Decatur City Commission To Reconsider Annexation of Surrounding Areas

A casual conversation with AMB yesterday about potential, future property annexations around Decatur’s edges prompted City Manager Peggy Merriss to follow up with a few developments on the annexation-front over the past couple months.

As AMB mentioned, Mayor Bill Floyd has begun speaking publicly about annexation again this year, most prominently during his State of the City speech back in March.  After a good three year hiatus, Ms. Merriss reports that city staff and the commission are in the beginning stages of considering larger-scale property annexation again.

Though discussions are very preliminary at this point, the city has posted a potential annexation areas map on their website.  (Here’s a link to the PDF if you’re interested in zooming in.)  Most of the areas under consideration include large portions of commercial real estate on the northern edge of the city, along with the United Methodist Children’s Home and a couple residential neighborhoods along the eastern city limits.

Why were these particular areas selected for the map?  Ms. Merriss explains…

The areas to the northeast and northwest extend the City limits to North Decatur Road and incorporate major commercial properties and gateways into the City. The other areas represent neighborhoods that have corresponded with the City to indicate interest and are already working on some type of petition or process.  The last areas are partial lots where the existing city limits bisect the parcel and it’s a matter of bringing them in or taking them out in order to clean up the city limits.

City leaders have made no secret that they’d like to annex around Decatur’s northern border to incorporate more commercial real estate into the city limits.  From a revenue standpoint, residential property is a net loss for the city, because residents on average use more than they pay, while commercial property is a net gain, mainly because those properties don’t add children to the school system.

City leaders will meet in a work session from 6:30-7:30p on Monday, August 20th before the regular City Commission meeting to discuss next steps.  According to City Manager Merriss “At that time we plan on having a report that provides the best analysis we can as to revenues, costs and future opportunities.”

A quick annexation recap for Decatur newbies: Potential costs and revenues were a major consideration back when these larger-scale annexations were considered back in 2008.  However, city residents Judd Owen and Pat Herold discovered errors in a CSD consultant’s data estimating enrollment counts for the potentially annexed areas, upending the cost/revenue estimates created by the city.  The result was a decision by the city commission to back-burner the annexation effort until better data could be compiled.

Sounds like annexation is back on the front-burner.  This should be interesting.

153 thoughts on “Decatur City Commission To Reconsider Annexation of Surrounding Areas”

  1. What commercial properties does this include to the North? Does area A include the Publix-anchored shopping plaza? Does area B include the proposed Wal-Mart redevelopment site?

    1. Judging by the greater detail on the pdf, the answer to your last 2 questions is yes – A includes the shopping center at North Decatur/Clairmont, and B includes Suburban Plaza, the stores along Scott including Ace Hardware, etc.

    2. And also includes the strip centers on either side of Clairmont on the north side of N Decatur Rd.

  2. Looking at the map, it looks like the city would take in the entirety of N. Decatur Road between the Medlock/Scott intersection and Clairmont? (Please, please, please let this be true….)

    I live in the section that’s already inside the limits (as I tend to mention, occasionally) and I would *so* love it if the road in that stretch were to be maintained by CoD.

  3. One small clarification: Residential property, in and of itself, is not a net loss to the city. That burden lies with the occupants, not the building type. Residences with some number of kids become tax negative at some point but those with a sole occupant or a couple or pretty much any other childless scenario are all typically tax positive.

    That’s why a “residential neighborhood” like the Artisan, which is less attractive to families, is tax-positive while a neighborhood of single family homes, which does attract families, would probably pencil out in the red.

    Of course, anyone with kids knows they can get expensive…

    1. Yes, of course. Should have clarified.

      That reminds me…saw another stroller come out of the Artisan the other day! Think we need a new kid tally for the downtown condos.

      1. It is true. While not overflowing with kids yet, the number of school-aged kids (some of whom attend CSD) living at The Artisan has been growing.

        1. Thanks! How many do you estimate currently GBK? This was a common conversation topic among annexation freaks a while back and it’d be good to have the inside scoop!

          1. Kids at The Artisan who attend CSD? Fewer than ten at the moment, I’d say, but the number seems to have doubled in the past year. There are some homeschoolers, some private schoolers, and many babies/preschoolers. Will the young families stay in a condo as their kids get older? The answer used to be no, but I sense the trend will change and that the percentage that stay will increase over the next few years.

  4. oooh – please let this happen! We would love to finally “join” the city we already feel part of! It’s weird to have our little bit of Sycamore ‘chopped off’ from Decatur proper. (Crossing fingers)

  5. Count me as totally against annexation. I have yet to see an argument in 25 years plus here that makes me think it is a good idea.

    1. You’re against annexation under any circumstance?

      In terms of CoD in these instances, I think it would make a lot of sense if it is able to annex the commercial areas that will bring in additional tax revenue. And in terms of the wonky city limits in certain areas, it would make sense to have more uniformity to simplify provision of services – trash collection and police response immediately come to mind.

      The weird config of the panhandle at the top of the city (aka the ‘top hat’ as one of my neighbors calls it) means that at least one street has both ends inside the city while the houses in the middle are outside. I always thought that must be a pain for administrators to try to manage that. They are essentially already providing service in that area already, it would seem to be only a small incremental cost to provide services to those houses, which should be offset or more than offset by the additional property tax revenue.

      1. I am VERY against any residential annexation and am very leery of commercial. With the amount of building and teardowns and single lots getting subdivided, we cannot handle new residents created by annexation in this city right now and need to carefully consider if we ever will be able to handle them. As for the split streets and split lots, there are very few of them and I have never heard anyone except the people who live on those streets in unincorporated DeKalb complain. The city has never discussed difficulty managing it and that has never been a reason for annexation. The complaints have been both pro and anti annexation, by the way.

        1. Why are you leery of commercial annexation? How else can the City acquire more revenue without incurring costs that equal or exceed the increase? As the proportion of residential households with children continues to grow, the economics become less viable.

          1. I guess because how do we make sure a property remains commercial and not mixed use with 5,000 3 year olds? Also, doesn’t it seem predatory to suck up all the commercial land?

            1. Zoning will take care of the usage issue. And yes, it might be a little predatory to annex commercial spaces, but the law make it relatively easy, so until the law gets changed …. (BTW, same thing happened between Decatur and Avondale, if you recall).

            2. I don’t think anyone wants to overwhelm the school system. And the benefit of the last annexation exercise is that now everyone is well aware of the potential negative effects of too much residential annexation.

              Pat and Judd have been real quiet today. I picture them deep in a bat cave type lair going through some giant blueprint size papers and murmuring in low voices.

              So exciting!

              1. I’ve been out of town. I think Judd is still out of town.

                But I’m sure we’ll enjoy reviewing the numbers when they are made available.

                In our review of the last analysis it was clear the school number did not work. We did not need to consider the increased costs associated with city services (police, fire, etc.). In quickly reviewing the proposed areas and previous analysis, it is unlikely that B-1, C-1, C-2 or D improve our financial condition. Although I’ll be interested to learn what savings in city expenses can be garned in these areas along with updated property tax data.

