Tag Archives: Cityhood

COVE Report – September 12, 2016

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Emory Annexation into Atlanta








Emory University has begun the process to be annexed into the City of Atlanta. Due to the nature of Emory’s annexation (by a percentage of property method) the annexation is likely to proceed and could occur by year end. Victoria Estates and adjacent areas are not included in the annexation. Some potential impacts to Victoria Estates are transportation, public safety, schools, and taxes.

The COVE board is planning the following response:
• Obtain more definitive responses from officials on impacts
• Provide updates to neighbors through COVE Report
• Conduct survey of neighbors to understand concerns
• Neighborhood meeting with Atlanta, DeKalb County, and Emory representatives

While Victoria Estates is not included in the annexation, it could be annexed by petition of residents. The petition option would be available to VE only if the Emory petition is successful and Victoria Estates then has a border with Atlanta.

Below is a link discussing the announcement and additional information provided by Emory University.


From Emory University


Emory is beginning the process to annex into the City of Atlanta. There are several questions that have been raised regarding this annexation that Emory would like to clarify.

• It is important to note that Emory would remain in DeKalb County but would move its municipal jurisdiction from unincorporated DeKalb to the City of Atlanta in DeKalb County.

• Emory University is not asking, nor does the process require anyone else for it to change its municipal jurisdiction from unincorporated DeKalb to the City of Atlanta.

• This decision does not change school districts, since neighboring communities like Druid Hills will still be self-determining regarding annexation. Druid Hills High School would remain in unincorporated DeKalb County.

• Emory University would annex by petition to the City of Atlanta. The neighborhoods that surround Emory’s campus would not be part of this petition. Earlier news reports incorrectly stated that Emory’s petition requires 60 percent neighborhood approval.

Emory University, like neighboring communities, has been considering and evaluating annexation options for several years. Currently, Emory is beginning the process to annex its campus into the City of Atlanta. Emory’s annexation into the City of Atlanta has always been viewed as one of the most viable, long-term options and one that provides consistency and alignment relative to the University’s marketing and branding initiatives. Emory already promotes its location as Atlanta, is known internationally as being located in Atlanta, routinely recruits faculty and students to Atlanta, and has an Atlanta address and zip code. The prestige of Emory as an international university and Atlanta as a global city are inextricably linked.


COVE Annual Membership Meeting


Thank you everyone who attended the annual membership meeting. For a recap of our accomplishments here is the annual report. COVE Annual Report 2016

Membership unanimously elected new board members Jen Tipping and Barbara Zehnbauer. Tim Buchman has retired from the board. Thank you for your service! Thanks to Bobby and Joselyn Baker for hosting the meeting! The 2016/2017 COVE Board Members and Officers – Bobby Baker, Susan Bell, Pat Killingsworth, Emily Koumans, Carl Lange, Ron McCauley, Martha Pacini, Jen Tipping, David Woolf, and Barbara Zehnbauer.

Ethics Town Hall Meeting this Wednesday at 7 PM
9.12.2016 – Representative Scott Holcomb



This coming Wednesday, September 14th at 7 PM, Rep. Taylor Bennett and I are hosting a town hall meeting in Ashford Park in Brookhaven. The address is 2980 Redding Road, Atlanta 30319.

Stacey Kalberman, who was recently hired as DeKalb County’s first full-time Ethics Officer, will join us to talk about the work she is doing to educate county officials and employees on best practices and to address infractions.

The formation of the new Board of Ethics and the position that Stacey now fills are the result of an incredible amount of work by a DeKalb County task force and a task force of citizens who wanted change. Both groups came to the same conclusion: that it was critical to create this position to increase ethical standards in DeKalb County’s government.

I’m proud to have played a part in helping to make this happen. I sponsored the bill that ultimately received unanimous support in the General Assembly and approval by DeKalb citizens in a referendum last year.

Please join me and Rep. Bennett in welcoming Stacey Kalberman and learning about the critical work she and the Board of Ethics are doing.


