sent from campaign offices located, ironically, in the City of College Park. "Citizens are pressured to sign annexation petitions on site."

Under existing state 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.

To date, property owners and registered voters in Loch Lomond, Sandtown, Cascade Falls, Martin's Park, and about 135 acres near the City of Chattahoochee Hills have requested annexation via the 60% method.

Property owners and registered voters have until 1 July 2016 to annex out of the proposed city of South Fulton.

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%.