                As for A, it’s likely that this area is financially positive for both city and school budgets. However, it may result in a decrease of our fire rating (ISO Protection Class 2) due to increased distances. (Any experts out there?) A change in classification may have a negative impact on insurance rates for existing commercial property owners. If this plan includes another fire/police station, there are obvious financial implications.

                As for B, the prior analysis indicated a slightly positive financial impact for the schools, however our analysis at that time did not consider increased city costs (or the value of decreased city services to current residents). At that time we were not aware of the property being redeveloped as a Walmart., – So I’ll be interested to see how that factors into the revised analysis.

                But this is just math and I’m sure we’ll be able to figure it out.

                Like many here I have a concern for the schools funding and enrollment.

                I’m also concerned about the strategic direction of our city. It seems as though we are standing with our backs to the city center looking to the ‘gateways’. Clearly the progress is to be admired and respected.

                I’ve not yet heard a reason to take our eyes off the ball. I like the fact that our community looks to the center (and yes the awesome Oakhurst). What will out city be like if we’re focused on redeveloping our new ‘gateways’, responding to shoplifting complaints, patrolling Kinkos and two significant intersections?

                What is wrong with our current city limits? Which Decatur citizens are disadvantaged by them?

                I hope that we’ll see a balanced review of the question. I’d like to hear a more clear articulation of what is driving this interest.

                From our strategic plan – “Explore annexation options in partnership with the City Schools
                of Decatur that expand the property tax base and enhance school operations.”

                So if it’s just about the math, that’s one thing. Anyhow. Thanks for everyone’s opinion and view I’m sure as a community we’ll come to the right conclusion.

              2. Writing from the chilly NC mountains … just outside Bat Cave, NC, actually! My initial response is shaped by the findings of last year’s CSD committee looking at enrollment projections. (Bear with me.) My main take-away from that committee was this: Largely as a result of the big reconfiguration several years ago, we are in the middle (and still very much in the middle) of a demographic shift (i.e. more school age children) in the neighborhoods that were once served by the K-5 schools of College Heights, 5th Ave, Oakhurst, and Glennwood. We are still far from the end of that shift, which means we can expect further substantial increases to our school-age population within the current city limits. A considerable challenge for CSD.

                Regarding the proposed annexation: It is possible to find out how many DeKalb public school students are in the proposed annexation areas as of today. Those areas would then begin the demographic shift that neighborhoods like Oakhurst and Glennwood are in the middle of. So my guess is that a big question for CSD in examining this proposal will be not only cost per pupil and property tax revenue calculation, but the costs and basic feasibility of finding classroom space on day one and over the next 5-15 years of the demographic shift.

                In any case, we all learned a lot last time around about what questions to ask and how to go about getting answers. ANd as Pat points out, there are other relevant questions on the City side of the equation we didn’t look into last time that will need examining, and the answer to whether annexation makes sense for Decatur residents will vary depending on which proposed area is in question. I’m sure all the numbers will be closely vetted. The more daylight, the better the decisions.

                1. I love the comment “The more daylight, the better the decisions.” It’s much better put than how I’ve expressed this thought so I’m going to save this quote and use it in the future (crediting Judd, of course).

                2. Thanks Judd and Pat! Glad the bat signal worked!

                  Judd, one question for now…how did you determine that the Decatur neighborhoods are still in the middle of the transition? I mean, that’s what it feels like to me too, but was/is there a statistical way to show/verify that?

            3. “Also, doesn’t it seem predatory to suck up all the commercial land?” —

              (1) No, it does not seem predatory to me. We need to make up for the relatively large proportion of our city that’s occupied by county buildings and churches.
              (2) “All the commercial land” from what? It’s not like we’re about to scarf up the whole county.

              Again: If we take annexation off the table, then what should the City do in response to the growing imbalance between revenue-negative and revenue-positive households?

              1. Have the revenue negative households pay for their kids education rather than requiring others to subsidize it.

                1. That “argument” is nothing but absurd. Part of living in a society that actually works and has some equity is paying for that society.

                  1. If I have no kids and you earn more and are wealthier than I am, how does my subsidizing your kid’s education make our community more equitable? Our method of funding education allows for this exact situation. While we should all share the cost of education, I don’t believe our current funding system is sustainable. Our school system encourages revenue negative families to move to Decatur. Eventually there won’t be enough revenue positive households left to make up the funding shortfall created by this demographic change.

                    1. This is exactly why the city must annex commercial (aka revenue positive) properties. If the tax burden was borne solely by residences, the system would have collapsed long ago.

                    2. Nobody in my family has every been in prison, but I still have to pay to feed and house prisoners. Folks without cars still pay for roads. Agree with Nelliebelle (and George Costanza) on this one: “We’re living in a society here!”

                2. Agree with Nellie here. Economic considerations aside, it is to my benefit as a person to live in a community where children are growing up, and to have those children be educated as well as socialized. I don’t mind ponying up a share of what that costs. But we know hh’s with children consume more than they contribute in city revenue; and we know the population of hh’s with children is booming, even without residential annexation, which means they are replacing hh’s without children. The model is not sustainable — more money has to come from somewhere.

                  1. Can we be so sure that hh’s with children cost more than they bring in? What about families moving into these 600-700k homes all over town? They would be a net gain, right? So even if the annexed areas now contain lower-valued properties, this would likely be at least partially offset by the slight increase in the index city-wide and the construction of very expensive homes.

                    There must be a formula which includes property value plus # of children that could help us debate this issue with more clarity. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?

                    1. Decatur schools spend about $7k per student. Some of that may come from state funds, so the burden on the city taxpayers may be a little lower, but it indicates that most households with at least 1 kid in the schools are revenue negative.

                      I’ve got 3 in the schools, and live in a house comparable to the price range you mentioned. It is an absolute steal for us. We pay about $10k a year in city taxes, but would cost us $40k a year at a comparable private school.

                    2. And that’s not even counting the Rec facilities and programs, which by and large offer a lot more benefit to hh’s with children than to single adults like me. Not saying we shouldn’t invest in the Rec department, it is also something that raises the quality of life for everybody regardless of whether/how they individually use it. But there is absolutely no question that it takes a village to provide the community infrastructure that children need.

                    3. And you know what, TeeRuss? I like you anyway!

                      Seriously, your comment is a great example of how evaluating annexation by looking at areas in the abstract and setting up assumption models to measure cost/benefit is one thing. But once the conversation devolves to the level of individual households and their propensity to breed or not breed and, if breed, then how much, is seriously disturbing. It really strikes me as diametrically opposed to the ideals of community that are supposed to define this town.

                      I refuse to cast a suspicious eye at people with children. This is a strong community. Yes, many folks may get a darn good deal for 12 or so years but, in the process, many will also put down roots that will keep them here until the day they die, which leaves them funding other kids’ educations for decades to come.

                      Have some more kids for all I care, TeeRuss. I’ll happily send over some cigars.

                    4. Thanks for these helpful responses. The latest tentative city budget ( suggests that roughly 25% of school expenditures come from state or federal sources. If I’m not reading this wrong, and if the 7K figure is accurate, the amount city residents pay per child would be closer to 5K/child, right? That still means a lot of revenue negative households, of course…

                    5. TeeRuss, you forgot the interest you pay annually on the $100k – $200k more you paid for your house to live in CoD. But, I made the same analysis and, even factoring in the interest, came to the same conclusion (although I currently only have 1 kid in the schools).

