View Mobile Site

Gainesville City Council OKs 'islands' annexations

POSTED: July 16, 2013 6:00 p.m.

After voting to annex 115 mostly commercial “island” properties, Gainesville City Council members turned their attention Tuesday to eventually annexing some 400 remaining residential island properties.

The council first voted 4-1 to annex the commercial properties, then voted 4-1 to direct city staff to work on an annexation proposal for the remaining properties. In each move, George Wangemann was the lone nay vote.

Councilman Bob Hamrick made the impromptu motion to pursue the remaining properties.

“I would encourage staff to proceed immediately on this and have them annexed by the end of the year,” he said.

There was no other discussion on either measure.

The council did hear opposition on the commercial annexations from one audience member, Mike Holland of Holland Wrecker Service, 2509 Browns Bridge Road.

“I would ask you to vote against it or, if possible, table it,” he told council members.

An island property is land in unincorporated Hall County that is surrounded by property that is within the city limits. City officials have said annexation would help clean up boundaries and set clear zoning standards in gateway corridors and commercial areas.

The council started the process in November, but the county filed an objection with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. An arbitration panel sided with the city in March.

The city also has changed its local annexation ordinance, which reduced the city’s advertising requirements to what state law mandates.

The islands annexation issue has lingered for years, dating to at least 2008, when city officials began targeting 560 such residential and commercial property owners.

City officials have long maintained the move would help “clean up” the city’s borders and make it easier to provide local services, particularly public safety.

By law, “if there is an island property that was created after 1991 — which there are a few — we can’t annex those into the city,” said Rusty Ligon, the city’s planning director.

“We started this process several years ago and we limited it tonight to commercial properties,” Hamrick said after the meeting.

“Initially, the thought was we would not only clear up the boundaries, but we would also ensure that property is properly identified, whether it was inside (the city), and which public safety officers would respond,” he added.

Wangemann has maintained opposition to the annexations, calling them “taxation without representation.”

“I don’t believe in forcing anybody to do something that is against their will,” he said after the meeting. “I have a real problem with that.”

Wangemann added later: “Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s my opinion we did the wrong thing the first go-round and the second time it’s wrong as well. I hope that, as a result of this experience, it will give a little more clear thought to what we’re doing.”

Holland said after the meeting he also was disappointed.

“We just didn’t have the turnout to go against it,” he said. “It’s one of those things, but we spoke what we wanted to.”

Both Hamrick and Wangemann agreed on at least one thing concerning islands: Residential annexations could provoke a public reaction.

“I’m sure there will be comments made,” Hamrick said.

Wangemann said, “I actually anticipate a lot more opposition. I expect at least half a roomful, if not a roomful (at council meetings).”


Contents of this site are © Copyright 2010 The Times, Gainesville, GA. All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...