Monthly Archives: January 2014

COVEReport 2014-1-28

Our Legislators Need to Hear From Us!!

Martha Pacini, COVE President – January 28, 2014

So far, we know of five Victoria Estates households that have written to our legislators about their feelings regarding city-hood.  Thanks to these five neighbors—this is an important issue and our legislators need to know our opinions on this matter.  We need at least 20 neighbors to write in to have an impact, so please send in your comments this week!  If you’ve written, but didn’t want to share it with us, please just let us know that you wrote.

Below is the “how-to” we previously sent you:

Over the course of numerous meetings that several of us in Victoria Estates have attended in the last few days, the Legislative Delegation had made it clear that it is imperative that Victoria Estates and Mason Mill neighbors must weigh in with our DeKalb County representatives and senators regarding our wishes when it comes to the various city-hood bills or a preference for a moratorium.  Without our input, we run the risk of allowing the Legislature to cast this issue along stark demographic lines, which would not reflect the variety of commitments that Victoria Estates or Mason Mill embraces.  The Legislative Delegation must hear from our neighborhoods by the end of this week as things are moving quickly, and if we want our opinions to count, they need to hear them now.
Here are some pointers for your email:

1.  In the subject line state “In Favor of Moratorium,” “In Favor of Briarcliff,” or “In Favor of Lakeside.”

2.  In the first sentence, state (1) that you live in the Victoria Estates neighborhood; (2) the reason you are writing (i.e., you want a moratorium or you are in support of one of the city-hood bills).

3.  Add brief bullets (3-4 are best) regarding your reasons.  Keep it short.

4.  Put your name and address on the bottom of the email so they know from whom it came.

5.  Copy the block of addresses and paste them into the address line of your email (this will send your email to each of the County’s legislators):

Emanuel.Jones@senate.ga.gov; Fran.Millar@senate.ga.gov; Jason.Carter@senate.ga.gov; Gail.Davenport@senate.ga.gov; Steve.Henson@senate.ga.gov; Ronald.Ramsey@senate.ga.gov; Gloria.Butler@senate.ga.gov; tom.taylor@house.ga.gov; repjacobs@comcast.net; scott.holcomb@house.ga.gov; scott@repscottholcomb.com; mmo@mmolaw.com ; howard.mosby@house.ga.gov; rahnmayo@gmail.com; rahn.mayo@house.ga.gov; dren16999@aol.com; michele.henson@house.ga.gov; earnest.williams@house.ga.gov ; billy.mitchell@house.ga.gov; stacey.abrams@house.ga.gov; staceyabrams@gmail.com; pam.stephenson@house.ga.gov; pamelann@bellsouth.net ; dee.dawkins-haigler@house.ga.gov ; tonya.anderson@house.ga.gov; dkendrick@kendrickforgeorgia.com; karen.bennett@house.ga.govcasey.cagle@ltgov.ga.gov

6.  Special request:  forward a copy of the email to COVE at cove@victoriaestates.info—we are trying to keep track of our neighbors’ opinions on this important issue.

 

COVEReport 2014-1-26

Express Your Views This Week to the Georgia Assembly and Senate!!

Martha Pacini, COVE President – January 26, 2014

Please express your views on the cityhood question DIRECTLY to the DeKalb delegation in the Georgia Assembly and Senate by the end of this week!!

Over the course of numerous meetings that several of us in Victoria Estates have attended in the last few days, the Legislative Delegation had made it clear that it is imperative that Victoria Estates and Mason Mill neighbors must weigh in with our DeKalb County representatives and senators regarding our wishes when it comes to the various city-hood bills or a preference for a moratorium.  Without our input, we run the risk of allowing the Legislature to cast this issue along stark demographic lines, which would not reflect the variety of commitments that Victoria Estates or Mason Mill embraces.  The Legislative Delegation must hear from our neighborhoods by the end of this week as things are moving quickly, and if we want our opinions to count, they need to hear them now.
Here are some pointers for your email:

1.  In the subject line state “In Favor of Moratorium,” “In Favor of Briarcliff,” or “In Favor of Lakeside.”

2.  In the first sentence, state (1) that you live in the Victoria Estates neighborhood; (2) the reason you are writing (i.e., you want a moratorium or you are in support of one of the city-hood bills).

