Brookhaven calls for referendum on expanded annexation areaL to R, Mayor Pro Tem Linley Jones, Councilmember John Park, Mayor John Ernst, Councilmember Madeline Simmons, and Councilmember John Funny during a June 28, 2023, Brookhaven City Council meeting. Photo by Sara Amis.
Brookhaven, GA — At a special called meeting June 30, the city of Brookhaven called on DeKalb County to place an annexation referendum on the November ballot for all of the unincorporated area south of I-85 and west of Clairmont Road.
The area proposed by the city encompasses the area included in an annexation petition using the 60% method, which requires 60% of electors and 60% of landowners to agree. The petition was presented by Howard Ginsburg but created with the help of Rosetta Stone Communications, a company hired for the purpose by the city of Brookhaven.
That petition has since been subject to questions about the validity of some of the signatures collected.
“There have been very serious allegations made involving the annexation that the city takes very seriously,” City Attorney Jeremy Berry said.
Berry reported that his office is reviewing the signature issues that the city is aware of, including those involving St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. Berry added that the city is pausing its contract with Rosetta Stone Communications.
The larger annexation area would also include the unincorporated islands that would otherwise be created by the earlier petition.
Mayor John Ernst said that at both the community meeting held by DeKalb County officials on June 27 and the Brookhaven City Council meeting held on June 28, speakers said that they wanted neighborhoods to stay together and that they wanted a chance to vote.
Ernst said that the city is taking up that request by calling on DeKalb County to allow a referendum on annexation in the upcoming election on Nov. 7.
“This requires the county to agree to give the voters a choice,” Ernst said.
Ernst said that under state law, unless the county puts annexation on the ballot, the city is obligated to consider the petition that has been presented to them.
The resolution as passed by the city makes reference to multiple annexation petitions that are either completed or in process in the area, which would be included in the referendum.
Councilmember John Park said that city policy was to welcome requests to come into the city in a “fair and organized way.” Park added that he considered the city’s annexation map to be based on natural boundaries.
To view a larger version of the map, click here.
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