Apr 7, 2022 - News

Lawsuit seeks to stop Vinings cityhood vote

boundaries for the proposed city of vinings

The proposed boundaries for the city of Vinings. Map: Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office

A lawsuit has been filed to halt the May 24 referendum to establish the city of Vinings in Cobb County.

Why it matters: If successful, the lawsuit could stop voters who live in the boundaries of the proposed city from voting on whether they should incorporate — and have implications for other cityhood movements in Cobb.

The lawsuit argues the enabling legislation, HB 840, is unconstitutional because it regulates how Vinings would use its powers through a local law. This regulation can only occur through general law, or when it’s applied to all cities by the General Assembly, the suit says.

  • The legislation also removes the option for Vinings to use or not use powers granted to cities by the Georgia Constitution, according to the lawsuit.

What they’re saying: Allen Lightcap, the attorney for plaintiff and Vinings resident Joseph Young, tells Axios the lawsuit was filed because residents who vote for incorporation may think they are approving one thing, but will end up with something totally different.

The other side: The Vinings Exploratory Committee, which advocated for cityhood, tells Axios the lawsuit is an “attack on the democratic process.”

  • “We are confident the court will uphold the law as constitutional and not interfere with the citizens of Vinings’ right to vote on the formation of the new city of Vinings on May 24,” the organization said in a statement.

Context: In addition to Vinings, Cobb County is home to three other cityhood movements: Mableton, East Cobb and Lost Mountain. Voters in East Cobb and Lost Mountain are also set to vote on incorporation on May 24; the Mableton question will be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

What we’re watching: Lightcap tells Axios that while he hasn’t examined the language for the bill approving Mableton’s referendum, he thinks the language in referendum bills for Lost Mountain and East Cobb have similar constitutional issues as the Vinings legislation.

  • Lightcap expects a preliminary hearing for the Vinings lawsuit will be scheduled for late April or early May.

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