DeKalb commissioners throw up another obstacle to Emory annexation

[private]The Atlanta City Council is scheduled to vote in early September on the question of annexing the Emory University campus, but it’s looking more and more like that date could be pushed back because of a rising tide of political objections.

The latest concerns about the annexation were raised by the DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday, when commissioners voted 5-0 to formally object to the petition to bring 744 acres of Emory University, the CDC, and Children’s Healthcare into the City of Atlanta.

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond said the county is not so much opposed to the idea of annexation as it is concerned about the lack of discussion on how the various responsibilities for government services like police, fire, and zoning will be divvied up.

“We believe the annexation will be a positive step if the process includes open, transparent negotiations with all parties involved including DeKalb County Government, City of Atlanta, Emory University, MARTA, DeKalb County School District and Atlanta Public Schools,” Thurmond said.

It is imperative, Thurmond said, that “the appropriate intergovernmental agreements are entered into with the City prior to the annexation that ensures the appropriate service delivery of police, fire, 911 and water and sewer to both DeKalb County and City of Atlanta residents so that there are no gaps in serving citizens of both jurisdictions.”

DeKalb residents living in the general vicinity of Emory are also concerned about the implications of the annexation on future land use and zoning.

The example they use is this: Once the Emory campus is officially part of the City of Atlanta, the owner of a residential lot could petition to have his property annexed into the city and then sell the land to a business person who wants to put up a McDonald’s on the site.

That change in land use would be decided by the City of Atlanta, leaving nearby property owners who live in unincorporated DeKalb with no recourse in the political arena.

That’s just one of many issues that might have to be hashed out before the Emory annexation comes to a final vote.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: DeKalb County Commission , Emory annexation , mike thurmond