Atlanta Cannot Keep Five Areas It Annexed


This is the AJC story about the City of Atlanta annexation of 5 Fulton areas. The annexations were disallowed on a technicality. It gives voters in the footprint of the City of South Fulton an opportunity to vote on cityhood in a referendum in November.





2016 General Election Dates


September 20, 2016
Earliest day for a registrar to mail an absentee ballot for the General Election/November Special Election.

October 11, 2016
Last day a person may register and be eligible to vote in the General Election/November Special Election /Runoff Election.

October 17, 2016
Advanced (In-Person) Voting begins for the General Election/November Special Election.

October 29, 2016
Mandatory Saturday Voting for the General Election/November Special Election.

November 8, 2016
General Election
ATLANTA, GA, 30329 – 0000
Election Day precinct hours are 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

If you prefer to vote off-site, mail or fax your absentee ballot application to your county registrar.
Click Here for an Absentee Ballot Application


Save the Date: Mason Mill Civic Association Fall Picnic – Sunday, October 23, 5-7 p.m. @ Thomson Park


Look for more information about this event in early October. Be sure to join your fellow Victoria Estates and Mason Mill neighbors in this annual event. We’re looking for a great turnout. The weather will be cooler and October is supposed to be the driest month in the year. Let’s hope so!



Commissioner Jeff Rader – Information on Emory Annexation



Commissioner Kathie Gannon – Newsletter


Downtown Decatur Concert Series – Saturdays in Sept. @ 7 pm, Library Events…



Senator Mary Margaret Oliver – Newsletter


100th Anniversary of national parks, Emory Annexation into City of Atlanta, Ban on Assault Type of Weapons Bill…


Property Tax Payment Update
First Installment Due Date – September 30

Irvin J. Johnson, DeKalb County Tax Commissioner, would like to remind all DeKalb County taxpayers that the due date for the first installment of 2016 real estate and personal property taxes is Friday, Sept. 30.

First installment taxes which are not received or postmarked by the Sept. 30 deadline will incur a 5 percent late payment penalty.

There are drop boxes located on the front and side of the Central Office, located at 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur. Another convenient option is payment by electronic check or credit card at our website: www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner. Please note, there is a 2.35% processing fee for all credit card payments on the site, but check payments have no additional fees. Walk-in customers to the Central office, North, or South satellite offices, may pay by cash, check, debit card ($1.50 service fee) or credit card (2.35% service fee).

Property owners with questions are encouraged to visit the Tax Commissioner’s website at www.dekalbcountyga.gov/taxcommissioner, call the Tax Commissioner’s Office at 404-298-4000 or email proptax@dekalbcountyga.gov for assistance.

DeKalb County 24 Hour Tag Renewal Locations


COVE Report – January 18, 2016

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Victoria Estates Meeting This Thursday, January 21 – 7:00 pm

The McCauley’s Home – 1017 Castle Falls Dr. (southeast corner of Mason Mill and Castle Falls)


Past Victoria Estates meeting with Rep. Howard Mosby

Howard Mosby, head of the DeKalb Legislative Delegation has agreed to meet with Victoria Estates neighbors for an update on the 2016 Georgia Legislative Session. Legislation under consideration includes changing the DeKalb County form of government, changes to the process for creating new cities, and a new SPLOST tax for roads and transportation. Please plan to attend this important meeting for insight and an opportunity to directly voice your opinion.


Houston Mill Road Update

LaVista and Houston Mill

COVE, Mason Mill Civic Association, Intown Community Church, and DeKalb County met concerning the intersection of Houston Mill and LaVista Rd. The county will be contacting the state to conduct a traffic study. Considerations include restoration of the safe right turn onto LaVista to improve traffic flow, improved safety for ingress/egress to the church, and improved safety for the entire intersection. MMCA President Mary Hinkle is chairing the effort. Additionally, the CDC has informally expressed an interest in opportunities to address Houston Mill near the Emory campus. Thanks go to board member Martha Pacini for her participation and leadership in addressing these issues.


