Sunday, May 19, 2024

Townley Files Suit Against Town Of North High Shoals, Asking Court To Grant Petition For Deannexation

***Suit Claims “Abuse Of Discretion”***

Townley Family Partnership LLLP has filed suit against the Town of North High Shoals asking Oconee County Superior Court to reverse the Town’s decision on April 15 and grant Townley’s petition for deannexation of 175.8 acres from the city.

The suit contends that the decision by the Town Council “was an abuse of discretion, was not sustained by sufficient evidence, and contained legal errors.”

David Ellison, who represented Townley before the North High Shoals Council, filed the suit. Ellison is with Fortson, Bentley, and Griffin, 2500 Daniells Bridge Road, in Oconee County.

The case is before Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard, who has ordered the Town of North High Shoals to transmit its record of the case within 30 days of his signing the order on May 8.

Haggard also set a hearing on Townley’s petition for review of the Town’s decision for 11 a.m. on July 11 at the Oconee County Courthouse.

Details Of Petition

Townley is petitioning the Court for a “review of the final judgment rendered by the Town of North High Shoals” on April 15 of “Townley’s Petition for Deannexation filed on Nov. 21, 2023.”

Ellison 1/22/2024

It states that Townley Family Partnership LLLP is the sole owner of three parcels totaling 583.1 acres, and “Approximately 175.76 acres (or 30.14 percent) of said property lies inside the corporate limits of the Town.”

Tony Townley, General Partner of Townley Family Partnership LLLP, is one of the founders of Zaxby’s.

The suit states that Townley filed a petition for deannexation on Nov. 21, 2023, based on Georgia Law, and Oconee County consented to the deannexation on Jan. 2, 2024.

The suit states that the Town Of North High Shoals held a public hearing on Townley’s petition on Jan. 22, 2024, and on April 15, 2024, “entered a final judgment denying Townley’s Petition for Deannexation.”

Townley, through the suit filed by Ellison, asks the Court to “enter an order directing the Town to transmit the record to the Court” of its decision.

Background On Case

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 2 voted to consent to the deannexation of the 175.8 acres between Jefferson Road and the Apalachee River from the Town of North High Shoals.

The commissioners stipulated in their vote that they were deferring to the decision of the Mayor and Council of North High Shoals on the petition from Townley.

County Attorney Daniell Haygood advised the Commission that it had little choice but to approve the request after passage of House Bill 374 by the Georgia General Assembly earlier in the year.

That legislation placed the burden on the Town to demonstrate that the deannexation was harmful to it.

The suit filed by Ellison on May 6 argues the Town’s decision “was not sustained by sufficient evidence.”

The Town Council had tabled a decision on Townley’s petition for deannexation after the Jan. 22 hearing and again on Feb. 19.

Ellison, on behalf of Townley, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus against North High Shoals on Feb. 20 to force it to make a decision on the petition for deannexation.

The Town Council made its decision on April 15, and on April 17, Ellison asked for dismissal of that petition.

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