Catch Up on the Decatur Annexation Conversation

It seems like we all need to stay on top of the annexation conversation that the city is prepping to have next year in reaction to the sudden flurry of potential new cities being discussed in North DeKalb County.  Here’s a couple of things to read through/check out…

Not a ton of new info in this interview, but if you’re interested in what the City Manager has to say about the annexation conversation, you might want to check out this short report on WABE from last week.

And if you want to hear even more from City Manager Peggy Merriss and the City Commission on this matter, go watch the end of the commission meeting from last Monday.  Here are a few notable quotes and factoids.

First from Ms. Merriss…”The question…isn’t whether or not…the area to the north of us will be in a city it will be what city will it be in and what is the timing of when that will happen.”  She went on to reiterate that the city wants to use 2014 to have the necessary conversations with the community, CSD and neighboring cities about potential annexation.  She continued, “It’s a conversation that I think we either have to take some leadership or direction piece in or its a conversation where we’re going to wonder what happened to us.”

Also, this statement from Mayor Jim Baskett is worth publishing in full…

We can’t sit on our laurels and let these gateways to our city just be absorbed by these new people who are just coming on the scene that are wanting to grab up all the commercial they can get.  We’ve got to take a long view here.  It may be stressful on our city services in the short-term.  It may be stressful on the schools in the short term.  But we’re talking about 100 years out, if the city of Briarcliff came into being and backed right up to us, there would never be a chance for us to think about having those gateways and having those commercial properties.  So we just need to keep our focus on the long view and make sure that we have something in place so we can make some kind of defensive statement about.  That’s part of it.

Part of it is the fact that at a meeting last year with our legislative representatives…they told the cities in DeKalb County to get their acts together – they weren’t willing draw up these maps, they wanted us to draw up maps – and show them what things were going to look like.  So the DeKalb Municipal Association has been working now ever since then to try and come back and make a response to the legislature.  And so this is something that we have need to at least have for the DMA to at least say that these existing cities have these interests, long term interests.

…So as much as we don’t like the discussion of annexation and as hard as it’s been the last few years to have that discussion, we don’t have a choice.

Also make sure you check out Decaturish’s recap of the full commission meeting HERE.

9 thoughts on “Catch Up on the Decatur Annexation Conversation”

  1. Gee, my neighborhood has gone all the way from ‘those people’ to ‘those people with all their grimy children filling up our schools’ to ‘gateways’. I feel so wanted, so accepted, so needed. Oh wait…Decatur just wants the new commercial development coming in up the street.

    You didn’t want us before. You can’t come back now with flowers and chocolates and make us feel wanted.

    1. If you’re right, and Decatur just wants the commercial development up the street, then I don’t think you have to worry about a presentation of flowers and chocolates. Decatur still doesn’t want you.

      But, no one really wants you. Briarcliff will take you to get the commercial up the street; Lakeside will probably amend their map at some point to incorporate you and the commercial up the street.

      So, if Decatur doesn’t make you feel wanted, who does and why? You will be incorporated by some entity who just wants the commercial up the street.

      1. You think YOUR neighborhood is unwanted and unloved by the secessionists? Try living south of Memorial.

    2. Thanks AMB. If it makes you feel any better, I want the areas south of North Decatur Road, as well as areas south to Memorial Drive, west to the railroad tracks and east to DeKalb Industrial/Katie Kerr, to be in Decatur. I just don’t want my taxes to skyrocket. I feel for you and your purse/wallet but somebody’s gonna get you. At least in Decatur, you have a government that responds to your concerns. Do you want to be part of a huge city or part of a much smaller one, where you can email city manager Peggy Merriss about graffiti or a sewer spill and the next day, she responds and takes care of the problem? Anyway, these are interesting political times. Next year’s legislative session will be one to watch carefully as to how much influence Decatur really has.

  2. Rich with irony: “We can’t sit on our laurels and let these gateways to our city just be absorbed by these new people who are just coming on the scene that are wanting to grab up all the commercial they can get.”

    The Decatur and the cities cannot act on their own. There are lots of hands grabbing for pieces of this pie. Everyone must be at the table to make this work. The cities within DeKalb (including Atlanta), the proposed cities and the County government. No one should get left holding the bag, left out or gobbling more than their fair share.

    FWIW, this “gateway” criteria is specious.

    1. This is being presented as an existential crisis – I don’t think all parties are ever going to come to the table in good faith at this point. The secessionists see Decatur as competition, not as a model to emulate, and certainly not as a partner.

      One way or another, Decatur will have to deal with the secession movements – better to go on the offensive w/r/t annexation, I suppose. I have no opinion as to where the city limits should extend to, but it seems clear nobody wants to touch anything south of Memorial. Can’t imagine why. :/

      1. I can’t turn around without running into another petition for the City of Gresham Park, or Panthersville, or Belvedere …

  3. 1. The “gateway” to the city is city limits, not what’s outside the city limits. There will always be something just beyond that gateway. If Decatur annexes Suburban Plaza/Walmart, the next frontier will be the empty car lots, then N. DeKalb Mall, and so forth.

    2. “Strain” on city services and CSD means either a cut in services or a rise in taxes. This is the first time I’ve heard the Annexation Lobby admit this. But it’s expected the loss will turn to a gain within 100 years, this is the latest opening pitch (Holiday edition).

  4. 100yrs? Look at Decatur in the last 20. Thank crappy commutes, over suburbing, and big box chains for creating our growth. Nothing to do with gateways. I still don’t understand what the goal is short term and long term from the mayor. I predict the kid boom now will give way to a repeat of the 1960s I’m Decatur that led to the 1970s. We are repeating history. These are also forces no government cab control. I just want to avoid a tax hungry government from forcing long time residents to stressed services that set this community apart. Bigger is certainly not better as Decatur proves time and time again with the schools, businesses, and older homes. We want quality of life here and keep things simple rather than turn into Atlanta or worse, Gwinnett.

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