                      Scott, a personal cost/benefit analysis is not mutually exclusive from community ideals. Rather, they are both factors to be considered in evaluating whether one wants to live here. I am one of the people who intend to stay in Decatur even after my kids are out of the schools. I may be the recipient now, but I will be the donor years down the road.

                    6. Thanks for looking that up, OR. I was betting the cost/child to be about $5k. If I recall correctly that 60% of our tax dollar goes to the school system, then it takes 3-4 people like me (living in $300-450k houses, paying $4-5k annually in tax) to help foot the bill for schooling Tee’s 3 kids. Again, I don’t have a problem with that in principle. But the reality is that the tax bill is increasingly burdensome for many, and those of us with limited resources and no kids have to examine the wisdom of staying. If we leave, it’s extremely likely we’ll be replaced by hh’s with kids. They’ll pay more in than we do, but they’ll take out more than they pay in.

                    7. I wasn’t talking about a household level cost/benefit analysis as it relates to one’s own choices, DawgFan. That’s fine. I meant in terms of how we look at people potentially joining the city through annexation and, ultimately, how we look at each other. Evaluating the pros and cons of annexation in the aggregate makes good sense. Getting down to the level of “Lose one of the kids and maybe we’ll talk” makes me squeamish.

                      I believe there are a lot of people like you (and me, and TeeRuss) who will stay once our children are grown, becoming empty nesters who help keep our schools strong for subsequent generations and that’s why I feel the way I do. STG makes good points about the viability of people staying here but I believe many of those concerns can be addressed in other ways — most notably, more variety in housing types for more options at more (including lower) price points.

                    8. “Getting down to the level of “Lose one of the kids and maybe we’ll talk” makes me squeamish.”

                      Well said.

              2. The simple answer to address this “imbalance” is to raise taxes on yourselves, and not seek out unwilling annexation targets to help fund Dectaur’s very expensive government. (Looks like Sam beat me to it.)

                1. Has it been established that the areas in question are “unwilling”? There are certainly some comments here indicating that at least some in the proposed areas are in favor. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out, especially around Suburban Plaza, given some of the recent sentiments that DeKalb government either couldn’t or wouldn’t bring all the parties together and work towards different growth goals.

                  I agree that we shouldn’t absorb communities that flat-out want no part of it but, if they do and it can be part of a scenario where we (the city) benefit financially from the transaction, I’m open to the idea of exploring it.

                  1. I agree we should not absorb communities that flat-out want no part of it but that’s exactly what we did when we annexed the commercial strip along College. I think you were referring to residential annexation but I think the commercial areas are part of the community too. As I understand, if an area is over 50% residential they get to vote to join or not. If an area’s commercial and the legislature (really the DeKalb delegation) approves, the area is annexed even if all of the parcel owners are opposed.

                    1. I think that’s the case, Sam, and agree it can be unfair, but it’s definitely on a case-by-case basis. For example, with the Sam’s Crossing area you mention, all the commercial landowners on the Decatur side are apparently on board. Next week, the city commission will vote to approve rezoning on each parcel to be more in line with city goals. That rezoning will increase each property owner’s redevelopment options, up their returns potential and increase their resale value, while all existing uses are grandfathered until such time that the landowners want to exercise their new options. It’s a no-lose scenario.

                      I’m not so sure on the Avondale side of the line, however, as I don’t know what AE intends to do in terms of new zoning and whether or not the new designation will be favorable to landowners. It may be one of those instances you mention, where owners get reamed and have no say in the process. I would be against that.

              3. It is nothing but predatory. We are annexing these commercial properties for the sole reason of taking more money from the landowners, and they have absolutely no say in whether or not they get annexed. They are defenseless prey.

                Regarding your first point, it is not the responsibility of the owners of these commercial properties which may be annexed to “make up for” anything the city of Decatur does. They aren’t a part of the existing city, and have no control over CoD’s choices or demographics.

                Your second argument is moot. The amount of property being annexed isn’t the issue. (For the record, if this goes forward, I wish CoD would annex both sides of Scott all the way to QT. Almost every building in that stretch from North Decatur to 78 needs to be demolished or have a substantial facelift.)

                I am still evaluating the proposal (and need more info), so I can’t tell you if I am for or against it. But, we need to frame the debate correctly, and the annexation of these commercial properties is 100% predatory.

                1. Opportunistic? Of course. Predatory? No, because the annexed properties receive something in return for the taxes they pay. Besides which, “taking more money from the landowners” is not always the only motivation for annexing a commercial tract. Sometimes it is also pursued in order to bring zoning and/or other regulation into play in order to alleviate blight. Oh, but wait, you are fully aware of that, since you’d like to see Scott swept clean and made pretty all the way out to the QT.

                2. But context is everything, Dawgfan. In this context, annexing the commercial properties in question is “predatory” in the same way that a cheetah catching a gazelle, giving it a big hug, feeding it a nice meal and then sending it on its way is “predatory.”

                  That is, all the identified commercial properties, based on their character and location, would end up being zoned by Decatur in a way that constitutes an up-zoning — a scenario where the land’s development value, and thus resale value, is increased through no action on the part of the landowner. This is because Decatur would see those gateway locations as neighborhood hubs where more complete environments (beyond just strip malls) is appropriate.

                  So yes, they’ll pay more taxes. But there’s value there, either when they redevelop or when they sell. They’re not gonna be victims, I guarantee.

                  1. I guess perception is reality, and I was looking at this from the commercial property owner’s point of view. I am currently representing a commercial property owner who is, for lack of a better term, resisting annexation by another metro city. He sees absolutely no value in being in the city, and only sees the increased tax liability which he can’t pass on to his tenant given the current tenant friendly market conditions. I am assuming (clearly I have no way of knowing) that many of the targets of Decatur feel the same way. Otherwise, they would have already petitioned to be annexed into the city. Just curious, but do you think Ace Hardware being located only a couple hundred yards from the city line is coincidental?

                    You and STG may both me right about receiving something in return. But, that something may not be worth the costs to the property owners, and they get no say. Maybe this is a “gift” they don’t want. Reminds me of the “free” dog that was given to one of my friend’s kids.

                    1. “Maybe this is a “gift” they don’t want. Reminds me of the “free” dog that was given to one of my friend’s kids.”

                      Now that’s funny. And yeah, without any deeper specifics, this is about as far as these theoreticals can go. As of right now, benefit to the commercial land owners is a maybe/maybe not question to be answered.

        2. I am with nelliebelle here on residential annexation. A quick very non scientific guess shows about a 10% increase in residential lots with this picture. This number of kids impacting our schools percentage could easily jump higher when you factor in the vacuum effect of CSD (cheaper property values in the edgy- to-be-annexed areas, attracting households with multiple kids to rent/buy them and all go to school). This could really overload our schools if we are not careful. You can count kids all day in the old census data and not predict who will show up if conditions change for a street. I have yet to hear a reason why we should do this. One of the best things about the schools is that they are a reasonable size. Let’s not mess that up.

