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City preparing to file annex papers in court

Brookhaven’s annexation ordinance should to be formally filed inchancery court this week, and aldermen are expected to meet nextweek with an annexation attorney and consultants to discuss legalstrategy, City Attorney Joe Fernald said Tuesday.

The special meeting was planned for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Fernaldanticipated that it would be held almost entirely in closed, orexecutive, session for purposes of litigation.

“The sole purpose of the meeting will be to find out where weare” in the process, Fernald said.

Aldermen adopted an annexation ordinance at their Sept. 17meeting and consultants have been preparing population, demographicand other data based on the legal description of the definedarea.

Some aldermen at recent meetings have said constituents havebeen asking about anticipated costs and other annexation aspects.That kind of information was expected to be available to the boardat the special meeting.

Fernald showed a large map of the proposed annexation area atlast night’s meeting. A smaller version of the map is available forpublic inspection in the city clerk’s office, and the larger map isalso expected to be put on display.

The map area varies slightly from a preliminary plan presentedin July 2001. That preliminary plan would have increased the city’spopulation from 9,861 to 13,123 people and increased its size from7.3 square miles to 21.6 square miles.

According to annexation map, the proposed area extends south ofHighway 84 to River Road Drive and north to above the Brignallcommunity. The area extends east to between Crooked Lane and BeltLine Drive and its western-most point takes in part of KatieTrail.

Areas that would be taken in include Brignall, Lakewood Village,the Oak Hill and Moreton Estates on Natchez Avenue, and Field LarkLane to the northwest.

Citizens in some of those areas have filed petitions asking notto be annexed. A resident who was on last night’s agenda to speakto the board about annexation did not appear.

Fernald also said the city’s petition to start the process ofchancery court approval of annexation is ready to be filed. Heexpected that to be done this week.

In other legal issues at last night’s board meeting, aldermenapproved a new sign ordinance. The ordinance, which goes intoeffect in 30 days, prohibits portable signs and sets regulation onother forms of advertising in the city.

The law calls for a $50 to $200 fine for violation of ordinanceprovisions and includes a process for appeals to the planningcommission and board of aldermen. A $500 fine amount quoted in anearlier sign ordinance report was incorrect.

Last night’s ordinance approval followed an earlier publichearing on the new law. No citizens showed to comment for oragainst the ordinance.

City officials commended planning commission members and othersfor their work on the law.

“This doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work and weappreciate that,” said Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill.