Monday, November 17, 2014

Annexation Round-Up: cartographically anticlimactic


+ Today, the group that resulted from the merging of the Briarcliff and Lakeside proposals issued a statement and new map via their Facebook page (and their new website).  Dubbed LaVista Hills, the map still overlaps City of Tucker's proposed map (over the Northlake Mall area and nearby business) which means the November 15 deadline remains unmet. But, according to the statement, "In the coming weeks the combined group will continue work towards readying LaVista Hills for the 2015 legislative session." If successful, the proposal would create DeKalb's largest city, with 72,000 residents.

The statement closes with this inclusive note: "The proponents of the City of LaVista Hills greatly appreciate the support that Briarcliff and Lakeside received from residents of areas that are not included in our combined map, and are committed to LaVista Hills agreeing to any future annexation requests from those areas."

Medlock and Clairmont Heights are not included in the map. Our sister neighborhood Laurel Ridge and its elementary school (to which Medlock Park children are districted) is now within the LaVista Hills map.

Meanwhile (thanks to Dawn for the announcement!) the Laurel Ridge Shamrock Civic Association (LRSCA) has scheduled two meetings to discuss options that are still open to all of us:

1. Atlanta Annexation: LRSCA has invited Atlanta Councilman Alex Wan and APS School Board Member Matt Westmoreland to come and talk to our community about Atlanta annexation. The information session will be on Wednesday Nov. 19 at 7 pm at University Heights Methodist Church.
[NB: Atlanta annexation of a larger area is being looked at as a way to keep the Druid Hills school cluster together.]

2. Blueprint for DeKalb. Members of this citizen driven movement to improve DeKalb will be coming to Druid Hills Middle School to come and discuss their research and recommendations. Please come out on Thursday Nov. 20 at 7pm at Druid Hills Middle School Library to learn more about this citizen driven group.

+ The Laurel Ridge Shamrock Civic Association reached out to Emory University for additional information on Emory's stand on Atlanta annexation discussions. Mr. Charlie Harmon (VP of Government and Community Affairs) stated by email that "Emory continues to monitor the efforts by engaged citizens on all aspects of the cityhood process. We support complete and timely transparency of all efforts. And we are sensitive to our neighbors and their wishes.”  LRSCA followed up by phone and noted that:
"Mr. Harman also said that the statement that was made at the Laurel Ridge Elementary Town Hall about Emory was inaccurate. He stated that Emory is not driving any talks for annexation, and that this was being pushed by Druid Hills. He was asked if Emory would go to Atlanta if Druid Hills decided that was the course that they wanted to take and that yes, but they would need to keep ALL aspects of their campus in one municipality." For full text, see LCSCA site, Nov. 9, 2014, under heading "Statement from Emory University about Cityhood/Annexation With Update From Emory"
. . .

By now, it is probably obvious that maps change and will continue to change so stay alert and involved. So long as uncertainty remains the constant, it behooves us to oppose City of Decatur's efforts to annex significant swaths of commercial property along North Decatur Road and beyond (e.g., Medline LCI area).