Commissioners reaffirm position on city annexation

Board of Commissioners, City Council, News

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga – In  March 2020, Fannin County Commissioners issued a letter of opposition regarding the city of Blue Ridge’s proposed annexation. Three months later, little has changed.

At the end of the June 1 called meeting, Post Two Commissioner Glenn Patterson took a moment to discuss the highly contested topic. He asked people to keep an open mind, but at this time, he opposes the measure.

Patterson added that he spoke with several members of the community, including a few who support it. However, most people were against the annexation of Hwy 5 and Hwy 515.

“I just feel like it wouldn’t be the right thing,” said Patterson. “I don’t see in looking at it that it would be the right thing for the county to do so.”

Post One Earl Johnson affirmed that it’s too early to even form a complete opinion either for or against. The commissioners haven’t received an annexation proposal from the city.

“I think until we see anything on paper, or in black and white, it’s going to hard for any of us to come to a conclusion on anything. I think that cart’s still way before the horse in my opinion,” stated Johnson.

Chairman Stan Helton had no comment on this issue.

At the May 26 commission meeting, Fannin resident Donna Thompson addressed the board about annexation. She supported the commissioners’ decision to oppose it.

“We saw firsthand how uncontrolled growth can destroy a community in a very short period of time,” explained Thompson. “When you talk about two developments that are highly dense…how is that going to be handled in terms of transportation, traffic control, accident response, general safety monitoring, etc? These things do impact the county.”

Thompson wasn’t against people earning a living, but residential developers focused on upscale housing, then some residents will be left out of the picture. She requested that the county and city consider the residents of Blue Ridge before making a decision based on furthering the tourism industry.

Blue Ridge City Council held a public town hall on Monday, June 1 at 5 p.m. The annexation currently sits in the hopper at the General Assembly for representatives and senators to vote on. If the city wants to rescind the measure, they must vote again and inform Speaker of the House David Ralston and Senator Steve Gooch.

The city chose the local act of General Assembly process for this proposed annexation. According to the Georgia Municipal Association, the procedure must follow these steps:

“In addition to annexation by home rule, the Georgia General Assembly may change a municipality’s boundaries and annex property into the municipal limits by enacting local legislation. Where more than 50% of an area proposed for annexation by local act is “used for residential purposes” and the number of residents to be annexed exceeds 3% of the city’s current population or 500 people, whichever is less, a referendum on annexation must be held in the area to be annexed. “Used for residential purposes” means that the property is a lot or tract five acres or less in size on which is constructed a habitable dwelling unit (O.C.G.A. § 36-36-16).

Land can also be deannexed from a city by the legislature. Note that the introduction of a local act of the General Assembly must be preceded by notice to the municipality affected and advertisement in the newspaper (O.C.G.A. § 28-1-4).”

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