A vote on the annexation of Emory University and surrounding entities into the city of Atlanta will be delayed, a top city official says.
Melissa Mullinax, senior adviser to Mayor Kasim Reed, said a Department of Community Affairs arbitration panel will be named in the next few days to reconcile the differences between city of Atlanta zoning and DeKalb County zoning.
She said the five-person panel will include two current or former county officials not from DeKalb, two current or former city officials not from Atlanta and an academic expert in planning and land use.
The panel will have to hold hearings and issue a ruling within 60 days of being seated, she said. That means a City Council vote on the annexation planned for Sept. 5 won’t happen.
The 744 acre annexation proposal also includes petitions from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Power, Villa International, Synod of South Atlantic & Presbyterian Church (USA) Inc. and the Centers for Disease Control. The county filed its formal objection to the petition earlier this month, citing a state law that allows counties to object to annexations under certain circumstances.
Emory’s pursuit of annexation is widely viewed as an effort to move forward with the Clifton Corridor Light Rail Project that would link MARTA’s Lindbergh and Avondale Stations and would service the Emory area. In November, Atlanta voters overwhelmingly approved a sales tax to expand MARTA.