Applicant withdraws petition to annex Merry Hills and Toco Hills into BrookhavenA map of DeKalb County, GA. Image obtained via Google Maps
This story has been updated.
Brookhaven, GA — The city of Brookhaven announced Wednesday that a petition to annex the Merry Hills and Toco Hills neighborhoods into the city has been withdrawn.
If the annexation had moved forward, it would’ve been the largest annexation using the 60% petition method in state history. But residents and county officials raised questions about the validity of some signatures on the petition.
The applicant, Howard Ginsburg, withdrew the application on Wednesday, July 19. He asked the county to give residents a chance to vote on the annexation in a referendum.
“While we have over 60 percent of the registered voters in the area, due to some questions raised about the application, I have decided to withdraw the current application,” Ginsburg said. “My neighbors and I remain very interested in becoming a part of Brookhaven and intend to pursue another annexation application soon unless DeKalb County gives us a chance to vote in a referendum.”
That doesn’t appear likely to happen, as the county has announced plans to file a legal objection to the annexation petition. For more information about that story, click here.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said he was “pleased” to hear the petition has been withdrawn.
“On behalf of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, we are pleased that Mr. Howard Ginsberg has chosen to withdraw his Brookhaven annexation application,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. “This decision will promote transparency and protect the due-process rights of DeKalb residents.”
Here is the full announcement from the city of Brookhaven:
Brookhaven, GA, July 19, 2023 – Brookhaven announces that a recent annexation application in the area of Merry Hills and Toco Hills was withdrawn by the applicant on July 19.
“While we have over 60 percent of the registered voters in the area, due to some questions raised about the application, I have decided to withdraw the current application. My neighbors and I remain very interested in becoming a part of Brookhaven and intend to pursue another annexation application soon unless DeKalb County gives us a chance to vote in a referendum,” said Howard Ginsberg.
In a resolution approved by the City Council on June 30, the City acknowledged that there are additional areas south of Brookhaven that are working on applications to annex into the City.
The withdrawal of the application by the applicant ends the annexation process for the Merry Hills / Toco Hills application but does not preclude residents from making another annexation application in the same area.
“This development is not surprising given the issues that were alleged in the public input process,” said City Manager Christian Sigman. “The silver lining is that the community’s voice does make a difference, and the difference is possibly a referendum in the area and a battle-tested annexation review process. Either way, we continue to welcome all adjacent residents who want to join the City of Brookhaven.”
For more information about the annexation process in Brookhaven, go to: https://www.brookhavenga.gov/commdev/page/annexation-information
Writer Sara Amis contributed to this story.
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