3.  Add brief bullets (3-4 are best) regarding your reasons.  Keep it short.

4.  Put your name and address on the bottom of the email so they know from whom it came.

5.  Copy the block of addresses and paste them into the address line of your email (this will send your email to each of the County’s legislators):

Emanuel.Jones@senate.ga.gov; Fran.Millar@senate.ga.gov; Jason.Carter@senate.ga.gov; Gail.Davenport@senate.ga.gov; Steve.Henson@senate.ga.gov; Ronald.Ramsey@senate.ga.gov; Gloria.Butler@senate.ga.gov; tom.taylor@house.ga.gov; repjacobs@comcast.net; scott.holcomb@house.ga.gov; scott@repscottholcomb.com; mmo@mmolaw.com ; howard.mosby@house.ga.gov; rahnmayo@gmail.com; rahn.mayo@house.ga.gov; dren16999@aol.com; michele.henson@house.ga.gov; earnest.williams@house.ga.gov ; billy.mitchell@house.ga.gov; stacey.abrams@house.ga.gov; staceyabrams@gmail.com; pam.stephenson@house.ga.gov; pamelann@bellsouth.net ; dee.dawkins-haigler@house.ga.gov ; tonya.anderson@house.ga.gov; dkendrick@kendrickforgeorgia.com; karen.bennett@house.ga.gov

6.  Special request:  forward a copy of the email to COVE at cove@victoriaestates.info—we are trying to keep track of our neighbors’ opinions on this important issue

COVEReport – January 23, 2014

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Cityhood UpdateCarl small

Carl Lange – 1/23/14

The COVE board has been closely monitoring the happenings at the Capitol concerning the proposed cityhood initiatives. It’s critical for you to voice your opinion as this impacts you, your home, and neighborhood. Decisions are being made, representatives are paying attention to calls and emails, and the ramifications of decisions made now may have a significant impact.

Quick Summary:

City of Tucker is gaining some support and may have a chance of being passed by the House and Senate, moving to referendum for vote this year.

City of Lakeside has conflicts with the Tucker boundaries, but these may be worked out. Passage in the Senate will be a key hurdle, with gubernatorial candidate/senator Jason Carter rumored to not be supportive of Lakeside.

Surrounding cities have annexation plans that conflict with Lakeside and Tucker, suggesting there will need to be some rework of proposed new city boundaries.

Briarcliff has popular support but may continue to suffer from the perception of being an attempt to stop Lakeside. Political support is currently perceived as being weaker than for the other proposals.

A proposal for a moratorium on city creation is being developed. We understand Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver has dropped a bill regarding a moratorium.

A proposal for a county charter commission, to address county corruption and structure, is being developed.

What You Can Do:

Whatever your position, voicing it now is critical.

If you are a supporter of a moratorium and/or no new cities in DeKalb, contacting the representatives listed below by email or phone is recommended.  If you are attempting to block the passage of Lakeside, contacting Jason Carter is recommended. We recommend calling his office and e-mailing.

If you are a Lakeside or Briarcliff supporter, contacting the representatives is advisable. You may also contact those initiatives to volunteer.

Annexation by city of Atlanta is another option that could come up, should Briarcliff not succeed and Druid Hills and Emory move into the city. This has a longer track and the COVE board is also monitoring what’s happening around this.

DeKalb State House Representatives List

DeKalb State Senators List

Sample Communication to DeKalb Delegation

Bills Currently in the House and Senate Relating to Cityhood and Annexation

PatPat Killingsworth – January 23, 2014

I have researched all of the bills currently in the House and Senate relating to cityhood and annexation and have come up with the following:

HB 665 – Placeholder for City of Briarcliff

HB 677 – Placeholder for City of Tucker

HB 687 – Placeholder for City of DeKalb (to incorporate all of unincorporated DeKalb)

HB 690 – Provides a new mechanism for “islands” within city borders to annex into their surrounding municipality by arbitration

HB 692 – New requirements for municipal incorporation (that would make all future incorporation of municipalities in DeKalb County geographically impossible)

