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Hall County, Oakwood at odds over proposed annexation
Governments will take issue into arbitration
Holiday Heights Drive in the Holiday Heights subdivision could be included in the proposed annexation and rezoning of the neighborhood. - photo by Tom Reed

Hall County and the city of Oakwood will take their dispute over annexation into arbitration next month.

At the request of property owners, Oakwood is looking to annex and rezone five parcels in the Holiday Heights subdivision off of McEver and Mundy Mill roads. Hall County has formally opposed the annexation.

Hall County Planning Director Randy Knighton said the arbitration will be conducted by a five-member panel selected by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

"That is a mechanism by which annexations can be heard and or potentially resolved," Knighton said.

The arbitration panel ultimately will decide how the conflict should be resolved — either by approving or denying that the annexation is reasonable and valid or by striking a compromise between the two parties, Knighton said.

An appeal of the panel’s decision must be brought before Superior Court.

Two neighborhood property owners hope to rezone their land from residential to office professional and convert the homes into offices, a move that has drawn ire from the rest of the neighborhood.

Holiday Heights resident Lisa Harris has organized a group of about 70 homeowners who are fighting the annexation request because they want to keep businesses out of their neighborhood.

"I’m very hopeful that the county will be successful in stopping this proposal," Harris said. "Even small-scale offices would have a significant impact on the rest of the subdivision."

Dian Herring, who has lived in her Holiday Heights home since the mid-1970s, said she is not taking the potential rezoning lightly.

"We’ve paid for an attorney," Herring said. "To come into the neighborhood and take homes to call them offices is ridiculous."

Knighton said the county has heard opposition to Oakwood’s annexation from many neighborhood residents.

"Those issues, land use, zoning, encroachment, are certainly important in the county’s view of this and, in some part, form the basis of our objection," Knighton said.

Oakwood Planning Director Larry Sparks said the city believes the type of businesses that would potentially locate in the Holiday Heights houses — law offices, accounting firms and the like — would create little disturbance to the residential area.

"We thought the office professional (zoning) was kind of a transition area because of where it’s located on the cul-de-sac," Sparks said. "There are limits on what can be put in there. ... It’s not commercial development."