A DeKalb judge has ruled that Brookhaven may not annex Century Center unless a Nov. 5 referendum to annex the property into Chamblee fails.

Citing Georgia law in an Oct. 28 order, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie ruled that Local Act 205, the General Assembly’s legislation creating the Chamblee annexation referendum, trumps Brookhaven’s Oct. 8 vote to annex the Century Center office park.

“By proceeding to annex using an alternative method, Brookhaven’s actions are in fact impairing the General Assembly’s authority to annex via local act because Brookhaven’s actions would essentially usurp the intent of the referendum,” Barrie wrote in the order.

According to the Georgia Code section, “Except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, no provision of this chapter relating to annexation or deannexation by any such alternate method is intended to or shall be construed to in any way restrict, limit, or otherwise impair the authority of the General Assembly to annex or deannex by local act.”

The cities of Brookhaven and Chamblee have been in and out of court arguing over the right to annex the Century Center office park, a tax-rich commercial property located near I-85 and Clairmont Road.

On Aug. 16, Barrie issued an injunction temporarily blocking Brookhaven from annexing the property until after the Oct. 24 hearing. On Sept. 17, Brookhaven filed an emergency motion asking the Supreme Court to lift the injunction.

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 high court ruled Oct. 3 that Brookhaven had the right to vote to annex the Century Center office complex. However, the court’s ruling only applied to the city’s ability to vote, leaving the dispute over the annexation open.

“We are aware of the court’s decision and are disappointed. We will make a decision on how to proceed following next week’s elections in Chamblee,” said Brookhaven City Manager Marie Garrett in a statement.

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