          1. ok I will open up a can of worms here. If I am reading the map correct they are considering annexing the children’s home on columbia, right? How about the high number of special needs kids from the children’s home? some will argue that it is our moral obligation to help, but can we afford to take that on? what is the cost to our kids? will this over burden our system? The children’s home provides no tax income (I think, please correct me if I am wrong, I am guessing that some state funding follows the children but is that enough?). Has this been considered? We are a small system and already have a large number of special needs kids. Their teachers do a great job, but how much more can they absorb? I do not want to be the meanie that brings this up but let’s look at this carefully.

            1. Before annexation starts, perhaps a survey could go around to find out if there are any blind, autistic, mentally challenged, or other special needs children in the household. And we could avoid annexing that particular home, and only go for all the expensive ones, and property around it.

              1. yeah I know how it sounds, but we are a small system and I am not convinced that we can afford to take on the burden of the childrens home. how many kids does this mean? what are their issues? what will it do to our schools? the dollars have to come from somewhere. you can paint me as a meanie if you want, but we have to find a way to make $$ sense of it.

                1. Anne, you make excellent points, and I don’t think you are being a “meanie” at all. I agree we need some more info.

                2. I’ll happily take the million in commercial taxes from Dekalb for my kid’s benefit, but if it means using any of my new found riches, to help any other children, well…

    2. I support annexation of the Walmart property just so that I’ll be able to feel all good about shopping “local”.

  6. Ha! I was totally against this last time… but we recently joined the CoD. The city line runs through my house and we wanted to send my daughter to Renfroe.
    While I was prepared for the bump in property taxes, what I didn’t expect was to still be paying the county $1,000 on top of that for my front yard and the first 25 ft. of my house (Can anyone in a comparable situation comment if this is normal?).
    This might solve my problem, as I was telling my wife we should ask to be totally annexed by the city…

    1. We have 10 x 10 feet of our front yard inside but we only pay Decatur $8.50 a year for it! But I don’t think we could send a kid to school in Decatur for that amount. Our neighbor tried it and was turned down… they had to fully annex to attend. You must have a large enough percentage to qualify.

      1. You actually have to pay 100 sq ft of taxes???? You better damn well get 100 sq ft of services. That’s ridiculous.

          1. I just think it is silly that someone who will get zero benefit has to pay taxes to two jurisdictions. I guess we can let 10×10 call itself Decatur!

            1. I’m sure it costs them that much just to mail us our TWO bills each year and process the payments! Incidentally, what would $8.50 worth of services look like? Maybe I could go have lunch in the cafeteria at Renfroe?

              I did get a City benefit once. We used to have the Decatur city limits sign in our yard, but one night about 1am, I watched someone steal it. After waiting over a year for them to replace it, I emailed the City and asked if someone could at least come remove the empty pole from our yard. They told me there was no reason for a City sign to have ever been there and I must be mistaken. So I sent them the Google street view pic of our house that clearly shows the sign. No one ever responded to that, but they did come by and remove the pole the next day. That’s prompt service! DeKalb would have taken at least 6 months.

    2. I am with you on this. I do not see how we can have the city/non-city line running halfway on a parcel. It should either be in the city or not. It makes no sense that some households can pick which school to use. The school dollars (and kids) should go entirely to one or the other. Why should a property owner hat pays only part of the city school taxes get to let all the kids from that house go to our schools yet some of their dollars go to dekalb schools, not decatur. This should be fixed. Those houses should make a choice and their kids and tax dollars should go to the same school system.

  7. Bring it! I live on a split lot on a split street and it all seems sort of ridiculous to manage. If this means we can finally get speed bumps to reduce the number of cut-through drivers, I am all for it. They can use the extra funds raised from annexing my revenue-positive household to pay for them!

  8. Whassup with annexing the east side of Mellrich? It’s tough here on Winter Avenue to have the city line running through the center of the street, but given the history here (Mrs. Winter of Kirkwood sold the land that became Oakhurst in 1910) it makes a sort of sense.

    But annexing the east side of Mellrich from Atlanta seems merely to make the problem worse. Back in the 20th century governments on each side of our street claimed any problems belonged to the other side. (They don’t anymore.)

    And consider the valuation implications. Right now a house on the Decatur side of Winter is worth $350, one on the west (Atlanta) side just $200k. Despite those houses being identical.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like paying lower taxes in Atlanta, while having all the shops of Oakhurst in easy walking distance. But I think current residents might like a more detailed explanation of this…someone may be making some easy money here…

    1. Since you don’t seem to be trembling with ecstasy at the thought of being included in the Decatur school system, I’m betting you don’t have kids. If that is the case, then yes, they are looking for easy money and will suck you dry to pay for educating and entertaining the ever-growing population of youngsters. :d

      1. That sounds fair enough. But I think the implied $150K instant equity hike sounds like pretty “easy money” too. That kind of cash would go a long way toward setting up house a little farther over in Kirkwood…

    2. An actual Mellrich resident can correct me if I am wrong, but I think the properties on the east side of Mellrich currently have a small portion of their backyard in CoD, with the majority of their property (including the actual homes) in City of Atlanta. I think that is why they are flagged in this analysis. I guess CoD would like to clean that up by placing the properties either entirely in Atlanta or Decatur.

  9. Based on the map I see that half of our neighborhood, Midway Woods, would be included while the other half would be left out. I would love to see them annex the entire neighborhood instead of taking it piece by piece. Based on the current map it looks like they may be intentionally avoiding several streets in Midway Woods (the south-eastern portion of the map). Scores of my neighbors would love to see our whole neighborhood included. What can be done to make this happen? Who are the proper officials to contact?

  10. As usual, Decatur is up to it’s old elitist tricks again. The south side of this annexation, which none of you consider important, splits Midway Woods up again. We lobbied strong for the whole neighborhood to be included last time. I guess City Leaders forgot that conversation? Forgot the in person conversations we had last go round? What city expansion should not do is become separatist and split neighborhoods. You either take all of the neighborhood or none of it. I know there are plenty of you already experiencing this but let me tell you why it’s egregious to do it the way Decatur is doing it in Midway Woods. Like many surrounding neighborhoods to Decatur, Midway Woods has experienced phenomenal growth of new neighbors and gentrification. It’s been good for everyone! Children of the old neighbors have benefited from safer, cleaner and healthier streets and neighbors. All neighbors have benefited from increased property values (until the crash of course) and a decrease in crime (which anyone who knows me, knows I spent the first 3 years of my existence in the neighborhood leading the fight for a 20 year old drug problem and yes putting it pretty much in hibernation).

    Last time we went through this annexation process it was stopped because the south side of Midway Woods had too many children who were “special burdens” on the Decatur School system and so that was one of the reasons the annexation was abandoned. I know this for a fact. It is an inside baseball fact but it comes from a highly reliable source. I will not go on ad naseum about how unneighborly it is or how hypocritical it is for lovely Decatur to say your children are okay but you other neighbors…your children aren’t. I know Decaturites will defend that decision to certain death but here are the cold hard facts: you want a better community than build a better community. Take on some burdens and fix them. Don’t avoid them and play favorites. Include everyone!

