Druid Hills Annexation Update: Residents Notified of Possible Atlanta Annexation, Decatur Never Formally Approached

From the AJC’s county by county wrap up on Sunday...

Druid Hills residents began receiving letters Friday informing them about options for joining a city like Atlanta or remaining in the unincorporated part of DeKalb County.

The letters, from Druid Hills Civic Association President Justin Critz, said annexation into Atlanta would be an opportunity to be part of the city’s growing development and its neighborhood planning unit system.

But Critz also said uniting with Atlanta presents challenges in the form of potentially higher taxes and the cost of some services.

The letter asks residents to pay attention in the coming months as the Druid Hills community considers its options.

On a somewhat related front, City Planning Director Amanda Thompson tells DM that the city has never been formally approached by Druid Hills to be annexed.  Additionally, there would be some expected complications that would come with such a move.

There has never been a formal request from Druid Hills to be annexed into the city. I believe that Emory wishes to be identified with Atlanta.  Annexing Emory would require some special emergency management services for the hospital, research and if the CDC was included that we do not provide now.

A recent AJC article  on Druid Hills annexation options wrote off neighboring Decatur as an option “the city school system is already at its capacity and its government doesn’t want to add more residential properties”,

17 thoughts on “Druid Hills Annexation Update: Residents Notified of Possible Atlanta Annexation, Decatur Never Formally Approached”

  1. Seems like a disservice to Druid Hills residence. They should have an opportunity to see what the benefits, costs, risks, and opportunities for staying unincorporated, being annexed by Atlanta, annexed by Decatur, incorporated with the Briar/Lakeside initiative, or incorporating alone.

    To say that the City of Decatur doesn’t want them is sketchy at best, since it’s not getting opinion directly from Decatur’s executive and board representation, and there are Dekalb schools within that geography of the area that Decatur or Atlanta would need to purchase from the county – so what if “the city school system is already at its capacity” as it would also be adding new school infrastructure.

    The difficult part would be transferring teacher/administrator employment from DeKalb to either Atlanta or Decatur, but such modals are already established with police, fire, etc with other cities that have incorporated.

    1. Decatur doesn’t want the residential; it wants the commercial. Residential is a net loss in the revenue/services calculus. Commercial is a net gain. Decatur will take some residential if it is necessary to get a lot of commercial, but otherwise no. If Emory is not interested, there is no point having the conversation.

      Atlanta is probably a better fit for DH because of their existing infrastructure advantages. They could also offer lower taxes compared to Decatur. I would love to see Decatur annex Emory and DH, but it is probably too big for Decatur to handle.

      Decatur will benefit from Atlanta becoming more prosperous, so it is a good thing anyway.

        1. If that’s the case, then there is really no need to consider annexing DH from a fiscal standpoint.

  2. +1. All are solvable issues. It really depends on the added tax revenue vs expenses. And the school issue is a lame non-issue — if this were to happen, it’s not an issue of being at capacity, it is an issue of how to significantly expand and the cost of doing so. And whether we’d want to do that. I would be disappointed if there weren’t at least a top-level analysis by city leaders and staff of these issues.

  3. It’s all about the signals a potential a partner is showing. Decatur has never shown any interest in Druid Hills. On the other hand, Atlanta has. I don’t think the Decatur leadership wants to deal with DH.

  4. I’m not sure why Decatur is even part of the conversation here. Incorporating DH would add nearly 2/3rds of Decatur’s existing population to the city. That’s too big for any city of Decatur’s size to handle. Plus, annexations are equal parts financial and emotional decisions. Some residents only care about taxes and services, while others focus on a sense of community and connectivity. I think DH has always felt more like a part of Atlanta than anywhere else, and I’m not surprised that some residents would choose to make that association formal rather than take their chances with one of the new cities under consideration.

    1. I would suspect that adding 2/3’s to the population base has less to do with infrastructure expansion requirements/cost as other recently incorporated cities have a larger population base then DH and Decatur combined have accomplished this with no preexisting infrastructure, but more to do with where the voting influence and a loss of center on the geography of CoD.

      I don’t live in DH nor CoD, but I know a good number of Emory faculty and CDC employees that live in CoD because of the proximity to Emory/CDC, CoD schools, and services that CoD offers.

  5. What I really dislike about their being annexed into either Atlanta or COD is that the children living east of Katy Kerr including Forrest Hills, Avondale, and Midway Woods would not be able to attend Druid Hills HS and would probably go to private schools. No one wants their children to go to Towers where Dekalb tried to place us a few years back,

  6. What? If I were to one day be able to afford one of those beautiful large homes on the golf course, I would just be moving to another house in Decatur? That just doesn’t seem right.

  7. The residential tax revenue from DH would far outpace the cost of services. At least to the SF residential areas.

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