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Decatur Mayor: We Should Annex Suburban Plaza

In his state of the city speech, Mayor Bill Floyd said Decatur should annex Suburban Plaza and commercial space at the intersection of Clairmont and North Decatur roads to better control development there.

Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd said he's uneasy about . In his State of the City speech last week, he said he's got a plan to influence what happens there in the future.

He wants to annex it, according to Decatur Metro

Floyd said he wants to annex Suburban Plaza and commercial space at the intersection of Clairmont and North Decatur roads so that Decatur residents will have input and influence over how that area continues to develop.

Floyd went so far as to question the intentions of Walmart and Selig Enterprises, Suburban Plaza's owner.

From a section of his address posted on Decatur Metro:

But the main problem with the property, if the Wal-Mart is built, is what might happen to the rest of the site. What might future developments look like? The owner of that property has shown little concern or interest in our community or anything outside of the property lines. Historically, empty promises are provided to make a development acceptable or palatable, but we have little or no reason to believe that any promises might come true. Those of us who live around that property will have no input into any future development on the site.

Interesting turn here. What do you think about Floyd's hopes to annex that land into Decatur? Does it make sense? Is it too aggressive? Or is it just what residents need to make sure Decatur's sense of place is secured? Tell us in the comments section below.

Tom Doolittle April 02, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Is this not very close to the neighborhoods that had been proposed for annexation a few years ago? If this is adjacent to current city limits, it makes sense. Wouldn't annexing or proposing annexation will increase the property value?
Tom Doolittle April 02, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Interesting comments here...http://www.decaturmetro.com/2012/03/30/mayor-floyd-on-walmart-and-the-annexation-suburban-plaza/
Victoria Webb April 02, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I love the idea that Decatur and Avondale are both expanding their boundaries. Smart urban growth means higher density and a pedestrian friendly area. Selig's idea for Suburban Plaza is trapped in the car-centric model of the 1960's. All of the development that I've seen of theirs has little thought to either visual aesthetics or good urban planning. Mayor Floyd and his team did a great job over the years with the city of Decatur, I'm confident that they'll continue their progress with this annexation. I vote a resounding YES!
Helen Lenkerd April 02, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Why is everybody fighting WalMart?! It would give Suburban Plaza a very much-need uplift, and invigorate the whole shopping center. Right now, the place is an eyesore. Who else would even want to bring a business there?
Janet April 02, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Tom - Can you repost the link without the word here included in the URL?
Jonathan Cribbs April 02, 2012 at 12:18 PM
The full link is above in the story. Just click the link in the story.
JWL April 02, 2012 at 12:23 PM
http://www.walmartmovie.com/ Watch this movie. It will change how you think about Walmart. There are + and - to them coming town. I think the - out weight the +. It is available through Netflix.
Joanne April 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Helen, A group called Good Growth DeKalb has formed to fight the Walmart and think about smarter growth options for Suburban Plaza. They held a community forum and have distributed literature on their position. Have you heard about that group and visited their website to read some of the studies and articles that they have posted? You can find them at www.goodgrowthdekalb.org. As far as your question "who else would even bring a business there," I think you and the community should hold the property owner, Selig Enterprises, responsible for the state of decay at Suburban Plaza. You can find Selig's contact information on Good Growth DeKalb's website and I encourage you to write them and express your discontent at the state of the plaza. It's shortsighted to be lulled into thinking that a Walmart will bring the kind of longterm redevelopment that the plaza needs.
Steve April 06, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I agree, but with annexation Decatur could control the type of Wal-Mart built there, or with the increased regulation & taxation, kill the project all together.
Steve April 06, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I did see the movie. It was heavy-handed and in-your-face, with loud sounds to emphasize a point. A major point was low wages. Low Prices=Low Wages. Hello! Bottom line- Wal-Mart is learning from their mistakes, and establishing in urban areas is different from rural areas.
Junior Abraham April 07, 2012 at 12:46 AM
And the taxes.
prettyflower April 07, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Yep, I saw the movie too, in the Decatur library at least 6 years ago.
ChakraTease April 07, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Are you saying you live in a small apartment or condo, you don't drive a car, and you take MARTA everywhere? Are you saying tax-seeking city governments are smarter or more morally upright than profit-seeking merchants? Are you saying your personal aesthetics match that of city planners who force their aesthetic ideals on property owners, despite the costs? Are you saying you also agree with the political tactic of thrusting a new set of regulations on a property owner that did not exist when they bought the property, by legislating involuntary annexations?
Victoria Webb April 08, 2012 at 12:46 PM
The Decatur legislative team built up the city without resorting to low tactics, like allowing a super-store to exist no matter what. No matter that thousands of small businesses have gone under over two decades in the wake of Walmarts coming into a neighborhood - whether it's rural or urban. And furthermore, a chain that wants to gain 30% of the grocery market share in any region should be approached with real trepidation, if not anti-trust legislation. But I guess what some people want is low cost product at any cost - to the worker, to the environment and to the economy. No thanks, I'll take regulations by smart city planners any day. Developers are always requesting variances to in place ordinances that were developed to safeguard a neighborhood's integrity. Aesthetics are definitely a part of that. We might also remember that cultural and historic/heritage tourism is currently the biggest economic draw for many states. The shopping plaza could be updated to be retro - what better way to honor its memory? And that's a less expensive and potentially dangerous 'fix', than to demolish a probable asbestos laden site.
Deanne April 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
ChakraTease- I believe Victoria is simply saying that she likes what she hears coming out of Bill Floyd's mouth. (She doesn't seem to realize that the "mayor" title is mostly ceremonial. City Manager Peggy Merriss and our City Folks should definitely receive the credit for their hard work. True, the commissioners play a valuable role, but it's the City team who comes up with the game plan for tackling Strategic Plan goals, then goes all out to make it happen.)
Deanne April 08, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Heck, a few more hard rains and Last Chance's ceiling will collapse, making it much easier to fit in that retro carousel you're wanting in your redesign. (Hope there's no probable asbestos dripping down in the meantime.)
Victoria Webb April 08, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Deanne - I know the city officials well. Lyn Menne came into the city over a decade ago and brought music and art festivals in to help build awareness. The wonderful Linda Harris in community development has been around forever too, as has city manager Merriss. Mayor Floyd has been instrumental in developing ordinances to restrict development that doesn't fit with the city's urban and historic tone. The various teams have worked together for sometimes, 30 years. I'd advise everyone who's interested in their city to take the Decatur 101 program. It's free and will give you a better idea of just how things are run in local governing.
Deanne April 08, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Also helpful and free: Attend Commission Meetings (or view on tv), Zoning Board Meetings, etc.; participate in community workshops held for specific projects; explore www.decaturga.com for tons of good info; use online Open City Hall; read Decatur Focus; stay up to date via your neighborhood's association and listserv; and seek info from the City Folks and commissioners directly.

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