    Splitting the neighborhood will pit neighbors against neighbors. Is that how you want to start an expansion? Annexation tears apart neighborhoods already and now you are giving them an additional reason to split and argue and fight?

    And those special needs children that were such a burden? Well the biggest problem has left the neighborhood. He has been pulled from his house. I was personally involved with that one. See if Decatur was considering annexation beyond anything except “we need more money”, then they would understand that it is our moral responsibility as any community to serve all the neighbors and educate all children not just pick the neighbors with the kids we want in our school system.

    If you want to understand what this feels like for neighborhood leaders let’s do the reverse. We will take half of Winnona out of Decatur and make it part of unincorporated DeKalb. Do you think Winnona neighbors would have a problem with that?

    Also, in regards to home valuation, the neighbor who stated that net value is dependent on number of kids. You are right but there is also another consideration. The hard facts are that if your house valued is over $200,000 then the City of Decatur comes out ahead. Since most Decaturites believe the end of world happens at Kirk Road and you fall into an abyss, let me educate you. Out of 750 homes in Midway Woods about 40 to 45% are valued over $200,000 and of that 30% (that’s 12% of the total house inventory) are over $400,000. So Decatur makes out fine on the money.

    Midway Woods has a strong neighborhood identity. It has spent the last 20 years building community, fighting the good fight, creating collaboration and co-operation. We are a neighborhood. Do we have 100% participation? No. But we have enough neighbors that have created enough identity that we should be treated as a cohesive unit not North and South which is how the current map divides us. Decatur leaders I implore you do the right thing redraw the maps and let everyone in the neighborhood vote.

    Beth Bond
    Midway Woods Rabble Rouser

    1. Why don’t we just not annex any part of your neighborhood? You just made the argument why we should not. Our school system is already overburdened, period. We don’t need all these additional children in our system, period, special needs or not. Your neighborhood is revenue negative, and no, the city does not come out ahead when your homes full of children lead us to build tons of new schools and add trailers all over our tiny campuses.

      My youngest is considered disabled, BTW, and CHECLC and Suzanne Kennedy have been wonderful.

      1. What you see as anger is really frustration. You may live on the south side of Decatur but that is not the same as living next to Decatur where we were ignored by City of Decatur residents (not all but a large majority) on the Avondale Wal-Mart issue to name just one. Now that Wal-Mart has come to north of Decatur it’s like the entire city should be offended that Wal-Mart would come that close Decatur.

        Yes, I am glad that elitist has struck a chord because I think it would serve Decaturites a chance to step back and reflect on how your citizens do come off on these blogs and public meetings.

        Another example? When apartments, not condos, were going to come to the old Wachovia buidling next to CVS, I attended a public meeting where neighbors stood up and complained that apartment dwellers would bring crime. Really? Only apartment dwellers bring crime. Are they subhuman?

        Now, we have to suffer through our children have more important needs than yours. The truth is on my street of 100 houses only 20 houses have children. It’s hard to listen to how our neighborhood would send Decatur schools into a spiral of decay. Oh but wait we only want the north half of the neighborhood. Maybe you should reread the comments with my rose colored lenses.

        1. “We only want the north half of the neighborhood.”

          Beth, correct me if I’m wrong, but your whole premise is based on the assertion that Decatur WANTS to annex part of Midway Woods. But the City Manager’s words above say differently. “The other areas represent neighborhoods that have corresponded with the City to indicate interest and are already working on some type of petition or process.”

          Do you believe that she is not telling the truth? Because otherwise it sounds like this is more of an internal issue within Midway Woods, where some residents of your neighborhood want to be part of Decatur despite any fracturing of the existing community.

          1. There are some parents who have requested it. But to the best of my knowledge the neighborhood association has not made a formal request. In addition, there are just as many parents on the south side of Midway who want in and yet they were left out.

        2. Yes, I agree.

          It is frustrating and unproductive when people say foolish and off-putting things while discussing neighborhood politics.

      2. Neilliebelle, I don’t have that right you see? Decatur gets to swoop in and decide what’s in their best interest and not ask the residents before they draw lines. I would hope you see the reason in my dissent. The voters in the end will get to choose but only those that Decatur has deemed Decatur worthy.

        1. I don’t think ANY of Midway Woods should be annexed…. residential annexation is the last thing Decatur needs.

          1. I’m with Nellie Bellie… I don’t think ANY significant residential should be added, north or south of College Ave.. And… I don’t care if the Queen of England’s children live there… We don’t have room for them. It’s a space issue …. not an elitist issue. CSD is absolutely brimming over with kids, and more are coming every year at every grade level.

            Beth is absolutely right. splitting Midway Woods is not the right move…

            and adding all of Midway Woods is completely unfeasible. Decatur should leave that whole neighborhood alone….

            And I still don’t get the benefit of adding the Methodist Home? What does that do for Decatur, exactly? Beth, help me with this.

        2. Husband and I sold our home in Midway Woods 4 years ago and moved into City of Decatur after it appeared that our annexation hopes wouldn’t come to fruition. At that time, it was apparent that many Midway residents didn’t want to be annexed because of increased property taxes. We loved many of our neighbors and were sad to leave. However, we knew we were facing two major obstacles 1) convincing a majority of Midway residents that annexation was a net positive, and 2) convincing the city to annex us.

        3. I live in Forrest Hills and second you, Beth. I was not going to say anything because it is futile. But we are definitely being descriminated against. It is blatant discrimination. Hopefully I don’t offend any of your Decaturites, but if you look at it rationally you would agree. I have been angry since I read about it, but have just been laid off by the DCSS and other issue are on my mind.FH is almost surrounded by either City of Decatur or Avondale. COD was careful not to included all of Midway Woodsor by law they would have to annex us also. Of course COD wants to annex the houses north of the city because they are more expensive houses. Better people live there. I believe that Decatur is becoming very elitist. That is shame because I have always loved it and have lived in the city or close by for the past 30 years. They would also have to annex the neighborhood on Katy Kerr and the one south of E College. I do not have children that are in school. I don’t want to send kids there, but I think we should be treated equally with others north of the city. Our houses are well kept. It is not a slum.

          1. “COD wants to annex the houses north of the city because they are more expensive houses”
            I think you need to take a drive around the Medlock area. I believe you’d find the neighborhood comparable to yours.

            1. Steve, you are absolutely right. But, COD is not attempting to annex Medlock. The houses are south of N. Decatur Rd.

                1. Steve, I have driven around the area many times. You are right but the overall value of he homes in that area are greater than FH. This is due to location and better schools in the area between Scott and N. Decatur. If I can find a house I can afford, I will move to Decatur, but that is debatable that I will find one.

          2. How is not annexing your house discrimination? That’s bizarre and cheapens the concept.

              1. It’s unfortunate that the conversation has to devolve to this level. My handy desktop dictionary defines “discrimination” thusly: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

                That’s simply not what’s happening here.

                The bottom line is that annexation is a transaction. A means to broader goals. Different areas bring different things to the table which make them more or less viable as a tool for reaching that goal. The driver here is the city’s desire to increase its commercial property digest to provide further revenue for the operation of the city. The bulk of the residential areas you see are chosen because they play some role in that goal — perhaps politically, perhaps as it relates to connectivity or something else.

