Decatur Has No Intention of Accepting More Annexation Petitions as Master Plan is Developed

There’s been a lot of talk recently regarding Decatur annexation over the past couple of months, as the City Commission has accepted large parcel annexations of the Parkwood neighborhood and a recent 31 parcel annexation along South Columbia and Derrydown Way.

At the June 16th Decatur City Commission meeting, in response to a question from Commissioner Fred Boykin, City Manager Peggy Merriss mentioned that the city was working on an “Annexation Master Plan”.  So we followed up with her to get further details on a) what is it?  b) how does it affect future annexation petitions from neighboring property owners? c) what’s the timeline?

Here is Ms. Merriss’ reply…

The goal of the Annexation Master Plan is to develop a proposal for the future Decatur city limits given that it still appears likely that the central and northern parts of DeKalb County will be part of some city in the next 3-5 years.

The plan would have to take into account:

  • current and future land use and zoning
  • potential development and redevelopment possibilities
  • demographics – both existing conditions and future projections
  • service delivery requirements and costs both for the City and for the City Schools
  • revenue projections
  • technical information such as maps, a survey and identification of significant public and private institutions

The intent would be to have a plan that would be adopted by the City Commission and the Board of Education that would be provided to the DeKalb delegation of the Georgia General Assembly for a local bill.  It would certainly be more efficient if there was a single bill with one comprehensive annexation attached.

At this point we do not intend to accept annexation petitions.  We are asking people who indicate interest to collect petitions that can be submitted with the master plan.

The time frame for the annexation master planning process would be to start the technical work this summer and then do the public work in early fall so that we can have a plan ready for consideration in November.

31 thoughts on “Decatur Has No Intention of Accepting More Annexation Petitions as Master Plan is Developed”


  1. This is like the “plan” I come up with to quit drinking every time I wake up with a hangover…

  2. Kinda makes one wonder if someone in the city planning office had an interest in seeing those properties annexed. Funny how the city suddenly plans to prepare a “Master Plan” immediately after it annexes 100 properties against the will of a majority of CoD residents. Perhaps those 100 properties should have been put on hold until the plan was implemented.

    1. How do you know a majority of city residents were against it? I feel like I kept up with the news regarding the annexations fairly well, but I never saw any statistics with that sort of implication.

      1. +1
        I’ve got no problem with more residential annexations. I hate the idea of building a virtual moat around this city.

        1. It isn’t about a virtual moat. It is doing what is right for your constituents. The people, schools and businesses are what make Decatur great, and support our property values. Annexation is fine if it improves the city. But to annex just to get bigger or because someone wants access to the school system, or because if we don’t grab a neighborhood, the city of Briarcliff will – I have a problem with that.

    2. I can say with certainty the Derrydown annexations were always going to be part of the master plan. Hopefully those who have voiced opposition to annexation will start participating in the discussions at comission meetings or with city leaders.

  3. Funny how the 10 people that comment regularly on this blog suddenly think they represent the “majority of CoD residents”? Not seeing too many of you at City Hall meetings lately, huh?

      1. No. I think the majority of current residents want the commission to place a higher priority on our wishes/needs than the wishes/needs of people living near the city.

        I still have not heard a good explanation of how current residents benefit from annexing single family parcels.

    1. 1) How do you know that none of the commenters you’re speaking of haven’t gone/don’t go to City Commission meetings?
      2) How do you know that (at least some) of the commenters you’re speaking of aren’t being tongue in cheek?

      Unless you’re somehow omniscient, you don’t know–and you’re just being presumptuous & gratuitously insulting.

      1. Since most people comment anonymously here, we cannot know who is or isn’t at the meeting. We also cannot know if the loudest critics here have some sort of agenda. Many people in the city have opinions on such matters that may conflict with the most vociferous of DM critics, and choose not to comment here. Their opinions are still valid. A consensus on DM doesn’t mean a mandate to the city, although I’m quite sure the city leaders do monitor comments here and this site has been quite valuable to our democracy. When the city leaders make their opinions known, they put their names out there. I feel it’s unfair to take pot shots publicly at people without standing behind what you write. The internet, and DM, regularly rule against me on this point, usually by taking pot shots at me anonymously.

        1. Did you intend this to be directed at me, or at TimeTested? Because it seems a more appropriate response to his/her comments than to mine.

