Saturday, October 18, 2014

Annexation Round-Up: DeKalb County Edition

A City of South DeKalb? This week (h/t to Deanne!), our representative Rahn Mayo (D - Decatur. District 84) issued a press release through his email list on his stance on annexation,

"Generally speaking I support a community in pursuit of self determination. My reluctance to supporting additional new cities in DeKalb County is based on the lack of cohesiveness with which new cities are often created. In the past, there has been a tremendous disconnect between DeKalb citizens, and political leaders driving cityhood efforts. In my opinion, cityhood plans have provided very little concern for the impact on the DeKalb County as a whole. 

I have witnessed what appears to be "cherry picking" of valuable commercial assets by newly formed cities and communities sponsoring annexation plans. Furthermore, there are often contentious boundary disputes with maps and exclusion of neighborhoods bordering proposed cities, which often feel neglected and without input regarding their fate. 

Currently, there are several proposals for annexation and incorporation in DeKalb County. I recently requested a feasibility study (on behalf of organizers) from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, for a proposed City of South DeKalb. My current position is to carefully review the feasibility and equity concerns of each cityhood and annexation plan and consider the overall fiscal impact on DeKalb County as a whole."

Brookhaven favored? The City of Briarcliff, in conjunction with the City of Lakeside leadership, protested a move by North Druid Hills Rd businesses east of I-85 to requested inclusion into Brookhaven. These businesses have been part of the Lakeside Initiative's map and would be important in providing services for a new city in north central DeKalb (aka the expected  Lakeside/Briarcliff combined city proposal).

Briarcliff and Lakeside tango! Briarcliff/Lakeside Briarcliff and Lakeside continue to struggle towards compromise, but Reporter Newspapers says that they are not ready to release a combined map yet.

A Tale of Two Cities? Even after the 2014's messy legislative session, compromise in map-making was stalled.  Late in August, State Representative Mike Jacobs (R-80, Brookhaven/Chamblee), with the blessing of the House Government Affairs Committee, set a November 15 deadline for finalizing new city and annexation maps. The Brookhaven Post reported that State Representative Scott Holcomb (D-81, Northlake/Brookhaven) guesses that when five-member House Government Affairs sub-committee meets, they will propose a two-city solution for North DeKalb: Tucker and the expected combination of the Briarcliff and Lakeside proposals.

Charter helter-skelter.  The Druid Hills Charter Cluster withdrew its petition amid allegations that the DeKalb County School System illegally log-jammed the review and approval process, and stated that the organizers would "step away from our efforts in order to give life to other active processes underway in our communities that affect our constituency, such as annexation and city-hood." Druid Hills residents have been pondering the possibility of annexation into the City of Atlanta; in that eventuality, Druid Hills High School, Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary schools would join the Atlanta Public School System. Update: WABE/NPR reports on this issue.