City moves forward on annexation

Mon, 06/26/2006 - 8:18am
By: Ben Nelms

Union City officials moved forward with the annexation of unincorporated islands June 20, holding 28 public hearings to consider the rezoning and annexation of a portion of those islands. There was only minor opposition to the moves that had been requested earlier in the year by Fulton County.

All of the properties, 15 tracts totaling nearly 53 acres, were annexed with few of the affected property owners attending the hearings. During the process, many of the zoning classifications were changed to those allowing less dense future development, coinciding with a request by concerned city residents at earlier meetings.

The most outspoken of the affected property owners was Carter Hamilton. As he had done in a previous meeting, Hamilton asked not be annexed into the city. Carter said he had been satisfied with being a resident of unincorporated Fulton and could not see any advantage to being annexed.

“I’m not bothering anybody and I don’t want anybody bothering me,” Hamilton said. “How will it benefit me?”

There was no response.

Nearly all the votes for rezoning and annexation of the many tracts were unanimous. One of the exceptions was the vote on Hamilton’s property, where the vote was 3-1. Council member Helen Turner voted against the measures.

Some residents of unincorporated islands said they were under the impression that they had no choice but to be annexed. When the topic surfaced at the June 20 meeting, Planning Director Ann Lippman clarified the issue, saying that annexations are allowed by the state and that annexations of unincorporated islands had been requested by Fulton County.

As occurred at the May 30 Planning Commission meeting, several residents from the city’s north side took the podium to express concerns. Those concerns centered more on the potential ramifications of rezoning and annexation. Using the occasion to have a voice they say is largely disregarded by the mayor and council, the small number of homeowners held to their request that any zoning that would lead to increased density along the already densely packed High Point Road be avoided.

Hearings on the proposed rezoning and annexations of the remainder of the city’s unincorporated islands will continue in coming weeks. Though they are not supposed to be formed in the first place, unincorporated islands are not unique to Union City. Addressing the issue, and in light of the potential incorporation of four new cities in Fulton County in 2006 and 2007, the county had asked existing cities to consider annexing islands that exist within their municipalities.

The rezoning and annexations had been recommended earlier in the month by the city’s Planning Commission.

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