Atlanta Wooing South Fulton Business Owners to Annex before Deadline
(APN) ATLANTA — City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is reaching out to business owners in unincorporated south Fulton County to discuss with them the time-sensitive possibility of annexing into the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
Reed mailed a letter en masse to business owners in unincorporated south Fulton on April 01, 2016, a copy of which was obtained by APN.
With the Georgia Legislature having passed HB 514 earlier this year, creating an upcoming November 2016 referendum on the creation of a new City of South Fulton, any annexations into an existing south Fulton City now have to take place by June 30, 2016.
This is a critical moment in the history of Atlanta’s development as a city: Since its incorporation in 1847, the City of Atlanta has continuously grown southward, by pursuing annexations, including, most recently, in 2015, the South Oak community, and, in 2006, the neighborhood where then-State Sen. Kasim Reed lived.
Today, the City faces the prospect of now being landlocked to the south/southwest, should the City of South Fulton become a reality.
Notwithstanding any communities joining Atlanta by the June 30 deadline, this could be the end of Atlanta’s geographic growth in a southward direction. [Similar cityhood trends in DeKalb County could eventually bring an end to Atlanta’s eastward growth as well.]
The proposed City of South Fulton looks more like a gerrymandered House district than a city, the result of being comprised of everything left incorporated in south Fulton County, following the cherry-picking from cities like Union City, East Point, College Park, Chattahoochee Hills, and Atlanta.
Two annexation petitions are still pending for Loch Lomond and Sandtown, APN confirmed with City spokesperson Jenna Garland. Those petitions were submitted nearly two years ago, and there appears to be some issue with them, presumably an inadequate number of valid signatures.
The City, which is responsible for verifying that the petitions meet the legal requirements for annexation, has no deadline to process those petitions, and it is not immediately clear whether they will be processed by the deadline.
The letter read as follows:
“Dear Property Owner, I’m writing to inform you of the passage of House Bill 514 (“HB 514″) during the 2015-16 Georgia General Assembly. HB 514 calls for a referendum on the incorporation of a new City of South Fulton within the remaining area of unincorporated Fulton County,” Reed wrote.
“Your property may be in this proposed area. On November 8, 2016, residents in the proposed area will vote on the creation of the City of South Fulton,” Reed wrote.
“As a commercial/industrial property-owner in the proposed area, you do not have the right to vote in the upcoming referendum unless you also reside in the proposed area,” Reed wrote.
“The City of Atlanta has maintained an open door policy of welcoming property owners and residents who are interested in annexing into Atlanta city limits,” Reed wrote.
“We are extending an opportunity for you to discuss the option of annexing into the City of Atlanta should you oppose being incorporated into the new City of South Fulton,” Reed wrote.
“HB 514 sets a deadline for annexation by June 30, 2016. This deadline presents a limited timeframe for property owners who do not wish to become a part of the new City of South Fulton to petition for annexation into a current city,” Reed wrote.
“After that, no further annexation may occur unless the referendum fails. If the referendum passes, your property will be in the new City of South Fulton,” Reed wrote.
“Our annexation team is available to speak with you before April 15th regarding any interest in annexing into the City of Atlanta prior to June 30, 2016,” Reed wrote.
“If you have concerns regarding the potential incorporation, please contact Megan Middleton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-330-6361 and/or Gabrielle Sanders email@example.com or 404-330-6504 to arrange a time to meet with City of Atlanta staff members within the next two weeks,” Reed wrote.
Garland added that the City would allow the letter speak for itself.