City of Atlanta likely to Annex Loch Lomond after Petitions Verified
(APN) ATLANTA — The Loch Lomond community in south Fulton County, 271 acres in size, is likely to be annexed by the City of Atlanta, after the City’s Municipal Clerk and Law Department verified the petitions submitted by the community to join the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
A public hearing on 16-O-1189, an ordinance by Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11), whose District 11 neighbors the new area, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, 2016, during the Atlanta Council’s Finance/Executive Cmte Meeting, at 1 p.m.
The public hearing will be the last step before the ordinance can come before the City Council for a vote. As with other annexation-related matters, it will likely pass the Council unanimously.
If successful, the annexation will meet an upcoming June 30, 2016 deadline for south Fulton County annexations.
As previously reported by APN, any south Fulton County annexations must take place before that date for those neighborhoods not to be included in the proposed map for the City of South Fulton that will be that subject of a November 2016 referendum.
“I am pleased to inform you that the Loch Lomond Estates petition for annexation into the City of Atlanta’s city limits… is hereby validated pursuant to the 60% method of annexation,” Municipal Clerk Rhonda Dauphin Johnson wrote in a letter to Mary Harris, Project Coordinator for the Loch Lomond Estates Homeowners Association, in a letter dated April 18, 2016, obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.
“In accordance with State Law, the 60% method of annexation requires signatures of both 60% of the registered voters and owners of 60% of the land acreage, within any mapped area requesting annexation into a city,” Dauphin Johnson wrote.
“My office has verified that the Loch Lomond Estates annexation petition was signed by 62.3% of registered voters in the mapped petition area,” she wrote.
“Additionally, the City’s Finance and Planning departments have verified that the petitions own 60.5% of the acreage in the mapped area, and that the mapped petition area is sufficiently contiguous to existing city limits,” she wrote.
“As the point of contact for the… Petition… you will be provided a schedule of related meetings when those dates are determined. Also, at a later date, the Service Delivery Plan outlining city services for Loch Lomond Estates will be prepared and provided to you,” she wrote.
At first Loch Lomond did not succeed when it attempted to annex in 2014.
However, the community re-submitted petitions on April 01, 2015. APN obtained a copy of those petitions through an Open Records Act request in 2015.
On April 15, 2015, the City of Atlanta notified Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves (District 7).
While several Board Members expressed opposition to the annexation–especially based on concerns raised by parents who did not want their school children to be re-districted into Atlanta Independent School District–a motion to oppose the annexation by Chairman Eaves failed.
Under current Georgia law, counties lack authority to oppose annexation on any basis other than land use changes. Many other states allow, or require, consideration of the impact on the county.
Opponents of annexation from several south Fulton communities spoke at a May 18, 2015 Full Council Meeting, at which time Councilwoman Bottoms informed them that she would be keeping them in her prayers.
The petitions have been with the Clerk’s Office and various City Departments for review for approximately one year, and there is no deadline for this review in current State law.
As previously reported by APN, the City of Atlanta has quietly approved several annexations over the year, including Edmund Park in DeKalb County, parts of East Lake in DeKalb County, and South Oaks in South Fulton.
It is part of a land grab that has been spurred on by the cityhood movements in both Fulton and DeKalb Counties that began with the 2005 incorporation of Sandy Springs. If the City of South Fulton is approved, there will be nothing remaining unincorporated in Fulton County.
Earlier this month, Mayor Kasim Reed also sent a letter trying to woo business owners in the Fulton Industrial area to join the City of Atlanta before the deadline.
The Sandtown petition is still pending.
Loch Lomond, Sandtown, South Oak, and Fulton Industrial were among the neighborhoods that were included in annexation legislation introduced by State Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) in 2015; however, the legislation did not advance.