Annexation opponents plan court fight

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 29, 2003

An urban planner and attorneys representing a group ofBrookhaven annexation opponents have begun looking over feasibilityand other data the city plans to use in the November trial.

Attorneys Jerry Evans and Carlisle Henderson and urban plannerKathy Garner received about two boxes of discovery materialThursday during a meeting with the city’s attorneys. The three metlater Thursday with approximately 50 objectors.

“We have a pretty good game plan laid out,” said Evans, who didnot go into details.

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Garner, who has worked with Evans on several previousannexations, will examine the feasibility and demographic data inan effort to show why the city’s expansion request should not begranted. She briefly mentioned the 12 indicia of reasonableness thecity must prove in order to justify annexation and how those can bechallenged.

“I think the information we have is very good,” Garner said.

The annexation trial is scheduled for Nov. 5. It is expected tolast several weeks.

The discovery process gives opposing sides the opportunity toreview and plan for what evidence the other side intends to use tojustify its trial position. The deadline for discovery in thecity’s annexation case is Sept. 2.

“We don’t have very much time on it,” said Sandra Gerald, whohas taken the lead in anti-annexation efforts, about gettingdiscovery information.

In mid-August, city attorneys sent objectors a list of more than50 interrogatories, or questions, they wanted answered. Hendersonand Evans said they are seeking a hearing before the judge toeither not have objectors respond or at least extend thedeadline.

Gerald said the expansion would impact more than 180 homes. Interms of land area, the city is asking to enlarge from 7.3 squaremiles to 23.9 square miles.

“This is one of the largest annexations I’ve ever been involvedin,” Garner said.

Garner told the group that the key to fighting annexation isparticipation. She was impressed with last night’s meetingturnout.

“It’s really a credit to Sandra and your group that you’reparticipating,” Garner said.

Objectors mentioned several commercial and residential concernsabout the city’s annexation plans. Garner encouraged objectors towrite down their questions for possible use by the defense inchallenging the expansion.

Some objectors mentioned the possibility of having to changeschool districts. Evans said that was a “non-issue.”

“It will not affect school districts,” Evans said. “Schooldistrict lines do not move with an annexation.”

Garner and the attorneys planned additional meetings withobjectors to discuss activities. Gerald encouraged residents in allareas of the proposed annexation area to get involved in thedefense process.

“I want every section of this territory to be given a fairchance to fight this annexation,” Gerald said.