COVE Report – December 2, 2014

Two Timely Meetings; One Important Topic

Atlanta Annexation of Victoria Estates and Mason Mill

Proposed Atlanta Annexation of Victoria Estates and Mason Mill

Proposed Atlanta Annexation of Victoria Estates and Mason Mill

Please join us for upcoming meetings to discuss the proposal to the City of Atlanta to annex unincorporated parts of DeKalb that include Victoria Estates and Mason Mill.

Mason Mill & Victoria Estates Neighborhood Meeting on Proposed Atlanta Annexation – December 7

Featured Speaker: Together in Atlanta Representatives
Date: Sunday, December 7
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: Intown Community Church
2059 Lavista Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30329

Together In Atlanta is an effort by parents and residents from several neighborhoods near Emory University and within the Druid Hills High School attendance zone, seeking to achieve annexation into the City of Atlanta, with the public schools within the annexed area becoming part of Atlanta Public Schools. This is the group that presented the current request to the City of Atlanta.

This meeting is being held in conjunction with the Mason Mill Civic Association.

Victoria Estates Neighborhood Meeting on Proposed Atlanta Annexation – December 11

Featured Speaker: Alex Wan, Atlanta City Councilmember
Date: Thursday, December 11
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Home of Barb Zehnbauer/Tim Buchman
961 Castle Falls Drive NE
Atlanta, GA 30329

Councilmember Alex Wan has served as a member of Atlanta City Council since 2010. He represents District 6, which includes Ansley Park, Atwood Park, Brookwood Hills, Druid Hills, Lindridge/Martin Manor, Midtown, Morningside, Piedmont Heights, Sherwood Forest, Virginia-Highland, Lindbergh/Morosgo. While Councilmember Wan did not draw the map that is currently under discussion, he is a good source for answering questions you may have about the annexation process and the City of Atlanta.

Public Legislative Meeting on LaVista Hills Boundaries – Tomorrow – December 3

DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs

The DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs is meeting on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. At this meeting the committee will hear testimony from representatives from the Tucker and LaVista Hills cityhood organizations. Following the testimony, the committee will take public comment. The panel’s sole charge will be to produce a boundary map no later than December 31 by majority vote of the panel.

WHAT: Public Meeting to hear from cityhood organizations
WHEN: Wednesday, December 3, 2014
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Room 506
18 Capitol Square
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

House DeKalb County Cityhood Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs
Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville), Chair
Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem)
Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming)
Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta)
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur)

PARKING: Public parking is available at several nearby lots for $5-10.

Town Hall Meeting On Atlanta Annexation – December 8

Updated on 12/7

Municipal Choices Town Hall Meeting – 7:00 pm, Young Israel, 2056 LaVista Rd.

Sponsored by LaVista Park, Merry Hills, North Druid Hills, & North Amanda civic associations.

The municipal boundary choices overlapping our neighborhoods (alphabetically arranged):
Brookhaven annexation
City of Atlanta annexation
LaVista Hills new city
Unincorporated DeKalb County
The following panel has confirmed they will attend the meeting:

Rep. Howard Mosby, House District 83, Boundary Arbitration Committee
Mary Margaret Oliver, House District 82, Boundary Arbitration Committee
Lee May, DeKalb Interim CEO
Kathie Gannon, DeKalbDist. 6 Commissioner
Jeff Rader, DeKalb Dist 2 Commissioner
Joe Gebbia, Brookhaven Dist. 4 Councilman
Alex Wan, City Of Atlanta Dist. 6 Councilman
Mary Kay Woodworth, LaVista Hills
Allen Vennet, LaVista Hills
Matt Lewis, Together in Atlanta
Anne Wallace, Together in Atlanta

The meeting agenda:
Introductions (5 minutes)
Statements from the moderator, legislative delegation, and each municipalization choice group (25 minutes)
Moderated question-answer session (60 minutes)
Concluding remarks (10 minutes)
The questions to be discussed:
What is the process to select which proposals will be available to each neighborhood? Who will reconcile all of the overlapping municipal proposals and annexations? If we choose to remain unincorporated, what municipal choices will we have in the future?
How would each choice affect property and sales tax? Who will get the taxes? How viable are the choices?
What schools will our children attend with each choice? What will happen to DeKalb school property if I’m in a city?
What will happen to the Briarcliff/ North Druid Hills Tax Allocation District? Who will fund and perform transportation and other infrastructure improvements and long term maintenance?
Who will fund and provide police? Where will the precinct be located?
Who will fund improvements and maintain our Parks and Recreation services?
How will Zoning and Code Enforcement function?
Will other services be affected?
Additional questions from the audience will be screened for relevance and may be presented by the moderator.
Thank you for agreeing to attend. We look forward to a valuable, informative evening together.
Best regards,
Dan Wright

Atlanta council weighs in on annexation possibilities

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Support Annexation

By Katie Leslie – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has made public his support for annexing Druid Hills and a portion of south Fulton, two areas on the edges of town that are now in heavy talks about their respective futures.
In recent weeks, he has made overtures to the Sandtown community in Fulton and welcomed a group of Druid Hills homeowners who are considering joining Atlanta. Reed recently said the neighborhoods are interested and he views that as “a favorable commentary on the state of the city.”

