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Brookhaven City Council approves withdrawal of annexation petition

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Brookhaven City Council approves withdrawal of annexation petition

A map of the area proposed to be annexed from DeKalb County into the city of Brookhaven. Photo courtesy of the city of Brookhaven.

Brookhaven, GA — The Brookhaven City Council, at its July 25 regular meeting, approved the withdrawal of an annexation petition attempting to bring the Toco Hills and Merry Hills neighborhoods into the city.

The city council did not offer any comments before voting but did vote unanimously to accept the request to withdraw the application.

Annexation in Georgia can occur either via referendum or via a petition. If Brookhaven had approved the annexation petition, it would’ve brought 606 acres into Brookhaven, making it the largest annexation using the 60% petition method in state history.

The city of Brookhaven hired Rosetta Stone Communications to gather signatures for the petition. The petitioner must present signatures from 60% of electors and 60% of property owners in the proposed annexation area. However, according to the DeKalb County attorney’s office, they did neither. Questions have also been raised during public meetings about the validity of some signatures.

The city announced on July 19 that the applicant, Howard Ginsburg, has withdrawn the application. 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.”

The petition sought to annex the neighborhoods bounded by Briarcliff Road, Lavista Road and North Druid Hills Road. The city of Brookhaven has also called for an annexation referendum on the November ballot for all the unincorporated area south of I-85 and west of Clairmont Road. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst sent a letter to the county on July 8 requesting the referendum.

During a special called meeting on June 30, the Brookhaven City Council approved a resolution calling on the county to place an annexation referendum on the ballot.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond previously 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.”

The county has said it will consider a referendum after Brookhaven investigates allegations that some signatures on the petition are fraudulent.

Editor Dan Whisenhunt and Writer Sara Amis contributed to this story. 

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