                My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that the Children’s Home is included because, if the pilot Urban Market Garden becomes something on a much larger scale, it would be nice to have regulatory control over the property. So that’s another goal.

                The question that should be debated is whether or not, at the end of the day, there’s a net positive or loss for the city. That’s what the city is evaluating. Instead of saying “We’re being victimized,” you should be reflecting on what you can bring to the table (such as documented neighborhood consensus, for starters) that might make for a meaningful negotiation with the city.

                Strip it down to the basics of what it is: business. (And I’m emphatically not saying whether that makes it good or bad. I’m just pointing out what it is.)

                1. Very well said, Scott. I hope someone can articulate here the benefits (political, commercial, fiscal, etc.) FOR THE CITY of annexing these residential areas.

                2. Nicely stated Scott. I recently moved to Decatur from a nearby area which will never be annexed. It cost 150K more to buy a house here than where we use to live a couple miles away. That is not discrimination but business. I sympathize with wishing to be annexed, but to call it discrimination is just plain silly. Do you really think that it is your right to be part of Decatur? You bought or rented your home in unincorporated dekalb and now you are upset? You need to live with your choice. If an area is annexed, that is a gift, not a right. (unless you don’t wish to be annexed. But for homeowners, it is a big bump in property value which I consider a gift).

                  Why should we annex these areas? What do they give to our city, what do they cost our city? How does it benefit/cost the annexees (is that a word)? If the Urban Market plot idea is thrown in there, let’s be clear and understand the cost to our schools. Maybe a large scale annexation would have a better shot at going through than say just area B? Let’s get the reasoning on the table so we can look at the big picture. I hope people will be able to discuss the entire cost/benefit situation without turning it into a emotional issue.

                3. Discriminate is to separate or differentiate according to my dictionary. There are other ways to discriminate beyond race, sex, religion, etc.

                  1. You may need a new dictionary. Yes, that is one definition of discriminate, but it is clearly not the meaning you were using in your original post. By your logic, every decision anyone makes would be discriminatory. If I choose option A, I am showing a preference for A and discriminating against B.

                    I am not saying you don’t have a reason to be upset about they way you perceive your community is being treated. But, it isn’t discrimination.

                    1. Let me clarity. We in 30030 that are not included are being separated from the rest of 30030 for whatever the reason is. To me that is discrimination. Recently this area was boxed in on the north by the annexation of the E College street business section. To the east is Avondale and to the west is Decatur. Decatur is annexing part of Midway but not enough to box us in. If they did this, they would have to annex us.

                4. Steve,

                  Let me thoughtfully put it this way. Some of what you say is correct but when talking about Cities it is not all business. As a public entity when annexation happens financial should be a critical consideration but not the only consideration. Community must be a critical part of the decision. And although people might think I am against annexation I am not or was not. I am only advocating that the annexation be just. Dividing a neighborhood is not just. If you think what I am saying is we are being “victimized” then you are missing my point.

                  And once again my concerns about the way citizens of Decatur talk about themselves with sentences like “What do they give to our city, what do they cost our city?” The truth is many folks who live in Midway feel like the City of Decatur is their city even though we don’t vote for your council. They spend plenty of money in Decatur, some of us volunteer regularly. I will not go into the long list of things I do for Decatur citizens through my volunteer tiem. I don’t want NellieBelle to think I am looking for praise but if Decatur government choses to pick us or in this case half of us why should we have to defend the right be a part of Decatur? When you bought your house in Decatur did you have to fill out a form telling them why you were Decatur “worthy”? No. So once again the judging of Decatur citizens vs. non-Decaturites comes across loud and clear.

                  When this issue came up 2 years ago I was excited to work to be part of Decatur but listening to all this and what was said 2 years ago just proves to me that although I thought people who lived in Decatur were like me tolerant, community oriented, giving and just people that they are really just like everyone else: judging, protectionist and petty.

                  1. I assume you are responding to me, though my name is Scott. I didn’t have any particular thoughts on what you were saying, as my comment was responding to JEM, who was accusing the city of discrimination. I didn’t think that was a very effective negotiating tactic for getting anything for one’s self or broader neighborhood. Still don’t.

                    In response to your comments, I’ve argued on DM many times in the past for both the quantitative and qualitative value of “community” and that it should always be a component in value analysis. I did not say anything contrary to that above, so I need not defend my beliefs here. I only laid out what the city is evaluating at this point and suggested that kicking off an effort to influence how that process plays out by calling your negotiating partner discriminators, petty protectionists, elitists or anything else is probably not a very effective way of getting what you want.

                    The city’s responsibility is to its residents. If you have something to offer to add to their ability to exercise that, by all means spell it out.

                    1. Scott,

                      Sorry for not addressing it to the right person. I was engaging Steve yesterday and got confuzzled ;0)

                      I will start out by saying that except for this blog (and some of that is my fault because I have purposely chosen to use language that insults), I am a well respected member of not only my neighborhood, Decatur, DeKalb but also the greater sustainability community in the Southeast but this is not about Beth Bond being part of Decatur or not. I would also like to point out that I am the only one who is using their full name on this discussion so people know exactly who I am.

                      I was approached by a neighbor leader to start work on this. I could have chosen to do it the “correct” way. Go to City Hall…again. Talk to Peggy Merriss…again. Defend the idea of neighborhood…again. Imagine my frustration when I looked at the map…again…where the neighborhood is split after we worked so hard last time to be included.

                      The reason I chose to use this format was because I wanted to see what kind of response I would get. Sadly, it has proven what I expected. The same challenges we had 3 years ago. COD folks using all kinds language that they think is fine but to people on the outside sounds elitist. Words like “our”, “my”, “we don’t have room for you”, “your children will be a burden on us”. People may think that I am actually trying to persuade you to want us. That is not the case. There are better more effective routes to do that. I am confident that those will be achieved. What I wanted to see is how much pain and grief my neighbors who want to be annexed are going to have to go through to be engaged in the process. I now know exactly what to say to my neighbors who want to fight to be part of Decatur. I also, know how to prepare them.

                      And I guess you didn’t read my whole first note about the housing inventory in our neighborhood. I understand the business side which is why I put it in there.

                      This is my last post on the issue. Lively debate is always appreciated and entertaining in my world :0) I have to move back to what I do daily. Protecting the most beautiful gift ever given…our little blue planet.

                      Thank you Decatur Metro (absolutely meant earnestly) for preparing us to know what kind of fight we are in for and for the greater service you do by hosting this kind of forum.

                    2. Beth, let me get this straight. You intentionally insulted the residents of Decatur, and then you were offended and/or disappointed when you got a hostile response? You may need to reconsider your approach – it is flawed.

          3. Lord, my head spins. If Decatur not wanting to annex Forrest Hills and Midway Woods is discrimination, then what side of the discrimination are you on? A majority of the folks in both neighborhoods would rather NOT be annexed. So are your neighbors also discriminating against you by opposing annexation? Or are you trying to discriminate against them by forcing them to be annexed?

            1. Actually Decatur polled the residents in Forrest Hill and Midway Woods a couple of years ago during the last annexation discussion, a majority of residents in both areas FAVORED annexation.