2016 Legislative Update



  • There are several city proposals in discussions outside our area that do not seem viable except for the city of Stonecrest. The city of LaVista Hills does not appear to have legislative support for reintroduction this session. Additionally, the City of Atlanta initiative to incorporate this area has disbanded with individual neighborhoods now petitioning instead.
  • A SPLOST tax is being proposed to fund county roads and transportation. If not passed at the capitol and then approved by voters, the county would need to find an alternative method to pay for the repair of our failing roads.
  • Legislation is being developed for the elimination of the DeKalb County CEO form of government.

Thanks go to COVE President Pat Killingsworth for her leadership and ongoing participation in crafting some of this key legislation.

COVE Report – December 8, 2015

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Intersection of Houston Mill and LaVista

LaVista and Houston Mill

With the construction of Young Israel at the intersection of Houston Mill and LaVista, the dedicated right-turn lane on LaVista (east-bound) was removed. This has created an unsafe situation and backup on Houston Mill at certain times of the day. Discussions with  DeKalb County indicated correcting the situation would require expansion of the road and acquisition of some of the adjacent church property. The church owns the three residential properties at the intersection.

COVE President Pat Killingsworth, COVE Past-President Martha Pacini, and Mason Mill Civic Association President Mary Hinkle met last week with the Intown Community Church to discuss the intersection. The church was open to the idea and the entire group will be meeting with the county.

The church school also has significant challenges during the week for parents turning into and out of the church.  The church has agreed to provide us with a list of all of the groups that use the church throughout the week so that we can support our case with both the county and Georgia DOT that turning into the church is an issue all week, not just on Sundays.

New Emory Lightning Warning System and More


COVE Board members Emily Koumans and Martha Pacini attended the recent Emory Community Meeting.  Emory has installed lightning detectors on its baseball fields.  A loud horn will sound if there is lightning within a 3-4 mile radius.

Emory is coordinating on construction of a path under the Clairmont Rd bridge (near the VA), linking Starvine Way bike access to the path that goes to Medlock Park through Mason Mill Park.

Also, there will be construction at Emory’s Briarcliff campus (library resources to be housed there).

Report of the Georgia House Annexation, Deannexation, and Incorporation Study Committee


The committee has drafted recommendations concerning improvements to the process related to the creation of new cities and the related impacts. They include:

  • Possible legislation to expand and define a proper legal notice to ensure all local governments are informed including specific definitions of services to be provided.
  • Definition in Georgia Code of “city-lite” municipalities that offer limited services.
  • Maintain that only the population in a proposed city boundary should have the vote on incorporation.
  • Requirement that a proposed city must have a defined map, scope of services, and feasibility study completed the first year of a two-year session.
  • Committee rule changes or new procedures to create annexation sub-committees to determine the impacts on specific school systems, county distribution of services, and impact on the county government and neighboring cities.

The full report is here. It is recommended that you contact the committee members directly with any comments or suggestions. Annex_Deannex_Incorp_FINAL_REPORT

DeKalb County House Delegation Pre-Legislative Town Hall Meetings

December 9,10, and January 7 – 7pm

DeKalb Delegation Meetings


COVE Report – October 13, 2015

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Mason Mill/Victoria Estates/Logan’s Knoll Neighborhood Picnic


This Sunday, October 18th from 4-6 p.m. in W. D. Thomson Park


Residents of Mason Mill, Victoria Estate and the surrounding area are invited to our neighborhood’s annual fall picnic on Sunday, October 18th from 4-6 p.m. in W. D. Thomson Park. The pavilion has been rented, shoppers are lined up to secure provisions, and the grill maestros have been recruited.

Please plan on joining us and bring a favorite dish for 8-10 people, along with your folding chairs, blankets and toys for your kids. You can RSVP via nextdoormasonmill or by email to civicassn@masonmill.org. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the set-up (at 3:30) or the clean-up, let us know by emailing civicassn@masonmill.org. Hope to see you there!


