Lawyers representing the cities of Brookhaven and Chamblee squared off in a DeKalb County courtroom on Aug. 14 to argue over plans to vote on annexation of the Century Center office complex.

Residents of an area that includes the office complex are to vote Nov. 5 on whether to be annexed into Chamblee. But the owners of the complex went to Brookhaven and asked to be annexed. Chamblee officials in July won a temporary court order keeping Brookhaven officials from moving forward with the annexation request.

The cities were before DeKalb Superior Judge Tangela Barrie on Aug. 14 on Chamblee’s request to make the court order permanent. Officials from each city attended the hearing.

Lawyer Bob Wilson, representing Chamblee, argued that annextion by Brookhaven would confuse voters in November and was an attempt to trump the wishes of the state Legislature. State lawmakers, he argued, put Century Center in the tract for the Chamblee annexation vote and legally should have the final say.

“There is nothing to be accomplished by taking the [Brookhaven City Council] vote except to create confusion,” Wilson said. “They want to confuse the process … so voters [in the Chamblee annexation] won’t know exactly what they’re voting on.”

But Cecil McLendon, representing Brookhaven, argued that city’s officials had done nothing wrong. The owners of the property had sought annexation into Brookhaven, he said, and city officials had simply responded to the request. “This is a right being asserted by a property owner,” he said.

Brookhaven City Council, he said, hadn’t had a chance to vote on the annexation request because of Chamblee’s legal action. “Brookhaven has received an application. What Brookhaven is doing is what the law requires …,” he said. “This vote needs to go forward.”

Barrie took the case under advisement.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.