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Posted: May 18, 2010 8:19 p.m.

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Social Circle de-annexes all land in Newton County

One-acre parcel not annexed in 2008

The Social Circle city council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday evening that de-annexes all Social Circle land in Newton County effective immediately.

According to Social Circle Mayor James Burgess, the issue came to light two to three weeks ago, when it was discovered that a one-acre parcel of land along Highway 278 within the currently area was not annexed in 2008 when the other plots were, and as such was still zoned to Newton County. Georgia law states that zoned land must be touching other areas zoned like it – in this case, the land has to be in contact with Newton County land. It currently existed as an island, surrounded on all sides by Social Circle land.


According to City Attorney Joe Reitman, the issue was a “technical flaw,” and the land was accidentally over-looked during the first annexations and was believed to have been a part of the land annexed by Little River Ventures.


“In my opinion, the only way to correct the boundary description of this annexation is to redo the entire annexation through a new revised application or applications that accurately describe all of the property proposed for annexation to the City.  This means the 2008 era annexations should be done over again, with a proper legal description, if the property owners desire to be in the city,” Reitman said in a written statement.


Reitman and Burgess said that they had discussed the possibility of simply annexing the one acre, but upon investigation determined that it was “not viable.”


City officials stated at the meeting that the city, the county and Little River Ventures had all acted in good faith, and nobody was threatening legal action.


“There was no politics involved,” Burgess said. “It’s strictly a legal issue. We’d have to find a way to correct legal flaw, and researched all avenues to solve this. We’re just doing this as a precaution.”

The lands de-annexed run along the north side of Interstate 20 between Georgia Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 278 to the Walton County line. The owners of the de-annexed land will be allowed to petition the council for re-annexation in the near future. In total, approximately 1,300 acres were de-annexed. Each of the tracts of land will need to apply separately.


The affected lands were annexed into Social Circle in late 2008 and early 2009, and originally several land owners came in together. Reitman has stated that any land owners wishing to re-annex will need to do so individually.


One of the properties affected was the land owned by Little River Ventures, the site of the controversial proposed drag strip. According to Burgess, owner Donnie Clack has been in on the process.


However, this means that any properties that re-annex later will need to wait one year before they can petition the city for a zoning change. Thus, the soonest Clack could re-apply for a switch to commercial zoning would be summer 2011.

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