HB 830 – New requirements for municipal incorporation (that would slow the cityhood process down considerably, but still make it virtually impossible to create a new city in DeKalb County, even with the amended geographic requirements – similar to HB 22 last session introduced by MMO)

SB 270 – City of Lakeside

SB 275 – Placeholder for City of LaVista Hills

SB 277 – Placeholder for City of DeKalb

SB 278 – Placeholder for City of Stonecrest

I am attaching copies of the House bills and the City of Lakeside bill, which includes their charter and is ready to go.  The Lakeside bill has already been moved out of subcommittee to the State and Local Government Operations (SLGO) General Committee.  Although I was assured by several persons before that a bill had been introduced into the Senate by Tucker, that does not appear to be the case.  They have, however, put together a charter and hired a lobbyist (which probably created the confusion).  I expect that Tucker will amend placeholder HB 677, or possibly drop a new Senate Bill, in the near future.

There is still no clarity on the issue of boundaries between the proposed cities, or between the proposed cities and currently existing cities with annexation plans, or between currently existing cities regarding overlapping annexation proposals.  The map is, quite literally, all over the place, and there have been no announcements of compromises by anyone to date (although some may have been made).

I will report back from the Glenn meeting tomorrow and the DHCA annual meeting on Sunday.

State of the County Address – Thursday, January 23

Please click here to let us know if you will be in attendance.
This event is free to the public.

 

DeKalb County will have a “State of the County” luncheon at the Emory Conference Center on Thursday, January 23, starting at 11:30.  The event is co-sponsored by the Council for Quality Growth  and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, and at last look, was sold out (the cost is $40).  Not to worry, the County has also planned a meeting to present a free-of-charge “State of the County” address at the Sanford Porter Center on at 7:00 p.m. on the same day.

Recent Meetings

My apologies for the belated notice, but wanted all to be aware of activities occurring – Carl Lange

Senator Ronald Ramsey (D-Lithonia), Chairman of the DeKalb Senate Delegation, along with Representative Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta), Chairman of the DeKalb House Delegation, along with the joint DeKalb Delegation hosted a meeting on Wednesday, January 22 at the Manuel Maloof Auditorium. Members of the delegation discussed education, cityhood, form of government and annexation.

Mary Margaret Oliver and Jason Carter spoke to Glenn Memorial Wednesday night supper on January 22.

Crime Prevention:

COVE is organizing a neighborhood meeting for mid to late February to include a presentation from the County on crime prevention, police updates, and to have an opportunity for neighbors to exchange information. Details will follow once the event is scheduled.

COVEReport – January 13, 2014

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Victoria Estates Cityhood Survey Responses

Carl 335 responses have been received on the poll concerning cityhood initiatives. Responses from Victoria Estates neighbors indicate:

 

First ChoiceHave a moratorium on new cities and then decide what is the best option
Second and Third Choice – TiedRemain within unincorporated DeKalb and focus on resolution of county issues, Join a city through referendum or annexation
Details
1
2
3
Have a moratorium on new cities and then decide what is the best option
40%
14
42.86%
15
17.14%
6
35
2.23
Remain within unincorporated DeKalb and focus on resolution of county issues
28.57%
10
31.43%
11
40%
14
35
1.89
Join a city through referendum or annexation
31.43%
11
25.71%
9
42.86%
15
35
1.89

Order of preference which city Victoria Estates should be included in:

FirstBriarcliff
SecondNone/Remain Unincorporated
ThirdAnnexation by Lakeside
FourthAnnexation by Atlanta
Details
1
2
3
4
City of Briarcliff
42.86%
15
40%
14
14.29%
5
2.86%
1
35
3.23
None/Remain Unincorporated
42.86%
15
28.57%
10
28.57%
10
0%
0
35
3.14
Future annexation by City of Lakeside
11.43%
4
17.14%
6
45.71%
16
25.71%
9
35
2.14
Future annexation by City of Atlanta
2.86%
1
14.29%
5
11.43%
4
71.43%
25
35
1.49

Comments:

Thanks to our officers for their hard work. – 1/11/2014 4:35 PM

I’m not sure why I’m forced to put any “preference” at all on initiatives that I do not support in any way. – 1/10/2014 7:55 PM

