Kennesaw City Council considering de-annexation requests

Kennesaw City Hall in article about Juneteenth celebrationKennesaw government complex (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Kennesaw City Council will vote on two de-annexation requests at Monday’s mayor and council meeting.

If approved by the council, the properties will no longer be considered part of the city of Kennesaw and will be under the purview of unincorporated Cobb County. The de-annexation requests were already approved by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, pending the decision by Kennesaw Council . Both requests will be subject to public hearings prior to Monday’s vote.

Applicant Judi Burrell requested her property at 4058 Ayers Dr. be de-annexed from the city. Applicants David and Monika Chow have requested the de-annexation of three contiguous parcels of more than three acres total at 2880 Ellis Rd., fronting Elmhurst Boulevard and Ellis Road.

The Kennesaw Planning Commission recommended approval of both requests at its Feb. 3 meeting, but several issues were raised with regard to the Chow’s Ellis Road request.

According to Daryl Simmons, Kennesaw’s zoning administrator, code enforcement cited the Chow’s recently for having a helicopter land or takeoff at the property, which is zoned residential. According to David Chow, the helicopter was brought in on a trailer and only took off. Simmons said they assured him it wouldn’t happen again.

Neighbors of the Chows attended the planning commission meeting to share their concerns about the property being de-annexed. David Burns told the commission that he “essentially lives next door.”

“If this is approved for de-annexation for this property to go to Cobb County, we are not sure if a helicopter pad and take-off is going to be allowed. The citizens of Kings Row and Out Post Hill, we should not have to go to Cobb County to fight for a city issue because he is no longer a citizen of Kennesaw,” Burns said.

Neighbor Gayle Guthman said, “We have had issues in the area with parking during church services that are held on that property. We have had the drone. We have had the helicopter. I had to… Well no, I’ll just say it. He has not been a nice neighbor. He has not taken into concern the houses that are within hearing distance. When he works on his helicopter, I live three houses away and my windows shake. You cannot talk on the phone. You cannot listen to the television because of the amount of noise. It starts every dog in the neighborhood barking.”

A third neighbor, Michael Esposito said that in addition to the helicopter, he is concerned about the drones, and that he experiences excessive water runoff from the property, due to a structure that was built by a previous owner.

The Chows said they requested the de-annexation because they don’t believe they are receiving enough value in services from the city. Monika Chow also apologized to the neighbors for the issues.

Council member David Blinkhorn questioned the recommendations from the planning commission and zoning administrator to de-annex the properties.

“We have a resident who is violating ordinances, and rather than us keep them in the city, as well as the residents who are being harmed, all under our jurisdiction, your office is recommending [de-annexation],” Blinkhorn said.

Blinkhorn also pointed out that the applicants purchased the properties after they had already been annexed by the city and asked for more legal clarification on House Bill 489, which dictates the rules for annexation.

“They chose these properties after the fact…What were we providing then that we’re not providing now? Blinkhorn asked. “I honestly feel every time we de-annex property, we’re giving away assets.”

City Council meetings are held on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers and can be viewed live on the city’s Facebook page.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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