Monday, December 15, 2014

Decatur City Commission unanimously votes in favor of its unreasonable annexation plan

Decatur's City Commission discussed its annexation plan during a working session at 6:30pm today and voted to support its Annexation Master Plan that includes large swaths of commercial property along North Decatur Road.

The vote included some modifications:
 - that the language include a statement to clarify that the Commission's vote is contingent on the School Board also approving the annexation plan and
- that sections of the proposed annexation area A that currently have Atlanta addresses be removed from the map (East Lake area), and that residences in area A that are located east of Jordan Lane be removed from the annexation map (due to "service difficulties" in reaching that area).

MANA's acting President Lynn Ganim and Secretary and schools liaison Tanya Myers spoke during the comment session. Ms. Ganim noted that we have repeatedly conveyed our concerns to Decatur and will continue to strenuously oppose this unreasonable annexation plan and will do so directly to the DeKalb Delegation. Ms Ganim also pointed that in its website, Decatur describes itself as "a neighborly city" but this annexation plan is anything but. Ms. Myers highlighted that non-residents support Decatur in many ways, from shopping at its businesses to being part of community groups and churches and volunteering. Ms Myers encouraged Decatur to contemplate the importance of maintaining positive relationships with neighbors, in particular in view of the annexation being poised to cause irreparable damage to DeKalb schools and the children it serves (by diverting funds from a large student population to Decatur's much smaller student attendance zone. This impact is calculated at  $5 million + dollars/year right now, a figure that will grow as commercial areas are further developed.

Two Decatur residents spoke against the annexation plan. One speaker voiced a common concern: that Decatur is underestimating the number of children that are likely to flood its school system. "Parents will do anything to secure a good education" and that probably means that many more families than expected will trade square footage for condos and apartments.

MANA is preparing a statement to the DeKalb Delegation that will be posted soon, along with contact information for our representatives.