My response to both questions is remain as is. All other options are not my choice. The results will be misleading. Better to rate each option separately. – 1/10/2014 5:10 PM

I do not want to be in the City of Lakeside because this includes too much population that I probably have a different viewpoint for various issues. I would NEVER want to be part of the City of Atlanta. If we can’t be City of Briarcliff, then I would settle for remaining unincorporated. – 1/10/2014 10:22 AM

The city of Briarcliff makes the most sense but is unfair to the rest of the county just as is the city of Lakeside. Local control of zoning by neighborhood is most important, not in some distant remote office where money and favors may change hands. – 1/9/2014 9:59 PM

Stop Lakeside! – 1/9/2014 8:47 PM

All these new cities are efforts to re-segregate DeKalb County. In the South we don’t work it out, we Secede. – 1/9/2014 7:29 PM

I strongly feel that the City of Briarcliff is the most practicle plan for Victoria Estates. – 1/9/2014 6:05 PM

II do not want s dekalb penalized! If we go to incorporation, this needs attention to detail. – 1/9/2014 6:02 PM

I am not in favor of #2 3 or 4 and don’t really see a need to rank them, but the survey did it automatically. – 1/9/2014 5:23 PM

Cityhood Initiative Update from the Capitol

marthaMartha Pacini – January 10, 2014

Clear as Mud is a good description for yesterday’s meeting.  Ron McCauley and I attended the meeting through the Briarcliff and Lakeside presentations.

 

The DeKalb delegation representatives in attendance were primarily from the house and not the senate.  They included Howard Mosby, Ernest Williams, Michelle Henson, Scott Holcomb, Mary Margaret Oliver, Tom Taylor, Karen Bennett, Tonya Anderson, Rahn Mayo, Dar’shun Kendrick.  Fran Millar from the Senate also came in for the Lakeside presentation.  The audience included Jeff Rader, Kathie Gannon, the major of Doraville, and a number of other county/city officials and staff members.

The first presentation was from the Executive Director of the DeKalb Municipal Association, Mark Baggett.  He referenced a “task force on annexation and city hood” and said he had met with the four proposed cities and engaged in discussions about boundaries.  Every existing city in DeKalb, with the exception of Dunwoody, has plans to annex additional property.

Allan Venet presented the City of Briarcliff proposal, stressing that it was (1) a bipartisan effort, (2) inclusive, (3) had sensible borders.  He stated that schools were not part of their proposal. He also stressed that there are serious flaws in DeKalb County and that commissioners/CEO/staff are spending their time getting the county bureaucracy to do what it should have done in the first place.  He stated that he did not want to delay the public vote on the city because it would “endorse the status quo”.  He believes that cities are part of the solution for what ails DeKalb County.

Venet emphasized that Briarcliff can use the tax dollars better and achieve significant efficiencies.  He also pointed out that businesses stay away from DeKalb County because it’s a hassle to get permits/do business with the county, and that the city would be easier to deal with and therefore be better able to attract business, thus eventually growing the tax base for DeKalb County.  He underscored these numbers:  if Briarcliff becomes a city, 6% of county revenue will shift to the city, but Briarcliff will service 13% of the population.  In his words–it will be a net gain for the county.

He stated numerous times that neither existing city annexation plans nor new cities should be allowed to “cherry-pick” commercial/industrial property.  He was asked about the border overlap with Tucker.  He stated that Briarcliff sees I-285 as a “natural boundary–it’s been around for 50 years” between Tucker and Briarcliff, but that he believed they could work with/collaborate with Tucker to arrive at a border both could accept.  Rep. Holcomb emphasized that he would like to see the Northlake issue resolved with Tucker–“all three cities cannot go forward at the same time” with boundaries in dispute.  Venet was also asked about the legacy costs that remain with the county when a city is formed, and he stressed that any new city should bear its fair share of past obligations.

Mary Kay Wentworth presented the Lakeside proposal.  She pointed out that (1) none of their elected representatives live in the proposed city of Lakeside area; (2) the lack of a police presence was a significant part of Lakeside’s proposed services; (3) that they had formed their city based on more than 75 meetings with neighborhoods throughout the Lakeside proposed area.  The community input was a significant grass roots effort, and she emphasized this several times.  She stated that they have 6 task forces that are meeting to work out various aspects of city hood, and that one of them is devoted to economic development.