                1. I concur, the majority of Midway Woods residents are in favor of annexing the entire neighborhood. However, there are some extremely vocal individuals in opposition that have occasionally spoken louder and more passionately than the pro-annexation majority.

              1. That’s not what I recall and it’s not the sentiment I encountered when looking at houses in those areas. If I’m wrong about the percentages, I apologize for the inaccurate factual assertion. However, I’m confident that even if a majority in your area support annexation, it is a bare majority. And of the large percentage of folks who are opposed, many are VEHEMENTLY opposed. What of them? Must they pulled into higher property taxes because of mob rule?

                I just don’t understand the sense of entitlement here (yes, I know, loaded word, but so is “discrimination”). We house-hunted for over three years before we bought in City of Decatur last year. C.O.D. was always our dream but we couldn’t afford anything available in the city limits so we also looked in Medlock, Midway, Forrest Hills, Kirkwood and East Atlanta. In the end, we lucked into a house within the city that we could afford and we are damn glad that we waited until we found it. But if we had bought any of the houses we considered outside the city limits, we would not have thought “damn, now we deserve to be annexed!”

                1. We also have some very loud voices in Forrest Hills who are adamantly opposed. But, recently, in conversations I have had, some of those opposed have changed their minds due to blatant bad government in both the schools and the county. I hate sending my tax money to those who have no idea how to manage finances.

    2. Gee whiz. So much anger.

      I think you have some helpful things to say. But there is so much anger in your writing … the valuable parts get swallowed up by the venom.

      You call Decatur elitist and say we don’t care about the south side. I think you may find that your words would be better received if they didn’t have quite so many insults for the very people you are trying to persuade.

      Many of us live in the south side too. Many of us have worked hard to build community too. Insulting us does not help your cause

          1. Okay so let me ask this. If I had said the last time the map was drawn all of Midway Woods was included because I took time to go to City Hall and point out the error of their thinking. Why have they split Midway Woods again? Would have have that have gotten your attention?

    3. Beth, forgive me if I’m misreading your comment but it looks like, on the one hand, you’re saying Decatur should take on difficult community issues and solve them in a “neighborly” way but, on the other, you seem to reference some situation where you had a neighbor who was a problem and you were personally involved to get them booted. Am I reading that right? How is that not picking and choosing based on your definition of desirability?

      1. No sorry I wasn’t clearer. I had a neighborhood child who was located in a home that was so destructive the child was at constant risk. I lobbied the court to have him removed for his safety.

          1. So you are telling me that a child who rapes another child shouldn’t be removed from their home because it is a value judgement?

            1. Beth- Nelliebelle’s obviously missed your reply or she’d be praising you to the high heavens for intervening. Beth, you’re a true hero!

              (And keep up the good fight for your neighborhood!)

              1. Actually, no I didn’t and no I wouldn’t. I don’t understand the point of throwing in such a situation in unless it IS to get praise. Sorry, Deanne, but I find Beth’s attitude in these posts quite off putting and don’t really see the point in trying to engage her further.

                1. I am absolutely not looking for praise. In fact, I would not have shared that story if you hadn’t accused me of “judging” my neighbors. What I am saying is I am involved in my neighborhood and splitting it is unjust. I have reasons that involve emotions because I love my neighborhood that is important to me. You might object to my tone but your tone hasn’t been engaging either. You have intentionally disagreed me because I pushed a button challenging how people in Decatur talk about themselves and people who live outside of Decatur.

                  1. I actually disagree with you because you came on here in an aggressive way- which you freely admit- to prove some bizarre point – which you didn’t really prove because you purposely put actual residents on the defensive rather than engaging them. Approaching a problem with a conclusion already reached then creating the evidence to back up your own theory isn’t exactly a legitimate research model.

                    If your area is to be annexed, then we as Decatur homeowners, business owners, taxpayers, renters and city employees damn well better make sure any annexation does not burden our city, sap our resources or adversely affect our city in any way. The benefit for your neighborhood should not be at the top of our list. This is about what is good for Decatur, period. You don’t live in Decatur no matter how much ownership you might have given yourself, and our perspectives as city residents is going to be different from yours. It may sound callous to you, but again, from Decatur’s viewpoint, this is about Decatur and growing Decatur in a positive and healthy way. You have absolutely no room to criticize us for that because you are thinking about this issue in the exact same way- what is good for Midway Woods.

                2. nelliebelle- I shouldn’t have put words in your mouth, BUT: this is NOT you. Get exasperated and irritated all you want with Beth about the rest, but to not acknowledge what Beth unexpectedly revealed because you don’t like how she chose to made her case or to say she did it to score points is just plain wrong. (And damn it! The nelliebelle we all love enjoys making very dramatic statements every once in a while too!) Would it hurt to give a little latitude and focus on Beth’s very legitimate concern about the possible splitting up of a neighborhood?

                  1. Deanne, I just find it hard to take the concerns seriously because she came on here with an agenda and it really bugs me. I love you, too :), even though I am heated up!!

                    1. Well, being as how with my 1st DM comment I was also hellbent on jerking a knot in everyone’s chain on behalf of my n’hood (recall the PSWC debacle? :0/), I can totally relate to what Beth was doing– sometimes you gotta enter hard or your message won’t get the consideration it needs. The problem’s when someone won’t acknowledge that they were harsh (which Beth has explained) or when they think it’s going to work out well if they stay stuck in a combative mode.

                      You’ll cool off after a bit, and hopefully warm up to her eventually. Us feisty women gotta stick together! :0)

  11. Dang, Beth is exactly right. We should not be adding any of Midway Woods. Also, I don’t get adding the Methodist Home. Isn’t that 300-400 kids?

    1. No the Children’s Home does not have 400 kids. That’s crazy. Just another misconception that when posted on a blog it becomes fact. It’s under 100.

      1. I was thinking it was more like 70, but for the size of our system, that’s a lot of kids to absorb for no increase in city taxes. special needs or not.

      2. OK, thanks for the info. Those 100 kids…mostly high school and upper middle school, right?

        1. It sounds like they have the capacity for that number, but that’s not always the case.

          “the Children’s Home can care for around 100 children, youth and families at a time. We typically serve between 20 to 30 children at any given time through our foster homes.”

          1. That quote is as clear as mud to me. Are the foster homes in addition to the children’s home on columbia drive or are the calling the children’s home “foster homes”? I think we need actual data here to evaluate the impact of the children’s home.

            1. The children in foster homes are somewhere in the homes of foster parents, not on the campus. In other words, they are outsourced.

              1. Hence they would go to schools in which the foster homes are districted, right? I know of at least one wonderful COD family that occasionally hosts a foster child and they attend CSD while in their home.

              2. That is what I thought. The number that the city needs to look at is how many children would be attending decatur schools if the children’s home were annexed and what special resources these children typically require.

                They don’t need to know today, but this is the kind of information that needs to be considered in evaluating the impact of annexation. It may well be deemed a worthwhile exercise in order to have access to the urban farm plot I have heard discussions about. I for one would like to know as much as possible before we decide.

