Lovejoy seeks to annex land in Henry

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

A portion of Henry County could end up in the city limits of Lovejoy if officials in that city have their way.

The Henry County Board of Commissioners has received notice from the city in south Clayton County of its desire to annex about 400 acres of Henry County property into the city. Annexations in general are not all that unusual, but those that cross county lines are, as county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter pointed out during his presentation at the May 2 board meeting.

This particular effort is using the 100 percent method, which means all of the property owners in the affected area must make application for annexation, Jaugstetter said while outlining the process for the proposal.

The first step was the city giving notice to the county that there is an application for annexation. The county has sent notice of a request for a meeting between the Board of Commissioners and Lovejoy’s mayor and city council. Officials are now in the process of scheduling that meeting.

“Any questions you have should be answered at that meeting,” Jaugstetter told the board.

After the meeting, should the county wish to object to the annexation, officials have 30 days to do so. State law requires that the county consider the following criteria; the long-term economic and overall well-being of the county, the school system and the affected municipality; the health, safety and welfare of the county, the city and the property owners; the negative impact, if any; and the interests of the property owners seeking annexation.

An objection based on one of those issues would be enough to stop the process unless the city files a lawsuit. Such an action would take place in Henry County Superior Court, and a judge from outside Clayton and Henry would be chosen to hear evidence to support the county’s objection and decide whether to allow it to proceed.

Four property owners have filed the application in this case, and Jaugstetter said there are no rezoning requests to his knowledge. The site is mostly unimproved pasture land with a few residential properties scattered about, he said.

There are no immediate plans to improve the property, and doing so would require a 12-month wait after annexation is completed. Any such rezoning would then take place under Lovejoy’s zoning ordinance.

“That’s what we know now,” Jaugstetter said in conclusion. “There is plenty of time to find out anything else.”