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Brookhaven annexation petition shrouded in mystery

Annexation, new cities Brookhaven Trending

Brookhaven annexation petition shrouded in mystery

Larry Hoskins answering questions during a June 15 meeting about an annexation petition to the city of Brookhaven. Photo by Sara Amis

Update: To see a copy of the map and the petition, click here. (Thank you to our reader who pointed this out to us.)

Here is our original story…

Brookhaven, GA – A petition for Brookhaven to annex the Toco Hills and Biltmore Acres neighborhoods, bounded by Briarcliff Road, Lavista Road and North Druid Hills Road, has apparently passed the 60% threshold required to move forward.  

DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry said that the county received the petition packet at the beginning of last week.

“We’re still in the process of studying the annexation request,” Terry said.

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said that he has been hearing from residents of the area wanting to come into the city for a while, and that nearby Lavista Park joined in 2019.  

If Toco Hills is annexed, Ernst said, “This would be the largest annexation by the 60% method in the history of Georgia.”

Ernst said that to provide improvements in services to annexed areas, the city creates annexation tax districts. 

After an annexation is approved, the city assesses roads, stormwater infrastructure and parks over about a year and reports the cost of improvements. The neighborhood can also request additional projects such as sidewalks.  

The city will advance the money for those projects; meanwhile, taxes in the annexation district will remain close to the DeKalb County rate until the projects are paid for, after which the rate will drop to the lower Brookhaven rate.

Ernst said that the city of Brookhaven assisted the petition effort. 

“The city helped them go door to door,” Ernst said.

Yet no one seems to know who is behind the petition effort…even the people who conducted a public meeting about it held at the Torah Day School on June 15.

A letter sent to residents by someone named Howard Ginsburg said that as part of the annexation, the current DeKalb County zoning designations would be converted to the equivalent designations used by the city of Brookhaven.

Ginsburg’s letter said that because this was considered a zoning change, by law a public meeting must be held.

“The changing of the zoning labels will not mean any change in building or housing density, and we’re not asking for any of these changes in our application,” said Ginsburg in the letter.

Ginsburg’s signature on the letter indicates he is “representing applicants.” He told Decaturish he is not organizing the annexation effort, however.

“I’m just helping out,” Ginsburg said.  

Here’s a copy of the letter that was forwarded to Decaturish:

When asked who organizing the annexation effort, Ginsburg said he didn’t know.

Another man who was taking notes for the meeting also said that he was helping out. He explained that minutes for the public meeting were a required part of the application process.

However, when asked, the note-taker refused to give his name.

“I have to go,” he said, and hurried out of the room.

Larry Hoskins, who was the main speaker during the meeting, said that he was asked by the organizers to answer questions about zoning changes. Hoskins said that he was asked because he had helped the Lavista Park neighborhood through its annexation process.

However, when asked who specifically invited him, Hoskins wouldn’t answer.

“I don’t think it’s relevant,” Hoskins said.

A number of those in attendance complained that the letter about the zoning meeting was the first they’d heard of an annexation request. Hoskins advised them to voice their concerns at the public hearing to be held at Brookhaven City Hall on June 28 at 7 p.m.

The Brookhaven City Council is set to vote on the annexation on July 25.

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