Don’t Forget to Vote! – DeKalb County Election


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


On the ballot for Victoria Estates neighbors:
DeKalb County Board of Ethics Referendum
(Vote for One)
House Bill No. 597
Act No. 204
“Shall the Act be approved which revises the Board of Ethics for DeKalb County?”

LaVista Park Fall Festival


Saturday, October 17: Noon – 4:00 pm
Corner of Wild Creek & Brookforest
• Free food & drinks
• Silent Auction
• Many Raffle Items
• Children’s Activities
Click here

Cityhood Forum

Monday, October 19, 2015, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Young Israel, 2056 Lavista Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329
Sponsored and Moderated by State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and State Senator Elena Parent

Purpose: To provide a structured meeting enabling both sides to present their positions to the public, and for community members to have their questions answered

When: Monday, October 19, from 6:30-8:00 PM. Meeting will start and end on time.

Where: Young Israel of Toco Hills

Please come and hear discussion of this issue so important to our community.

Senate Study Committee on Annexation, De-annexation & Incorporation

Wednesday, October 21: 2:00 -5:00 pm
Tuesday, November 3: 9 AM-12 PM
Room 450 of the Capitol

Sen. Elena Parent has scheduled the last two meetings for the Senate Study Committee on Annexation, De-annexation, and incorporation. More details will follow as the agendas for both are finalized. You can also find the committee documents that have been posted online here
and the notes here
If you have any questions please contact Stephanie Tanner, Legislative Assistant to Sen. Parent, at Stephanie.Tanner@senate.ga.gov

Interim CEO Town Hall Meetings

Lee May is hosting “an up close face to face conversation concerning his Executive Order and the recent report that was released.”

Thursday, October 15: 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Tucker-Cofer Reid Library
5234 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084

Tuesday, October 20: 6:30 – 8:00 pm

2842 H.F. Shepard Drive, Decatur, GA 30032

COVE Report – May 13, 2015

DeKalb Strong Forum

May 14, 7 p.m.
Voter Information Forum

Holy Cross Catholic Church
Fellowship Hall
3773 Chamblee Tucker Road, Atlanta, GA 30341

DeKalb Strong is holding an event to discuss the possible effects of creating a new level of government, as well as other local legislation coming out of the Georgia Assembly this session.

We will be joined by several guests. We will make ample time for questions and discussion. Bring friends and neighbors who are interested in learning about this issue.

Senator Elena Parent – Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, May 14, 6:30pm – 8:00pm


The 2015 Session of the General Assembly ended in early April.  I was honored to have the opportunity to represent you at the Capitol.  Now, the Governor is busy signing the bills the General Assembly passed.
I want to give you a full report regarding the good, the bad, and the ugly legislation we passed.  I’d be honored if you would join me for a town hall Thursday, May 14th at in the cafeteria of Drew Charter Elementary.

The details are below.
Thank you again for your support, and I hope to see you there!


What: Town Hall Meeting
When: Thursday, May 14, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Where: Cafeteria of Drew Charter Elementary School
300 East Lake Boulevard Atlanta, GA 30317

Thomson Park Work Days: May 16, June 13

Greetings neighbors and friends of Thomson Park –
I hope you’ve had a recent opportunity to see how the Park has been shaping up. The new trees, installed during the dreary days of late January, have been spring to life – and leaf – and look fantastic in their new homes around the lower park. The wet weather and the delay in the arrival of serious heat have actually been good for them to get established.
Our volunteer work has continued as well, with monthly work days having continued through the winter and early spring.
Many thanks to the people who have turned out to remove privet, line trails, remove fallen trees from paths, collect trash and storm debris, and plant native azaleas and flowering trees. Thanks also to Mary S for the home-baked goodies, and to April A and Brent B for bringing some of their Girl and Boy Scouts to help. Thanks also to Reed O for his long grueling hours of chain-saw work, and to stalwarts Mary H, Carol U, Carol R and Craig G for also having put in the most volunteer-hours during this past year. Special thanks to Ann H & Suzanne P for donating new flowering trees for around the tennis court area, and to Park Pride for helping supply tools and volunteers for our most recent work day.

