Cityhood proposals in northern DeKalb County gain steam in Legislature for vote in 2014

By David Pendered

The ball is officially rolling on proposals to create one or more cities in northern DeKalb County.

Two DeKalb lawmakers filed legislation Monday that starts the two-year process of determining the feasibility of one or more new cities. If any of the proposals are deemed appropriate by the Legislature when it reconvenes in 2014, voters of the proposed cities could vote to incorporate their area as early as Sept. 16, 2014.

The general borders of the area to be reviewed are, roughly, I-85 to the west; North Druid Hills Road to the south; and I-285 to the north and east – except that the review will include part of the community of Tucker, located north of I-285.

The bills were filed by Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur).

Although Millar’s address on the Senate website is Atlanta, he is generally regarded as representing Dunwoody. Millar worked diligently to pass the legislation that enabled voters to cast ballots in 2008 to create the city of Dunwoody.

Proposed City of Lakeside. Credit: lakesidecityalliance.org

Proposed City of Lakeside. Credit: lakesidecityalliance.org

Millar’s bill calls specifically for a city of Lakeside. Senate Bill 270 delineates all the powers, duties and property tax limit of a new city of Lakeside – a ceiling of 3.04 mills, unless residents vote to increase it. The bill calls for a vote on incorporation on the third Tuesday of September 2014.

Lakeside advocates have a website that says the group formed as a non-profit to evaluate the possibility of creating a new city.

Oliver’s bill is much more generic than Millar’s. House Bill 665 simply states that a new city be incorporated in DeKalb County.

Oliver issued this statement Wednesday on the House website:

  • “We need to have a robust discussion about how people want to be governed. We have to file a cityhood bill in 2013 so my constituents can have the option to move the legislation forward in 2014; it is a two year process, and I want my neighbors and community to be able to participate fully. There is a lot of work to do to decide if these cities are viable financially, and I want the work to begin as soon as possible. We need an active and robust discussion with everyone at the table to discuss how we want to be governed.”

Two cities have been created in DeKalb in the past five years – Brookhaven in 2012 and Dunwoody in 2008. The vote in each community was overwhelmingly in favor of incorporation.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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