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Posted: December 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Social Circle receives annexation petition

Council appoints new Downtown Development Authority member

Social Circle’s city council completed another step towards formalizing the annexation of about 200 acres of land — the majority of which was formerly Newton County land — by officially receiving a petition from private land owners.

"It will in the future add a great deal to the new growth of our city," said Mayor Jim Burgess. He explained that the annexation was ideal for the city’s long range planning because most of the land hadn’t been developed yet.

"We don’t know what their plans are, but any decision on the use of that property has to come though the planning commission," Burgess said.

Although the land has been annexed, the city still needs to notify formally Newton County and zone the land, which will be in city council district 3. Vice Mayor David Terry pointed out the properties would fall under ordinances governing Social Circle.

In other city council business:

• The council approved a recommended zoning change to allow the Social Circle United Methodist Church to use the property at 219 South Cherokee Road for counseling and support group meetings, in addition to housing visiting missionaries.

SCUMC’s pastor Richard Noth, who spoke in favor of the change, said the church also hoped to make the location available to a therapist and to offer guidance services for those in financial crisis.

• The council unanimously voted to accept ethics ordinance amendments as a second step to maintain their certification by the Georgia Municipal Association as a "City of Ethics."

• Council members also heard the second reading of the city’s revised ordinances, with the addition of "red flag regulations" recommended by the GMA to help pick up on identity theft and fraud, said City Attorney Joe Reitman.

• Bill Thornton was appointed to the position on the Downtown Development Authority vacated by Carole Taylor, who moved to Florida, for the year that remained on her term. The seven members of the Authority are appointed to by the mayor and council to three year terms, according to City Clerk Susan Roper.

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