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BOC rejects Alpharetta annexation offer
City targets commercial area in south Forsyth
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County commissioners shot down an annexation proposal from the city of Alpharetta without hesitation Tuesday.

Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle sent a letter to Forsyth County Chairman Pete Amos on Oct. 17 to present “a unique opportunity between our two communities for economic development, transportation, public safety and recreational improvements.”

The city proposed annexing about five square miles in unincorporated south Forsyth surrounding Ga. 400, a largely industrial and commercial area.

“We see a natural partnership between what is happening in the Ga. 400 corridor between Alpharetta and Forsyth, particularly in the areas of technology and transportation,” the letter states. “More precisely, we believe this proposed annexation would justify our investment in an additional exit off Ga. 400.”

The city offered to commit at least $6.8 million toward a planned exit onto McGinnis Ferry Road, an interchange that would border both jurisdictions and which recently received justification approval from the state.

Alpharetta also offered to contribute $700,000 in hiring staff to promote economic development in the area, as well as provide city services within the county.

Other benefits touted by the city included connecting the Big Creek Greenway systems, an improved ISO rating with increased fire protection and Alpharetta maintenance of roads and capital improvements.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said annexation can be accomplished if 100 percent of property owners petition the city, or in Alpharetta’s request, through state legislation.

The letter further explains that the measure must receive unanimous support from the Forsyth County legislative delegation and a majority of the Fulton County delegates.

Forsyth County commissioners voted 5-0 on Tuesday to create a resolution opposing the annexation.

Commissioner Brian Tam said the county has built significant infrastructure to accommodate the Taubman project, a planned regional mall in that area.

He added that the portion included in the annexation proposal is commercial property.

Commissioner Todd Levent said for the few residents in the suggested area property taxes would increase to pay for city services such as police.

“They’re looking to feed off us,” Levent said. “They want to split up all of our decent SPLOST [sales tax] dollars and LOST dollars. It’s all about money.”

Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said it was “interesting” timing that Alpharetta proposed the partnership after the county received approval for the McGinnis Ferry interchange at Ga. 400, expected to create an economic boost.

Chairman Pete Amos said the city’s proposed contribution to the interchange project was one of the “high points” of the proposal.

The project totals an estimated $44 million, of which 25 percent must come from local governments and the remainder from the state.

Levent said that cost should be split according to jurisdiction of the project anyway.

The commission directed the county attorney return with a resolution for approval at the Nov. 12 work session.