Our final two volunteer days before our annual summer hiatus will be Saturdays May 16 and June 13, 9a-12noon.
Please consider helping on May 16 and June 13, either by joining us for a day of work outside, or by contributing snacks and beverages for our workers. (Soon we will be set up to take monetary donations, which we will need for our upcoming projects, including some new stairs, bridges and benches.)
May the pollen and rain soon give way to beautiful park weather!

Patrick Noonan
Coordinator, Friends of Thomson Park

LaVista Hills Yes


Sunday, May 17, 1-7 PM. 
LaVista Hills YES! will be at the Oak Groove Festival on Sunday, May 17, 1-7 PM.  Please join us for a great neighborhood festival with music, art and food!   The festival will be held at the Vista Grove Shopping Center on LaVista Road.  http://lavistahills.nationbuilder.com/



From our Mason Mill Civic Association neighbors:
Please plan to bring your families to our annual spring picnic, rescheduled for Sunday, May 17, in W. D. Thomson Park. We’ll start up the grill about 4:00 and have burgers (beef and veggie) and hot dogs for all to enjoy. We ask that you bring a side dish or dessert.
Please RSVP to civicassn@masonmill.org so we can get a head count for buying supplies. Let us know how many are coming, what dish you are bringing (for about 8 people), and whether or not you can help set us or clean up.

Victoria Estates Ice Cream Social

Sunday May 31 – @ end of Liawen Court

The Victoria Estates Ice Cream Social is set for Sunday, May 31. This is a great way to meet and greet folks in the neighborhood. There is usually entertainment such as bubbles or face painting and a visit from our own “Emory Guard” Station 1 Fire Department equipment (always dependent on the station’s emergencies). More details will follow.

Emory Point – Phase 2

The remaining scheduled phases of the construction are:

·  5/07/15 – 05/15/15: Landscaping
·  05/18/15 – 05/20/15: ADA ramp installation

COVE Report – April 3, 2015

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Novus Die – The Legislative Results

Mason LaVista
The 2015 legislative session has concluded and a portion of the Mason Mill neighborhood remains in the proposed city of LaVista Hills. Should LaVista Hills be approved with the November ballot (only those in the proposed city boundaries can vote), the Mason Mill Civic Association will request de-annexation or annexation of the entire neighborhood. Thank you to those in VE who contacted legislators in support of our sister neighborhood. Here is the Mason Mill announcement from Mary Hinkel:

News From The Mason Mill Civic Association

As many of you know, the Georgia legislature struck a deal to allow a November vote on the new cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker.

Included in the LaVista Hills map are these areas of our neighborhood:
1.           the eastern side of Houston Mill from LaVista to Mason Mill
2.           property parcels on the northern side of Mason Mill between Houston Mill and the park
3.           all of Mason Woods Drive
4.           part of W. D. Thomson Park

(A copy of the agreed-upon map was posted by Patrick Noonan in a conversation stream on nextdoormasonmill. I do not yet have a link to the map that I can provide via Mailchimp.)

Here’s what Senator Parent’s office had to say:
”The boundary still stinks because it was done by census blocks instead of metes & bounds, but it was the only change we could accomplish with the assent of Reapportionment, the LaVista Hills folks, and Sen. Millar.”

Her office is arranging a meeting later in April for Mason Mill and Medlock representatives to talk again with LaVista Hills leaders, but this time the conversation will be about the process and timetable for de-annexing/annexing streets.

We intend to ask for their assistance in either de-annexing the streets/park listed above or fully annexing the entire neighborhood,  no matter which direction a majority of our neighbors wish, and to place W. D. Thomson Park in whichever jurisdiction the Mason Mill neighborhood decides.

After that meeting we’ll have a better understanding of our neighborhood’s future options with regards to cityhood issues.  Please be sure and put the civic association’s business meeting on your calendar for Sunday, May 4th at 4:00 p.m., as I’m sure much of the agenda will focus on this issue and next steps.