She was asked about “assuring that the pension legacy remains strong”, i.e., would Lakeside cover its share of the legacy costs related to police pensions, including having it added as part of the city’s charter.  She stated they would seriously consider this.  She emphasized that the elected city council would have to be the group to make many of the decisions about how the city would function and what it would/would not do and that it was not the place of the formers/founders to make those decisions.

She referred to the Lakeside area as a “community of interest” that shares common things and stated that they did not view 285 as a “red line”.  She stated that they had met with Tucker several times, but that it was difficult to resolve because the groups have “different ideas”.  She also stated that in drawing their borders they had tried to avoid areas that were potential annexation targets for existing cities.

Wentworth and Kevin Levitas both emphasized that there was plenty of territory for all three cities, but that the CVI studies could not disaggregate the data to take out Northlake Mall from one or the other.

Some information that was new to me also came out in this process:

  • Representative Jacobs pointed out that the city portion of property taxes would not be eligible for the HOST tax credit that applies to county taxes.  He suggested that the cities consider how to present this accurately to the public, instead of just talking about surpluses.  If the city taxes are done at the full millage of the counties, the impact on the actual property tax bill that a homeowner receives could in fact be an increase.  What will an average homeowners property tax bill now be?
  • There must be a convention/visitors bureau in the new cities if they are to take advantage of the hotel/motel tax.  All city hood proposals do currently include this.
  • The tone from the delegation was that they want the three groups (Briarcliff, Lakeside, Tucker) to meet and work this out and not leave it to the general assembly.
  • Lee May apparently had a meeting with the three groups.  The implication from some of the comments was that Lakeside wasn’t being cooperative, but the Lakeside representatives say they are being cooperative.  They sated that they think the moratorium that is being proposed is a strategy for people who don’t want cities to stop them.

CDC Notice of Availability and Public Hearing DEIS Roybal Campus 2025 Master Plan

CDC Campus Proposed Expansion

CDC has released its draft environmental impact statement for the 2025 master plan of its campus.

…Improvements proposed under the Master Plan preferred alternative include new laboratory construction, existing building renovation, parking expansion, and infrastructure upgrades. Under the Master Plan preferred alternative, the new laboratory building would contain approximately 350,000 to 450,000 gross square feet and would be constructed on an existing surface parking lot located in the eastern portion of the Roybal Campus. In addition to a new laboratory, a new approximately 1,600 space parking deck would be constructed just south of the new laboratory building. Construction of the new parking deck, along with the new laboratory and supporting infrastructure would eliminate an existing surface parking lot and result in a net increase of approximately 1,200 parking spaces at the Roybal Campus. HHS/CDC anticipates that the construction of the new parking deck would increase the campus parking cap from 3,300 to approximately 4,500 spaces. The employee population at the Roybal Campus is projected to increase by approximately 1,485 new occupants under the Master Plan preferred alternative in 2025.The 45-day review period will end on Monday, March 3, 2014. Written comments to be accepted and addressed in the FEIS must be postmarked on or before Monday, March 3, 2014. Please submit comments identified by Docket No. CDC-2012-0013, by any of the following methods: 

•Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments, identified by Docket No. CDC-2012-0013.

•Mail: George F. Chandler, Senior Advisor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, N.E., Mailstop A-22, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

CDC 2025 Master Plan Letter

CDC 2025 Impact Statement

Citihood Survey

Victoria Estates Cityhood Survey
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Tell us what you think!

We’d love to get your feedback

Cityhood initiatives discussed this past year have moved to the Georgia Assembly for consideration for referendum in 2014. There’s a short window of opportunity for individuals to voice their opinions with legislators. This two minute survey asks two questions concerning your opinion on proposed cityhood initiatives as they might impact Victoria Estates. Anonymous results will be published to the neighborhood list. Please complete this survey by end of day Saturday, 1/11/14.