City council members are likely weighing political impact as they mull potential annexations that would expand Atlanta.
For Reed, the annexations could be the crown jewels of his two terms, an exclamation point on his leadership before yielding his office to Atlanta’s next mayor. After all, the potential annexations would be the city’s largest since the early 1950s, when Atlanta added Buckhead, Bolton, Adamsville, Lakewood Heights and others.
Atlanta’s expansion also could have a political impact, one city leaders are sure to consider when deciding whether to support the growth.
“You brought in a mayor with the last annexation,” said District 11 Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, who along with Reed was eligible to run for Atlanta office after their southwest neighborhood was annexed in the mid-2000s. “It remains to be seen, but I do know history repeats itself. (Our annexation) meant a tremendous amount to the city, not just the expansion of the boundaries but the people involved in the politics of the city.”
Bottoms has played a key role in talks with south Fulton residents, who are largely divided over the issue. Some have expressed support for forming a new city, while a handful of neighborhoods are pushing toward joining Atlanta. Reed sweetened the pot in recent weeks by suggesting the Sandtown community could receive a 10-year property tax freeze.
Bottoms said it’s too soon to know just how many residents could potentially become Atlantans.
Meanwhile, a group of residents in Druid Hills are lobbying to join Atlanta after the DeKalb County School district rejected a charter school “cluster” of Druid Hills High and other schools. The community recently submitted to state leaders a proposed map that joins their area with Atlanta and includes Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the annexation would come as many as 26,000 voters, according to several people involved in the discussions.
Bottoms, a second-term councilwoman, said she’d support annexing both communities, which historically have high-voter participation rates.
The neighborhoods have dramatically different racial compositions. South Fulton would bring a majority black voting bloc, while Druid Hills is majority white. And that, says District 9 Councilwoman Felicia Moore, is the “underlying current” of annexation discussions.
“Of course, everything is about race in Atlanta,” she said, with a laugh. “… I’m sure there are people who want to make sure it keeps a balance so that, if we do bring in Druid Hills, there be a complement of black persons who are included in the city as well.”
Moore said her decision on whether to support annexations comes down to fiscal, and not political matters. She said she wants to see more details about whether Atlanta can afford the additional costs of expanding services.
“I always like to look at things from a fiscal standpoint,” she said. “I think there needs to be some discussion that, if we decide to annex either or both, that it makes good fiscal sense not just for them but for all citizens of Atlanta.”
District 5 Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong agreed that, when it comes to annexations, “the devil is in the details.” New residents must decide whether they want their children to attend Atlanta Public Schools and will be subject to new taxes.
“I do think Atlanta is a very attractive city so wanting to join makes a whole lot of sense,” she said. “We should be looking at the possibilities.”
District 2 Councilman Kwanza Hall, who along with Bottoms and Council President Ceasar Mitchell is considered a likely candidate for mayor, also said he’d support annexing both.
Hall, originally from southwest Atlanta, represents one of Atlanta’s most diverse districts, an area covering Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park. A portion of Druid Hills could be added to his district, as well as District 6 Councilman Alex Wan’s.
In Hall’s view, there’s little downside to adding Druid Hills, which he describes as affluent, educated group.
“As a councilmember for an area that is not majority African-American, and having run and been elected twice … it has been a positive thing in terms of not being judged based on my racial background,” said Hall, who is black. “It’s similar to a district and to the people that I already represent.”
Myriad hurdles remain before either group can move forward, city leaders urged. State leaders must settle on a proposed Druid Hills map and then authorize a referendum that could come as early as November 2015. The referendum would have to pass by a majority vote of residents inside the borders of the affected areas.
South Fulton residents are trying to join Atlanta in a different way, by winning support through the petition form of annexation. This method requires 60 percent approval from registered voters and land owners by mass. Those groups would then submit the petition to Atlanta leaders to decide whether to annex.
And both groups must also sort out whether their children will attend Atlanta Public Schools. The Atlanta council will ultimately be asked to sign-off on the new communities.
Wan, who has been in active talks with Druid Hills for well over a year, said it’s similar to the Virginia Highland and Morningside neighborhoods in his district. He sees adding the area as a boon to the city’s tax base and a way to bolster economies of scale.
He’s less focused on the political implications of annexing the area, he said.
“I’m not naive. I’m sure there are folks considering (the politics),” he said. “Politics will always be politics and enter the process, but there are folks who are way better at it than I. … I’m better focused on the merits of the proposition.”
Staff writers David Wickert and Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this report.


One thought on “COVE Report – December 2, 2014

  1. Steven & Lynn Young

    Our opinion on the issue goes in the following order (from most favorable to least):

    1. Remain in unincorporated Dekalb
    2. Join a proposed Dekalb county city (e.g. LaVista Hills, Tucker)
    3. Being Annexed by city of Atlanta (distant 3rd).

    Steven & Lynn Young


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