Personal Note:
I’d like to thank all of you for your great response to our calls for actions. We know firsthand that emails and calls do matter.

I’d also like to recognize Patrick Noonan for his good thinking and unceasing support and assistance, and Joella Walker for working with me at the state capitol.

And, we all owe a great deal of gratitude to Rep. Oliver and Senator Parent (and their staff) for their tireless efforts on our behalf.

COVE Report – March 24, 2015

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March 25, 2015

Blueprint’s Legislation Passes General Assembly!

Key Reforms for DeKalb County were approved yesterday by the Georgia Legislature.
– Independent Internal Auditor
– Stronger and Improved Ethics Legislation
– Consistent Procurement Policies
These reforms came through the hard work and leadership of Victoria Estates residents Pat Killingsworth and Martha Pacini, and others. Thank you and congratulations! Thank you to the Blueprint DeKalb volunteers, Commissioner Kathie Gannon who was the original organizer for this citizen group, Senator Elena Parent and Representative Scott Holcomb who sponsored the legislation, and to all of you who made calls and wrote letters in support!

Contentious Update to LaVista Hills Map

The border between the proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker has been amended, transferring a significant number of neighborhoods from Tucker to LaVista Hills. The Mason Mill neighborhood has been awkwardly divided with only a portion around Thomson Park being included in LaVista Hills. Victoria Estates remains excluded.

LaVista Hills in Mason Mill







Last year the Georgia Legislature defined a border between LaVista Hills and Tucker to resolve their two initiatives’ disputed areas. At the time both sides agreed to the border and special House Committee Chair, State Rep. Buzz Brockway, stated the line between the two cities was “set in stone.”

Last week, Senator Fran Millar moved that line to capture commercial and residential neighborhoods for LaVista Hills, stating it was due to the wishes of neighborhoods. Rep. Brockway posted a pointed response to Millar’s actions stating that the previous boundary “was to avoid a situation where one city proposal was getting almost everything they wanted and the other was getting very little of what they wanted.” He is now opposed to both the Tucker and LaVista Hills proposals. Buzz Brockway Statement on Revised Maps

Mason Mill Neighborhood Association President Mary Hinkel has expressed concern over the dividing of the neighborhood among municipalities. The last neighborhood poll showed the majority of Mason Mill neighbors preferred to remain in unincorporated DeKalb. The current proposal would add Mason Woods Drive, Thomson Park, the west side of Vistavia Circle, and 1/4 of Mason Mill Rd to LaVista Hills.

Representatives from the Mason Mill Civic Association are working to resolve the matter.

Decaturish Article – Controversial changes to LaVista Hills, Tucker map approved

Atlanta Regional Commission Survey






How will rapid change, innovation and advanced technology, impact metro Atlanta’s future?
In our last survey, you told us how you would prioritize metro Atlanta’s biggest challenges. In The Region’s Plan Survey, Part 2, we want you to consider the importance of:

driverless cars
mobile workplace technology
regional transit expansion
equitable expansion of job centers
Only a few days left to tell us what YOU think should be in #TheRegionsPlan for metro Atlanta.

Take the survey

Atlanta Regional Commission
40 Courtland Street NE—Atlanta, GA 30303
tel. 404.463.3100

Cityhood/County Initiative Links

Blueprint DeKalb

Seeking comprehensive solutions as big as our problems. Governmental transparency is a must. Citizens’ voices count.

DeKalb Strong

DeKalb Strong supports a moratorium on city hood and annexation proposals in DeKalb County to give citizens time to participate in a deliberative, comprehensive, and equitable process for improving DeKalb County governance.

LaVista Hills Yes

LakesideYES and the City of Briarcliff Initiative have collaborated to create a one-city solution for our area of North/Central DeKalb County.

Together in Atlanta

Together in Atlanta is a grassroots effort by neighbors who are seeking annexation into the City of Atlanta.