Tucker appeals decision in lawsuit against Clarkston over annexation issue

The location of the affordable housing complex. Image obtained via Google Maps

This story has been updated.

Clarkston, GA — By all appearances, the city of Tucker has gotten most of what it wanted in a lawsuit against the city of Clarkston over an illegal annexation.

The property in dispute is no longer in the city of Clarkston.

But Tucker is continuing to litigate the matter. During the Nov. 1 Clarkston City Council meeting, City Attorney Stephen Quinn said Tucker appealed a judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit after Tucker asked for a partial summary judgement in its favor.

“The city of Tucker did indeed appeal their lawsuit being dismissed,”Quinn said. “That’s on to the Georgia court of appeals, and I’ll keep you updated.”

“Well, thank you for that,” Mayor Beverly Burks replied.

The property in question is partially in the city of Tucker and couldn’t legally have been annexed by the city of Clarkston back in 2018. On Jan. 25, the DeKalb County Commission approved a deannexation of the disputed property that should’ve settled the lawsuit.

But in February, the city of Tucker filed a motion for a partial summary judgment in its favor. Mark Ford, an attorney hired by the city of Tucker, previously said the ordinance to deannex the property is not legal because it never belonged to Clarkston in the first place, Tucker Observer previously reported.

Clarkston accused Tucker of having an ulterior motive in fighting the deannexation: blocking an affordable housing project on its border along East Ponce de Leon Avenue. People are living in the property right now, Burks told Tucker Observer.

The housing complex itself is not in Tucker’s boundaries.

In the order dismissing Tucker’s motion for partial summary judgment, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson expressed skepticism about Tucker’s quest to keep litigating the annexation.

The judge noted the county deannexed the property in question and that property can’t be devleoped in any case because it’s in a flood plain. In addition to being “unbuildable,” the lawsuit notes it was previously owned by a church, so it wasn’t providing any tax revenue to either city.

The city of Tucker declined comment due to the pending litigation.

In other business from the Nov. 1 Clarkston City Council meeting:

— The city council voted to allocate $30,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Clarkston Community Center to expand the adult and senior services, English as second language and civics and digital literacy programs.

— City Manager Shawanna Qawiy said the city is planning to rezone an assemblage of property at Woodland Avenue to allow for multifamily housing. The property is at the corner of North Decatur and Church Street. Qawiy said there’s no development planned for that site, currently.

“It’s an administrative request from the council,” she said. “We’re actually trying to be in compliance with what we’ve laid out for our comprehensive plan.”

The request will go to the city’s planning and zoning board on Dec. 20 and the city council will have a final vote on the rezoning in January.

The Tucker Observer is a community news website owned by Decaturish.comWe provide locally sourced news about Tucker, Clarkston and Stone Mountain.

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