The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that Brookhaven City Council may vote to annex the Century Center office complex.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the annexation Oct. 8, according to the meeting agenda for the regularly scheduled council meeting. However, the court’s ruling only applies to the city’s ability to vote, leaving the dispute over the annexation open.
On July 1, Highwoods Properties, the owners of the Century Center office complex off of Clairmont Road near I-85, applied to be annexed into the city of Brookhaven. However, the property was already included along with homes in the Dresden East neighborhoods as part of a Nov. 5 referendum for annexation into the neighboring city of Chamblee.
The matter went to court, and on Aug. 16, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie blocked the city from annexing the property until after an Oct. 24 hearing.
On Sept. 17, Brookhaven filed an emergency motion asking the Supreme Court to lift the injunction imposed by the DeKalb judge.
In the motion, Brookhaven claimed the DeKalb judge overstepped her authority because, “The Superior Court enjoined a state legislative function, which is entirely inappropriate and outside the jurisdiction of the Superior Court.”
In its response, the Georgia Supreme Court sided with Brookhaven, stating “that the injunction prohibits a vote by the City Council of Brookhaven on the annexation of Century Center or otherwise interferes with acts of a legislative character.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling only applies to Brookhaven’s right to vote.
“This order only stays interference with the legislative process. To the extent, if any, that the interlocutory injunction entered by the Superior Court is directed toward executive or other non-legislative acts in furtherance of annexation, the interlocutory injunction remains in full force and effect,” according to the Supreme Court ruling.
Chamblee’s acting city manager and Police Chief Marc Johnson said he’s “not really surprised” by the ruling, which he described as a technicality. He said regardless of the results of the annexation referendum or the judge’s decision, the two parties will likely go back to court.
“It’s pretty much destined to be decided in Supreme Court,” Johnson said.
In a statement, City Manager Marie Garrett said, “the city policy is not to comment on pending litigation. We do not wish to comment on this case.”