2010 Georgia Code
§ 36-36-115 - Meetings of arbitration panel; duties; findings and recommendations; compensation

O.C.G.A. 36-36-115 (2010)
36-36-115. Meetings of arbitration panel; duties; findings and recommendations; compensation

(a) (1) The arbitration panel appointed pursuant to Code Section 36-36-114 shall meet as soon after appointment as practicable and shall receive evidence and argument from the municipal corporation, the county, and the applicant or property owner and shall by majority vote render a decision which shall be binding on all parties to the dispute as provided for in this article not later than the sixtieth day following such appointment. The meetings of the panel in which evidence is submitted or arguments of the parties are made shall be open to the public pursuant to Chapter 14 of Title 50. The panel shall first determine the validity of the grounds for objection as specified in the objection. If an objection involves the financial impact on the county as a result of a change in zoning or land use or the provision of maintenance of infrastructure, the panel shall quantify such impact in terms of cost. As to any objection which the panel has determined to be valid, the panel, in its findings, may establish reasonable zoning, land use, or density conditions applicable to the annexation and propose any reasonable mitigating measures as to an objection pertaining to infrastructure demands.

(2) In arriving at its determination, the panel shall consider:

(A) The existing comprehensive land use plans of both the county and city;

(B) The existing land use patterns in the area of the subject property;

(C) The existing zoning patterns in the area of the subject property;

(D) Each jurisdiction's provision of infrastructure to the area of the subject property;

(E) Whether the county has approved similar changes in intensity or allowable uses on similar developments in other unincorporated areas of the county;

(F) Whether the county has approved similar developments in other unincorporated areas of the county which have a similar impact on infrastructure as complained of by the county in its objection; and

(G) Whether the infrastructure or capital outlay project which is claimed adversely impacted by the county in its objection was funded by a county-wide tax.

(3) The county shall provide supporting evidence that its objection is consistent with its land use plan and the pattern of existing land uses and zonings in the area of the subject property.

(4) The county shall bear at least 75 percent of the cost of the arbitration. The panel shall apportion the remaining 25 percent of the cost of the arbitration equitably between the city and the county as the facts of the appeal warrant; provided, however, that if the panel determines that any party has advanced a position that is substantially frivolous, the costs shall be borne by the party that has advanced such position.

(5) The reasonable costs of participation in the arbitration process of the property owner or owners whose property is at issue shall be borne by the county and the city in the same proportion as costs are apportioned under paragraph (4) of this subsection.

(6) The panel shall deliver its findings and recommendations to the parties by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.

(b) If the decision of the panel contains zoning, land use, or density conditions, the findings and recommendations of the panel shall be recorded in the deed records of the county with a caption describing the name of the current owner of the property, recording reference of the current owner's acquisition deed and a general description of the property, and plainly showing the expiration date of any restrictions or conditions.

(c) The arbitration panel shall be dissolved on the tenth day after it renders its findings and recommendations but may be reconvened as provided in Code Section 36-36-116.

(d) The members of the arbitration panel shall receive the same per diem, expenses, and allowances for their service on the committee as is authorized by law for members of interim legislative study committees.

(e) If the panel so agrees, any one or more additional annexation disputes which may arise between the parties prior to the panel's initial meeting may be consolidated for the purpose of judicial economy if there are similar issues of location or similar objections raised to such other annexations or the property to be annexed in such other annexations is within 2,500 feet of the subject property.

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