COVE – Citizens of Victoria Estates

Take the Survey

COVEReport – January 8, 2014

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Victoria Estates Meeting with Chairman of the DeKalb House Delegation

martha

 

 

Martha Pacini, COVE President – January 8, 2014

Howard Mosby, the head of the DeKalb Legislative Delegation, met with around a dozen neighbors from Victoria Estates on Thursday, January 2 at Pat Killingsworth’s house.  Representative Mosby represents the 90th District, which includes parts of south DeKalb County and Rockdale County.

Representative Mosby informed the group that he had called a meeting for January 9 at the Capitol for each of the proposed new cities to present their plans.  This meeting will not include presentations from those opposed to city hood or from the city of Atlanta regarding any potential annexation plans.  Several members of the audience encouraged him to plan a second meeting that would allow for input from these constituencies as well.

Rep. Mosby explained that the Lakeside city hood bill was started in the senate, while the bills for Briarcliff and Tucker were started in the house.  All three bills cannot move forward at one time because there are issues with the borders overlapping.  Rep. Mosby stated that he believes that all of the city hood bills (there are 7 distinct city hood bills in DeKalb, 4 of which have been reviewed by either UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute or GSU’s Andrew Young Center) are at the core about quality of life issues.

He was asked about the possibility of moratorium on cities until more research could be done and the boundaries could be worked out.  He stated that a one-year “hold” on the new cities would be best used by convening “hearings”  in summer 2014 that would include an evidence-based assessment of the impact of the new cities on the rest of the county, as well as a clear accounting of the legacy costs that remain with the county when the cities are formed.  The audience made it clear that transparency from the county regarding financial issues and performance audits would be crucial to making the most of any hiatus in the city hood plans.  Rep. Mosby made a personal commitment to a public review of these issues, and noted that there is a proposal before the Commissioners to fund a Charter Commission (with a current recommendation of $100,000), but he did not commit to a specific methodology for an assessment at this time.

Erika asked how people in our neighborhood could have a voice at the state legislature about these issues.  He suggested several people (Lt. Governor & chair of the committee, Amy Carter, for example) who would be influential, and requested that he also be copied on emails that are sent.  Erika offered to get email addresses and post them on the COVE website so that neighbors could make their voices heard.

Rep. Mosby stated that the county must address the quality of life issues that are spurring these bills, in particular the need for transparency.  Is the county operating as efficiently as it could?

DeKalb Legislators to Meet on Cityhood – Thursday

Jay Scott, DruidHill Patch – January 8, 2014

DeKalb legislative delegation to hear presentations from cityhood groups.

Posted by (Editor) , 

cityhood

DeKalb’s legislative delegation is hosting a hearing Thursday on the county’s cityhood movements, and it’s sure to draw a significant audience of supporters, detractors and observers to the state Capitol.

The hearing, which starts at 10 a.m., will be held in room 606 at the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, 18 Capitol Square, Atlanta. The meeting is open to the public. Call 404-656-0109 for more information.

Each cityhood group will be given a short time to make presentations to the legislators.

While there has been continued discussion of the issue through the holidays on Patch blogs and other articles and an AJC forum on DeKalb cityhood, the hearing refocuses media attention on the issue before the Legislature convenes next week.

Cityhood supporters were particularly incensed by comments from DeKalb interim CEO Lee May in the AJC forum as well as in an article which cited a “growing chorus” in DeKalb wanting to put the brakes on new cities. (Subscription required). May has called for a three-year moratorium on new cities.

Also, there has been considerable backlash in comments here and on other sites after a Dec. 20 WAOK radio interview in which former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones interviewed suspended CEO Burrell Ellis, who is under indictment on corruption charges. Both decried the cityhood movement as divisive and said it amounts to “resegregation” in a diverse county.

The interview did not gather much attention until articles quoted from it after the new year.

COBI officials this week have stepped up their social media presence in an effort to reach supporters. And COBI board member Herman Lorenz continues to file regular blogs here, which draw a number of regular comments from supporters and critics of the cityhood proposals.

Lakeside City Alliance, with the exception of the AJC forum, has been relatively quiet since Dec. 12, when they held their last public meeting at Lakeside High School. (See Tucker Patch for the latest on Tucker 2014’s efforts.)