Despite Petitions, No Additions To Decatur Annexation Map – and Other Annexation Meeting Notes


Here are some notes from the City Commission’s Annexation Master Plan Work Session last night.  Watch it yourself HERE. Many other points that have been reviewed here previously were also covered. You can view all DM annexation-related posts here – there are 24 pages of ’em!

Update: You can now also view the work session documents here on the city’s website.

Of particular note, Mayor Baskett and City Manager Peggy Merriss clarified during the discussion that none of the petitions from areas outside of the stated Master Plan areas are being considered for annexation as part of the Master Plan, which is scheduled to be submitted for Legislative consideration in January.

Here are some other points from the meeting/presentation that may be of interest.

  • Population estimates:
    • Current population 20,000
    • 2020 estimate w/o annexation: 21,100
    • 2020 estimate w/ annexation 28,870 (Area A: 980, Area B: 6,400, Area C: 260, Area D: 180)
  • Annexation Area Size
    • Annexation area: 1.6 square miles
    • Total City size with annexation: 6 square miles (currently the city is roughly 5 square miles
    • Additional Paved Roads: 18 miles
  • Commercial/Institutional Properties in Annexation Area:
    • Emory Commons (Publix)
    • Suburban Plaza (Walmart)
    • Patel Plaza
    • North Decatur Square (Big Kroger)
    • Automobile Dealerships
    • DeKalb Medical
  • Residential/Commercial breakdown:
    • 19% single family homestead exempt residential
    • 81% commercial or non-homestead exempt residential (City still working to break out multifamily residential piece and creating revenue projections)
  • Student Increase:
    • Decatur schools are projecting a 3,000 student increase from 2015 –  2020 without annexation.
    • City Manager Peggy Merriss suggested that the city may not be able to accommodate additional students without annexation, assumedly to acquire more land to build schools.
    • There are currently 580 students in the annexed area.

16 thoughts on “Despite Petitions, No Additions To Decatur Annexation Map – and Other Annexation Meeting Notes”

  1. Re “City Manager Peggy Merriss suggested that the city may not be able to accommodate additional students without annexation, assumedly to acquire more land to build schools.”:

    Can someone explain how annexation brings us land to build schools on? I assume that all the land is already owned by someone, right? So it would only be government-owned property that could be used for school space, right? I’m going to assume that no one would want to convert public parks to school space, right? Annexed space might or might not have an elementary school that could be converted? There might be land to buy–using what funds? Anything else?

    1. the city may be able to acquire privately held property via eminent domain. would still need to pay for it.

  2. All good questions. This is a strange argument … If they’re adding 580 kids now (without any of the inevitable future growth) that’s a school right there.

  3. Along with the work session, folks will want to listen to:

    IV. Public Hearing on Master Annexation Plan
    IX. ZBOA Agenda, Other — commissioners discuss issues raised during public input. Starts at 2:15 mark.

  4. I wonder how they arrived at the 2020 population estimate (without annexation). Does this include the new multifamily under construction? What about the projects not yet underway but on the table (I’m thinking particularly of the Avondale Station development, which I think is supposed to have ~ 500 units)? I’m pretty sure the new multifamily alone would account for the estimated population increase.

  5. A. A growth of the city’s population by 37% on day 1, setting aside future development.

    B. 580 students (public school only?) in annexed area as of today. If the percentage of students grows to match 2014 Decatur (20.4%), the number becomes 1588 (= current grades 7-12). If it grows to match the projected 2020 Decatur (34.6%), the number becomes 2688 (equals entire CSD enrollment in 2008). This is a crude calculation — better to work with housing units by type, not simply population — but you work with the numbers you’re given.

    C. These numbers are based on current development. There is A LOT of undeveloped, vacant land in the annexed area (drive around and see). If CSD buys land and builds a school there, what sort of development will immediately become most attractive around it? Residential development raises the number from B.

    We’re being asked to consider this as the solution to CSD’s enrollment crisis?

    1. Thanks, Judd! I was just trying to scratch out similar estimates, and you saved me the trouble. I trust the good folks on the CSD BoE are going to follow your logic and do the math, but it is hard to see how annexing these areas is a solution.

    2. re: the undeveloped land, the Mayor said we aren’t going to be passive spectators on these lands being developed, adding more houses and children. the city can zone (or rezone) these parcels in such a way that it controls the pace and nature of their development.

      1. Indeed true, but Judd’s point remains. If some of the new land is developed for a school, the free market and the city’s zoning interests are both served by new, surrounding mixed development, skewed residential. Otherwise, you can’t have walkable, neighborhood schools.

        The Mayor’s point seems more likely, IMO, if no school is built in the annexed areas. Which regular comment-nerds here know would please me just fine. I drove by Inman Middle School the other day and the trailer mega-complex they’ve got there now makes the DHS “cottages” look like a roadside tourist stop. Have to imagine that kind of Hooverville High plays a valuable role in cooling surrounding housing demand, especially if people are bitching loudly about it.

        1. If you think there has been a “cooling off” in the number of teardowns for larger family homes in areas that feed to Inman Middle . . . you probably didn’t make it too far off of Virginia Ave. Most of the Highlands and Candler Park look suspiciously like most of Oakhurst: 3 or 4 construction dumpsters per block, “coming soon” signs, and tree removal notices dotting a couple more properties on every street.

  6. Let’s not forget that a land-grab up Dekalb Industrial (toward Kroger) also brings three mammoth apartment complexes, with hundreds of units that will become new access points for CSD. And spare me the study that shows few kids living there now. Landlords will line the streets with signs advertising “Great Schools!” — while jacking up rents.

    1. Just as likely that people who live outside COD will rent apartments to be able to have an address for CSD and won’t even live there.

      1. KF – My experience is that the schools do a decent job of policing the people who don’t actually live in CoD. Every year in my son’s elementary class, one or more kids are returned to their “home schools” after the first few weeks. More likely is families or single parents who can’t afford or find a house in the city.

        1. And a lot of what I call “fluid” families–where the children bounce around from mom to grandma to aunt to “like an aunt” because of changing relationships, jobs, housing options, etc.. The children are safe and are living in a safe “village” of family and friends but that “village” happens to cross the city of Decatur borders. The student’s situation may not meet the legal definition of residing in COD but the family members who do live in COD feel like it should. Many times, the families remember a time when enforcement was laxer so they really don’t know initially that what they are doing isn’t kosher and they feel bitter about what feels like an unfair change. Now this is just one scenario–I’ve heard a whole bunch of wild and crazy other examples.

    2. Don’s point is an important one. As a Gwinnett County native, I saw an influx of children living in rapidly developed apartment complexes in the 1980s and 1990s, overtaxing an already overcrowded school system. The argument that this won’t happen with the apartment complexes across the street from the Big Kroger is puzzling to me (if they are annexed by Decatur), because I’ve seen it before. Perhaps the Commissioners know something I don’t (but I’m afraid they are mistaken).

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