Tuesday October 13th, 2015 3:08AM

Arbitrators rule in favor of Gainesville in annexation dispute

By Ken Stanford Reporter
GAINESVILLE - City officials are keeping quiet, citing ongoing litigation, but an arbitration panel has ruled in favor of Gainesville in a dispute with Hall County over plans by the city to annex 115 pieces of property.

This is the so-called "islands" annexation which goes back to last fall, and involves tracts surrounded by the city, ranging in size from .07 acre to 11.8 acres. And, it is not the first time recent years that such a dispute has erupted. The earlier one occurred in 2008. (See earlier stories.)

State law allows for the annexation of such properties without the consent of the owners.

Frank Jenkins III, the Cartersville attorney representing the city of Gainesville before arbitrators this week, said he is pleased with the decision.

"At the conclusion of the mediation, or arbitration, the panel said that they thought the zoning desingations made by the city were appropriate and therefore, they did not recommend any changes to those designations," said Jenkins. "Of course, on behalf of the city, we're very pleased that they found that what we had identified as the proper zoning was in fact what the panel found."

Jenkins confirmed that the county has 10 days to appeal the ruling of the five-member arbitration panel. He said the city is waiting at this point to see how the county will respond.

The county issued a statement Thursday morning saying it will continue to monitor the issue and determine if further action is needed.

"The Hall County Commission feels very strongly that the City of Gainesville's proposal to annex 115 parcels into the city limits was significant enough to warrant Commission action based upon various factors related to the annexation request itself and inquiries from property owners who conveyed concerns about their property being annexed into the city of Gainesville," the statement said. "As a result, the Hall County Commission filed a formal action objecting to the annexation proposal late last year.

The statement goes on to say the County Commission "firmly believes in the property rights of its citizens and believes citizens impacted by this annexation proposal should have had a voice in deciding whether or not they are annexed into the City of Gainesville. In this particular case, a number of property owners expressed their dissent at being forcibly annexed into the city. It was the County Commission's duty and responsibility to explore measures to remedy the matter and represent the interests of these Hall County citizens."

"While we respect the decision of the arbitration panel and understand their review was limited to certain factors pertaining to the annexation request, we do believe there is a fundamental disconnect when cities have the ability to annex certain property and property owners without their consent or approval," County Administrator Randy Knighton added.

County Attorney Bill Blalock said the panel did not consider any procedural positions the county took, saying it didn't have jursidiction to consider it.

"That is, whether or not the city followed their own zoning ordinance in proceeding with the annexation."

"They did not give much credance to the fact that there were many conflicts between the county's future land use map and what the city was proposing as zoning with regard to its annexation," Blalock added.

He said what's next for the county depends on what the city does.

"We don't know exactly what their intentions are."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Medicaid growth creates gap of 5M without coverage; 409K in Ga.
About 5 million people will be without health care next year that they would have gotten simply if they lived somewhere else in America.
7:30AM ( 1 year ago )
Vandals spray graffiti against Kerry in West Bank
Suspected Jewish vandals set fire to three vehicles in a West Bank village early on Tuesday and sprayed threatening graffiti referring to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of his expected visit to the region, police said.
7:28AM ( 1 year ago )
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Asian stock markets lower as weakness in Chinese trade persists
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were lower Tuesday as China's trade data showed a larger-than-expected slide in imports, deepening concerns about slowdown in the world's second-largest e...
11:51PM ( 3 hours ago )
Judge sets trial date in hot-SUV death case for February
A judge ruled on Monday that she won't try charges that a Georgia man accused in his son's death had inappropriate online exchanges with an underage girl separately from murder charges against him.
4:39PM ( 10 hours ago )
Student arrested in alleged shooting threat at Ga college
A student from Emory University's Oxford College is facing charges after allegedly posting a threat on social media to shoot up the school.
4:32PM ( 10 hours ago )
Kubota celebrates; Georgia prospers; GPD/HCFD go 4-wheeling
Governor Nathan Deal may have let the “cat-out-of-the-bag” Monday morning when he told over 1,000 Kubota Manufacturing of America employees, as well as scores of area civic and business leaders, “In the not-too-distant future, we’re going to have an announcement…from one of the major rating agencies in the country, that for the third consecutive year Georgia will be named the best state in the United States in which to do business.”
1:33PM ( 13 hours ago )
Police: Bicyclist dies after collision with school bus
Police say a bicyclist injured in a collision with a school bus north of Atlanta has died of his injuries.
By Associated Press
12:06PM ( 15 hours ago )