By Mariann Martin, contributor
An arbitration panel created to hear objections about the proposed annexation of Emory University and surrounding properties unanimously voted to approve an agreement between DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta.
The approval cleared the way for the 744-acre annexation to move forward, with the possibility of it going into effect as early as Dec. 1.
The 5-member panel met at City Hall Thursday morning to adopt the agreement and sign it. The panel did not discuss the agreement in a meeting that lasted only about 10 minutes.
The city’s finance/executive committee will consider the proposed annexation as early as their next meeting on Nov. 15, according to Melissa Mullinax, senior advisor to Mayor Kasim Reed.
If passed by the finance committee, it will head to the full city council, which meets on Nov. 20. Mullinax said they do not anticipate any opposition from the city council.
The annexation would go into effect the first day of the month following its approval, Mullinax said.
“We are thrilled welcome these institutions into the city,” she said.
The annexation includes Emory, University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Centers for Disease Control. Those entities, as well as Georgia Power, Villa International and Synod of South Atlantic & Presbyterian Church (USA) Inc. had all petitioned to allow the annexation to move forward.
However, DeKalb County had objected to the annexation, filing a formal objection challenging the proposal
The arbitration panel mediated between the county and the city to come up with the agreement, and the DeKalb County Commission approved a settlement agreement on Sept. 26.
Under the terms of the agreement:
- The city will adopt the county’s zoning classifications and requirements for the annexed area and receive written approval from the county for any changes. Four members of the county commission, including one of the two commissioners representing the annexed area, must agree with any changes in the zoning ordinance. The Druid Hills Historic District within the annexed area will continue as part of the city’s Druid Hills Historic District. The city agrees to adopt a written policy that requires a rational basis for any future annexations within 250 feet of the annexed area.
- The county will provide water and sewer services and storm water services to the annexed areas as well as collect fees for such services. The county will continue to provide fire services in exchange for an annual payment of $1 million for two to 10 years for a total payment of $10,250,000. The county may terminate the fire service agreement after two years.
- The city will notify all proposed real estate developments that sewer capacity analysis by the county is required.
- The city will take ownership of all roads, bridges and 10 traffic signals in the annexed area.
- The county and city leadership will request MARTA to conduct a public meeting to discuss future transit plans for the annexed area.
Source: DeKalb County