Want to quickly get caught up on the cityhood/annexation events of last night? Here you go…
1. Late last night the Georgia General Assembly approved both the cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker, after resolving a border dispute in an area southeast of Spaghetti Junction.
2. The final approved map removed the Medlock and Mason Mill neighborhoods from LaVista Hills’ borders after residents said they wanted more time to consider inclusion in the City of Atlanta, according to the AJC.
3. Voters will decide whether to make these DeKalb cities a reality with a referendum in November.
4. Check out this Google Map if you want to investigate the final boundaries of the potential new cities and how it relates to other existing DeKalb cities.
5. In related annexation news – Avondale’s annexation died yesterday after an amendment removed the DeKalb Farmer’s Market from its borders.
AJC map courtesy of Google Maps
The AJC reports that Decatur’s partial annexation bill “fell apart” today after it didn’t get the required four signatures from state Senators to move forward.
The AJC also reports what we already know – that the predominant issue at hand was the commercial property – and thus tax revenue – being diverted from DeKalb County to Decatur and the various neighborhood groups that opposed the commercial-dominated effort.
“Other senators felt there was too much controversy with Decatur and too little time to work it out,” [Sen. Elena] Parent said. “I’m not saying it’s impossible to get this done, but we’re going to wait and see how things develop over the next year.”
Meanwhile the Avondale bill did get the required signatures and will be voted on by the full Senate on Thursday. However, again there’s opposition due to the transfer of – say it with me – commercial areas from DeKalb to the city.
UPDATE: Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss has confirmed that Rep. Drenner added Decatur Terrace to the partial Decatur annexation bill that she sponsored and read on Monday.
The AJC reports…
State Representative Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, read three local annexation bills Monday, including a portion of Decatur and all of Avondale Estates. Each passed through the policy committee, and now need 9 of 16 signatures from DeKalb delegates to reach the House.
In a surprise move, however, Drenner introduced the Avondale master plan minus the Decatur Terrace neighborhood, south of College Avenue between Avondale and Decatur.
The AJC also reported that Avondale’s acting Mayor and City Manager said that Decatur Terrace would be added to Decatur annexation map. However, City Manager Peggy Merriss has stood by the existing Decatur Annexation Master Plan and repeatedly stated that the city doesn’t want to include any more residential areas in its annexation efforts, due to concerns with school enrollment levels.
I’ve followed up with Ms. Merriss for comment.
Photo courtesy of Rep. Karla Drenner’s Facebook Page
The AJC is reporting that Representative Karla Drenner D-Avondale Estates will sponsor an annexation bill for the City of Decatur that includes areas that are part of Decatur’s Master Annexation Plan AND the area that Drenner represents. (You can view her district map HERE).
It’s basically all properties highlighted in annexation area B east of Church Street (which would include DeKalb Medical Center, Patel Plaza, Kroger, the new apartments at Church Street and Milscott Drive), north of DeKalb Industrial, and north of East Ponce up until the DeKalb Farmer’s Market (Progressive, Wagalot Kudzu, etc). It would also include Decatur Annexation Area C, which includes the United Methodist Children’s Home and some neighboring residential.
It won’t include Suburban Plaza or 4 commercial centers to the west (i.e. Publix, Emory Commons, North Decatur Plaza, etc).
City Manager Peggy Merriss indicated that the city will work with Rep. Drenner on the partial annexation. She also noted that the annexation of Suburban Plaza/North Decatur Road/Clairemont Road “doesn’t look promising for this year.” Rep. Rahn Mayo represents House District 84, which includes this area.
In related news, the AJC also reports that Rep. Drenner will also support Avondale’s annexation plan after the pro-annexation candidate, Jonathan Elmore, won last week’s Mayoral election.
Drenner tells the AJC she will submit the bills next week, provided she gets the nine necessary signatures from DeKalb County delegates.
As previously reported, a majority of businesses along Rio Circle to the east of the Decatur city limits want in. But it’s not part of Decatur’s Annexation Master Plan. An AJC blurb has reaction from City Manager Peggy Merriss…
The Rio Circle commercial district recently filed a petition for annexation into Decatur. Roughly a half-mile east of Decatur’s current border, Rio Circle has long been on Avondale Estates’ annexation map, with city manager Peggy Merriss insisting, “We have consistently maintained that [Decatur] would respect that plan.”
But 41 of 54 private property owners representing 80 percent of the land signed the petition which Merris said was “unsolicited” by the city. Nevertheless city commissioners could approve it, though no date’s been set for a vote.
From a letter to the community from Avondale Mayor Ed Rieker…
We only need one more signature on the Senate side to move the bills forward so that the bills can be passed on the Senate side.
This legislation allows the annexation of 23 commercial properties bordering East College Avenue and Maple Street, west of the City of Avondale Estates’ City line to Sams Crossing. The City of Decatur will also be annexing 10 commercial properties bordering Sams Crossing, east of its City line to Sams Crossing. If successful, both cities will extend their borders to meet at Sams Crossing, eliminating the unincorporated island that currently separates the two cities.
Though no one is making much noise about it this year, two pieces of local legislation, which would annex the unincorporated strip along College Avenue into the cities of Decatur and Avondale, has been passed by Georgia’s House of Representatives and now goes onto the Senate, according to commenter “spreak”.
I believe this is the furthest these bills have ever gotten in the Georgia legislature.
I’m not clear how many more steps there are before these twin bills would finalized, but hopefully someone can clarify for us in the comments!