          1. If you are spending a lot of time commenting anonymously about matters of importance, and you are attacking specific people or businesses, calling them “gratuitously insulting,” I believe you are being unfair. You’re not the only one, and that seems to be the custom, but I don’t think it’s fair.

            1. You’re entitled to your opinions, Diane. That doesn’t make them valid for anyone else but you. I stand by what I said to TT. The fact that you “put yourself out there” doesn’t make your points more, or less, salient than those made by those of us who don’t care to put our private identifying information (and everything else) on the Internet. Deal with it, and move on. You want the last word, have at it.

  4. Q: What is missing this list?

    The plan would have to take into account:

    – current and future land use and zoning
    – potential development and redevelopment possibilities
    -demographics – both existing conditions and future projections
    -service delivery requirements and costs both for the City and for the City Schools
    -revenue projections
    -technical information such as maps, a survey and identification of significant public and private institutions

    A: Wishes of current residents.

    1. The time frame for the annexation master planning process would be to start the technical work this summer and then do the public work in early fall so that we can have a plan ready for consideration in November.

      I believe the wishes of current residents can be made during “the public work” in the fall. This will come before the Commission. Better show up.

  5. The headline seems a red herring. At first I thought this was an attempt to address the Open Annexation Policy conundrum, a scaling back of annexation. But this doesn’t seem to be about a policy assessment on annexation applications (“no plans” doesn’t mean much with no applications in hand), but instead a master plan culminating in a map and a bill to the legislature. This is announcing further plans to annex on a large scale, a third large-scale annexation proposal.

    As stated in the first line, this our response to Briarcliff, Tucker, and Lakeside. Last I saw the idea was to annex, not only Walmart and Publix as in the last two attempts, but now also up Church to Lawrenceville Hwy. Not a scaling back but the most aggressive expansion yet.

    What’s new is the formal acknowledgment of the role of the Board of Ed in approving such plan. Where exactly does the funding for school expansion stand, btw? Did CSD find full funding on its own?

    1. So we are competing with Briarcliff, Tucker and Lakeside? For what – to be the biggest? Why not aim higher – let’s annex what will be Briarcliff, Tucker and Lakeside and then make a push to surpass Atlanta. The Atlanta schools seem to be thriving. Maybe bigger is better.

  6. Some of my neighbors and I met with Peggy Merriss a few weeks ago to discuss the annexation process and this is exactly what we were told. I’m surprised the existing annexation process the city has been following has not been made clear in the past (at least I’ve never seen anything on this blog). It’s my understanding there have been two ways petitions for annexation have been approved: 1) when 100% of residents have petitioned; and, 2) when at least 60% of the residents with at least 60% of the land mass have petitioned. The impression I got in our conversation with Ms. Merriss was that the City would approve the request if those requirements were met.

  7. We are competing to become the next Doraville? Norcross? Why doesn’t the city spend more
    time figuring out how to build more business downtown? Or in Oakhurst? College Ave? The methods they are using are the same that have been done over and over and I have yet to see a city in Georgia succeed at it. I understand a desire for density, but Walmart? Lawrenceville Hwy.? Of course, with the added residences, the commission can now say we need to annex more business property to balance the equation. Build up.. not out.

  8. City commissioner elections are usually so mundane. Someone is going to run against the current CC on the annexation issue. I will be more interested, now.

  9. The city should attempt to notify areas that might be annexed as soon as that decision has been made. Secrecy will not help their cause if a vote is required.

  10. You need to follow the bouncing ball! That ball is bouncing toward the entire northern part of the county being in cities. That will happen, just like it did in Fulton County. The State legislators, read the republicans want counties with democratic leaders weakened. Now, if you accept this as the future, Decatur has to be in the mix, or will be left out forever. Other cities borders will abut Decatur and preclude any future expansion. So, the choice is expand when you can or never!!

    1. “So, the choice is expand when you can or never!!”

      So we should just grab land now – land that may not be beneficial to the city – so that another city doesn’t get it?

      1. That is the choice. Fortunately or unfortunately the political winds are blowing in the direction of city hood. Whether anyone likes it or not, it is happening. So, is there a benefit to expanding? And if the expansion is not wanted, there will NEVER be another chance. Never is a long time…. Whatever provincial ideas residents have are truly short term for them alone. Look at North Fulton County. This political wind happened a few years ago and now it is all incorporated… That is what we face. And it appears the political leaders recognize this and will act in Decatur’s best interest. And I think I know what those interests are. It is to take in as much commercial property along with whatever residential is located nearby.

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