  12. I’m proud to be vocal critic of Dekalb and the school system. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Decatur attempting to systematically erode the tax base of Dekalb for their gain and their schools, comes at a cost for Dekalb residents and their schools. Just sayin’

    1. You are right about the tax base, but annexation would also reduce the burden as those kids would no longer attend Dekalb schools. If households with children are a net loss, Dekalb may actually end up with a net gain.

      1. Scratch that. For some reason, I thought you were referring only to the annexation of residential properties. When you throw in the commercial properties, it will be a net loss for Dekalb (at least I assume that would be true. If this isn’t revenue positive for CoD, I don’t think the city would even be considering it).

    2. Sorry Daydreamer but the Fultonization of DeKalb has begun with the incorporation of Dunwoody and now Brookhaven, and there’s probably not going to be any way to stop it. The land-grab is on and Decatur’s just looking out for itself in this new environment. Expect all of the cities in the county to get a bit larger and leave a rump South DeKalb as the only unincorporated area. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in our little strip up Katie Kerr, but my money would be on Avondale Estates annexing us.

  13. I asked Ms. Merriss about the Children’s Home and here is her reply. I think everyone – including myself – needs to remember this map is just a DRAFT at this point…

    In the past, the Methodist Children’s Home has indicated an interest in being in the City of Decatur. They may or may not be interested now. Remember – all of this is a draft for discussion purposes and not a recommendation. Specific decisions about what may or may not be included have not been made. The draft map reflects areas of interest, either ones that elected officials have asked about or areas where residents have been working on petitions or have actively expressed interest over the past several years. Additional areas may be added, other areas may be removed.

  14. Well, I guess I have a slightly different take on the annexation issue that most folks commenting on this post so far. The school enrollment issue isn’t the most important one to me, nor is the cost of funding our schools. I’ve run fiscal impact analyses for communities before, and the math has a funny way of working both for and against a particular issue, based on a few simple assumptions.

    From my perspective, I already pay an huge amount in taxes to support the city’s school system. I moved here knowing this. I stayed here knowing this. I’m happy to pay all those taxes because I think we’re getting a hell of a good deal in return. We get a fantastic school system, the best walkable downtown in metro Atlanta, solid police, fire, trash service, good parks, etc. So if we annex more residential areas, and need to expand schools, pay for more teachers, and welcome more kids into our classrooms, that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m already paying for it, and I don’t mind paying more so long as the quality is kept up. And I have every confidence in the city’s school system to continue on the strong path it’s been on, no matter how many more kids attend.

    What I’d absolutely love to see is Decatur putting its stamp on the commercial corridors they would annex under this plan. I agree with the folks who say the annexation trend is only growing stronger in Dekalb and Fulton Counties. And why shouldn’t it? Anyone in their right mind would look at the budget fiasco with Dekalb County schools and think that the Dekalb County has no idea what it’s doing. Anyone who moved to Decatur did so because they love what the city has to offer, and is willing to shell out an absurd amount of money for it. So I say let the city grow, and let it keep doing what it does so well. If my kid has a few more classmates as a result, so be it.

  15. To annex or not to annex that is the question?? I am surprised by the division in this topic from the community. The overall comments really run a good split between negative comments associated with schools to positives for commercial. Really is the issue about a boundary or is it really all down to money? Taxes, we all pay them we all gripe but we all pay them in the end. Schools, many use and many do not but you still pay one-way or the other and you knew that from the past or coming in (Kids or no kids). I am pro annexation for many reasons, cleaning up broken lots and boundary lines is clearly a good reason. Give each person who is cleaved in pieces the option to join or not (Should be their call). Commercial, I am mixed. If I were the land owner I would likely not want because they already get the benefits of the city just by their location so why would they want to pay more. That one is the hard one and clearly on the side of property rights and pro-development. I would fight that were I them. That said it clearly benefits the C of D if they get those properties. The neighborhoods that is the real issue with the schools. Clearly CSD has dropped the ball on their enrolment issues and has been wasting money and back-peddling from the closure of Westchester. Also shifting to k-3 and creating of a 4 / 5 center (never understood that bomb shell) but now appear to have action to try and correct these items. Everyone and each organization (Should be given the chance to fix mistakes) they really appear to be trying to do that now. Overall we need to put some trust in the Mayor and the Commission they have done very well over the past years. I say put it to a vote!!!! Let the people who are in the areas have a say!

    1. I’m not as opposed to the annexation as I am to the mentality that is accompanying it actually. Self-preservation is one thing, but that’s not the attitude I’m interpreting.

      As far as fixing the mistake that you referenced (but this isn’t directed at you)- How do the mistakes of poor financial planning get rectified, if the go-to means of rectifying, is increasing the size of your pot? It’s obscene that Dekalb fixes its financial woes by raising taxes, and there’s something of a parallel here. “We need more stuff and money, let’s just keep tapping the well” The well in Dekalb’s case is taxpayers, and in this case it’s nearby business owners.

      I’m going to PC tiptoe here- Those elected in South Dekalb and Burrell Ellis are under no real threat of losing their offices. I do not pretend to have the answers to this problem, but it basically means Dekalb won’t change leadership in a meaningful way. Dissatisfied citizens should have recourse and creating new cities is reasonable in my opinion- that’s not what this is though. This is enveloping businesses who may, or may not want to be in Decatur.

      Of course there are benefits to annexation. Still it’d be nice to see a little thought/concern given to those who won’t be on the happy end of this windfall, businesses mainly. Not just that, but there needs to be an overall realization that chipping away at Dekalb until it completely collapses, will have negative effects for everyone. Decatur won’t be responsible for that, but it does need to be kept in mind.

  16. I see that the purple section still doesn’t include the shopping center with our friends at Bike South. Why not include that strip? Seems like a very revenue positive piece of property, and commercial property adjacent to that strip appears to be included. Why are they being treated differently?

    1. I’m seeing the opposite. Looks to me like all four corners of Clairemont and N. Decatur fall within the purple zone.

      1. So….you are saying that I need to finally quit denying that I’m middle aged and need reading glasses….. and go ahead and get a pair?

  17. we are in one of the considered neighborhoods (Ridgeland Park) and my daughter currently attends CSD (tuition student of course) so if we were actually city she would still attend the same school, but our household $ would be going towards other city uses as well. I think for our neighborhood it makes nothing but sense since we are city on 3 sides (the line is *in* our hood on 3 streets!) and are nothing but an unexplained ‘dog ear’ of unincorporated DeKalb.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to pay more taxes, but I am paying anyway! I might as well get as much for my dollar as the people on the other end of my street who are city limits 🙂
    We love Decatur and claim it as our home – city limits, unincorporated, or otherwise!

  18. [MidwayWoods] Annexation Meeting

    [email protected]

    The Midway Woods Neighborhood Association is hosting a meeting to discuss the potential annexation of all or part of our neighborhood into the City of Decatur. This meeting was prompted by an announcement by City of Decatur officials that they are currently considering annexing a large portion of Midways Woods, several streets north of Midway Road, into the city limits. We will also discuss whether or not our residents would prefer to request that the entire neighborhood be annexed as opposed to potentially dividing the neighborhood into two sections, one inside the City of Decatur and one outside. If you wish to vote and/or weigh in on the issue please plan to attend. We will meet at our usual location: Columbia Presbyterian Church at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, August 1.

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