Saturday November 28th, 2015 1:28PM

Gainesville Planning and Appeals says no to 'island' annexations

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville's Planning and Appeals Board turned down the city's request to annex 115 unincorporated 'island' properties Tuesday morning during a called meeting at the Justice Center.

Community Development Director Rusty Ligon told the Board the city wants to annex unincorporated properties along Gainesville's gateway corridors as well as island properties that have a commercial use or are commercially zoned. Ligon said annexation would better define the city boundary. It would also streamline response by police and fire department emergency services.

Board members heard from business owners who told them the resulting tax increase from the annexation would cause them a hardship and was not fair, since they would be annexed with no say-so. Under state law, cities have the authority to annex all or any part of unincorporated islands within their limits.

John Jones with Office Pros on Browns Bridge Road said his taxes would go up and claim half his profits.

"We don't have a choice in the matter. I don't live in the city and we can't vote so we have no representation," Jones said. "It's sort of like European government, redistribution with no voice in the matter."

Kenneth Neidenbach, owner of Village Pets on Browns Bridge, said he's expecting another $150 a year in taxes.

"I can't afford it. I cannot afford a tax increase," he said.

A motion from board member John Snyder to approve the city's request died for lack of a second.

"I think its inevitable that eventually all these pockets are going to close up with a request to come into the city," Snyder said. "I think this is a way this can be done at one time and it's fair and equitable."

A motion from Jane Fleming to deny the request drew a 6-1 yes vote. She said she lives in the city by choice but the 'island' property holders do not.

"It's a bad time to ask more from small businesses and to raise their taxes," she said. "I don't want to force these people to come in."

Board member Dexter Stanley compared the request to a forced marriage and said he was opposed to it.

"An arranged marriage or a forced marriage is wrong, it's unethical," Stanley said. "Therefore I can't support this."

City Council takes up its own annexation request at their meeting Tuesday afternoon at 5:30.

Watch for an update on the annexation issue following Tuesday's Gainesville City Council meeting.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fiscal cliff may determine gas prices at start of 2013
Retail gas prices climb as 2012 comes to end. While gas prices are likely to rise into next year, whether or not a deal is made to avoid the fiscal cliff will determine if prices continue on an upward trend.
6:18AM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Suspect in Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado called loner who left few clues about motive
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A loner from North Carolina who liked to spend time in his mountain cabin and avoided eye contact with neighbors was in custody Saturday after police said he opened fire...
12:57PM ( 30 minutes ago )
IRS phone scammers are making calls again in Hall Co.
Hall County authorities say there's been a resurgence of phone calls from scammers posing as IRS agents.
11:59AM ( 1 hour ago )
Molly the Firehouse Dog brings smiles to first responders, hospital patients
Molly is a well-known face around the Hall County Fire Department and Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where she serves to comfort others during times of stress.
10:26AM ( 3 hours ago )
Gainesville runoff election is Tuesday
A runoff election for a seat on the Gainesville City Council will be held Tuesday.
9:15AM ( 4 hours ago )
Deadline to sponsor Wreaths Across America at Alta Vista is Monday
Each holiday season, veteran grave sites at Alta Vista cemetery in Gainesville are adorned with wreaths as part of Wreaths Across America.
3:42PM ( 21 hours ago )