The city of Hampton notified Henry County government of two applications for annexation during November. Earlier this month, Henry County objected to both applications over questions if the annexations are legally conforming.
The applications consist of roughly 800 and 550 acres. They are located one each on either side of the city.
Lower Woolsey Road
On the west side of Hampton, land owners for 666 acres are seeking annexation into city limits. Specifically, the properties are off Lower Woolsey Road and Fortson Road. Because the properties are not adjacent to Hampton limits, the land owner is also seeking annexation of another 137 acres. Together, the three tracts total 803 acres.
Annexation when not all property owners are onboard can occur using the sixty percent method. Through Georgia state law, the 60% method requires the following:
- Land owners representing at least sixty percent of the total acreage must support the proposed annexation, and
- At least sixty percent of registered voters residing within the proposed area must support the annexation.
Both criteria appear satisfied for the Lower Woolsey Road annexation. However, the proposed annexation would create an unincorporated island in the southwest corner of the county. State law prohibits unincorporated islands because they can negatively affect a county’s ability to provide services. The board of commissioners objected to the annexation because of the potential island.
Property owners are requesting no change in zoning at this time if their annexation request passes. Previously in 2018, land owners of 683 acres applied for and received rezoning. The proposed development had 6.1 million square feet of warehouse space. If the land owner’s request for annexation goes through, then the city of Hampton would oversee any development on the property.
The second request for annexation is also pursuing the 60% method. Likewise, it too was previously rezoned in unincorporated Henry County.
In 2008, the Atlanta Regional Commission completed a plan review for property known as Henderson Farms. The land is east of Hampton city limits running north to south. Georgia 20 bisects the property. There also exists road frontage off Hampton-Locust Grove Road and South Hampton Road.
At the time, ARC reviewed development plans consisting of 900 acres. Proposed uses included over one million square feet of retail and office space, a hotel, senior living units, single-family homes and apartments. Development plans never materialized during the Great Recession.
Since then, a portion of the property comprising 400 acres was subdivided and changed ownership. Now, owners of the remaining 500 acres are seeking annexation into Hampton. Because of the property’s size, a portion of the property boundary is adjacent to city limits. Elsewhere, homes are between city limits and the property. The owners of Henderson Farms are requesting to also annex these properties.
Remember the 60% method for annexation requires the support of at least 60% of voters within the proposed area. Henry County staff did not believe this 60% threshold was met based on the initial application for annexation. For this reason, the Henry County BOC objected to the request.
The county’s objections do not prevent the annexations. Instead, county and city staff will meet to see if the county’s questions and concerns can be addressed. If all legal questions come to a resolution, then the Hampton city council can vote whether to accept the annexations.
Christmas Tree Farm
Finally, a third request for annexation is also pending in Hampton. Property owners of Brown’s Christmas Tree Farm off US 19 / 41 applied for annexation. The land consists of 134 acres.
In addition to annexation, owners are seeking rezoning of the property. Proposed uses include building 713 housing units and retail space. Plans include a mixture of single-family homes, townhomes and apartments.
Because of the proposed development’s size, it requires a development of regional impact (DRI) plan review. Presently, the plan review is in progress. When complete, the Hampton council will be able to vote on the second reading for the project. They previously approved the first reading in June 2021.
Featured image shows Hampton city limits shaded in purple, and proposed annexations shaded in light blue. Photo credit Google Earth and Henry County qPublic.
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