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Local Legislators Announce Second Cityhood Meeting

The meeting will be held in Oak Grove United Methodist Church on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.

Local legislators will participate in a second cityhood meeting in Oak Grove early next month focused on the pros and cons of creating a new city in North DeKalb County.

Kevin Levitas, a former state representative, and head of the Briarcliff Woods East Neighborhood Association, will hold the meeting in Oak Grove United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Jan. 8.

The meeting will follow up on another meeting Levitas held last month that included roughly 100 or so residents at the church. That meeting, which included Fran Millar, DeKalb County's sole Republican state senator, Tom Taylor, a DeKalb state represenatative and Dan Weber, a former state senator in DeKalb, left many residents frustrated. Many said they felt they were being prodded to support the creation of a new city somewhere in the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area and didn't understand why the meeting was held in the first place.

So, Levitas vowed to hold a second meeting that would include local leaders who would speak to the negatives of cityhood. The Jan. 8 meeting's lineup includes:

  • State Rep. Billy Mitchell, District 88, D-Stone Mountain
  • State Rep. Tom Taylor, District 79, R-Dunwoody
  • DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, District 6
  • Former Dunwoody council member Robert Wittenstein

Will you attend the second cityhood meeting? What do you think of all this? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lucas Roberts December 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM
good info. thanks for the heads up
Kevin Levitas December 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Please join the discussion about cityhood at http://northdekalbcity.blogspot.com/ and dekalbcities@yahoogroups.com. A couple points of clarification about some observations made in Jonathan's article. I would disagree with the contention that "many said they felt they were being prodded to support the creation of a new city somewhere in the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area." First, great pains were taking before, during and after the meeting to ensure that this first meeting was information-only. There was no advocacy for or against the creation of a new city. There were a few attendees who felt that residents needed to hear from people opposed to the creation of new cities in DeKalb since the speakers, while not advocating for or against incorporation, had themselves helped to create the City of Dunwoody. In addition, most in attendance wanted to hear from a pro/con panel, which is the reason for scheduling the January 8 meeting.
Kevin Levitas December 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Second, I disagree that that many "didn't understand why the meeting was held in the first place." As I mentioned at the beginning of the meeting, it was organized in response to an AJC article that indicated there was an organized cityhood movement in northern DeKalb, a suggestion with which I disagreed. Nonetheless, the article caused a stir in our part of the County, and having served in the Legislature during the debate over Dunwoody, I was keenly aware of the complicated nature of cityhood movements. Among the items to be considered are viability, taxes, organization, neighbor-to-neighbor relationships, the referendum process, governing, required and desired services, costs of studies, campaigns and running a new city. With this in mind, our neighborhood association (Briarcliff Woods East Neighborhood Association) felt it was important for neighbors to know the ins and outs of what is involved in cityhood movements, regardless of their position, and decided to host an information-only meeting. In other words, we want folks to be informed when making a decision about whether they think cityhood is a good idea, and we asked a panel of people who had been through the process before to speak with us.
Kevin Levitas December 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
An overwhelming majority of the comments that I received about the meeting were positive, and people told me that they left feeling like they had a much better understanding of the process. They did, however, want to hear from more people and asked for the pro/con panel, which I hope will be another well-attended meeting. I look forward to our neighborhood association providing another forum for residents to help themselves gather more information about the central issues involved in any cityhood discussion.
joseph weiner December 10, 2012 at 08:25 PM
why another layer of government? can't kevin see that the people donot trust government
Enuff Govt Already December 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Pretty soon DeKalb will be totally balkanized with little redundant governments. The rest of the country is trying to eliminate redundant governemt (even New Jersey) but we are trying to create more because our guy/gal is out of power. Mr. Levitas, if you feel the need to create MORE govt then work on something like a township initiative where local and county govt would compliment each other and not compete as they do now. I would also like to see speakers who's legacy was not tied to the creation of more govt. Those with a legacy tend to overstate their position IMHO. The current process, as seen up here in B'haven, is a terrible mess that leaves a bitter taste. A super majority should be required before more govt is ever imposed on the citizens.
Ms. December 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM
North Dekalb, and South just don't have much in common. Instead of creating cities, just split the counties. The people in South Dekalb get the dopes they keep reelecting (great job on the property tax assessments this year...), and the North can start electing dopes of their own in short order.
HamBurger December 11, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Mr. Kevin, have you considered moving to Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton, Dunwoody, Peachtree Corners, or the newly created Brookhaven? Instead of creating division in your area like Rep. Mike Jacobs has in Brookhaven, maybe you should consider moving to a place that already has a city? For folks not paying attention, there is a lot of anger in Brookhaven. The pro-city folks gleefully exclude anyone that was not sold on the city. Neighborhoods are torn. This just might be your future. And, what is with all of these conservative elected officials creating more government? Is creating new cities in the metro area, and adding another layer of government really a good thing? Have you actually studied what you are about to put your neighbors through? Please pass the yellow mustard!
Tom Doolittle December 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM
What's interesting is that the question as to whether your quality of life should be so determined by the form of government you have. I believe it is determined by how connected your community is first and foremost. If it is--then you'll have high quality whether you have a bad county government, a marginal city government which is financed on a shoestring or a "privatized" commons or whatever. The marginal returns of shifting to your "own" just aren't great enough to justify a complete disruption of the larger area around you. That will explain Sandy Springs success, Dunwoody's better than average potential for success (jury's still out) and Brookhaven eventually begging to become part of another city (a complete failure). The area across I-85 is definitely not open for business--it has its own "software" that seems to be swiming along. Only a complete powerplay and games in the legislature will bring this to a vote--and one would think the movement will exhaust itself. Note: Annexation into the City of Atlanta certainly is in play for the DeKalb area along I-85/Lavista/Emory that is in John Lewis #5 didtrict.
Sally December 12, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I'm not advocating for cityhood necessarily. However, I am most certainly not for forming a City of Dekalb which would put us in with south Dekalb. No thank you. We've had a stomach full of that already. I'm also not against a city in this area. Those running Dekalb County have no one to thank but themselves for this cityhood movement all over Dekalb County. Annexation into another city might be an option, but it depends on what city that is. Atlanta? Hmm. Not sure I'd be in favor of that. Maybe Brookhaven or Chamblee.
Lucas Roberts December 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Im for the idea of cityhood. DeKalb county is so focused on developing south DeKalb and fighting cityhood movements that there is nothing left for this area. Its all Watson and Ellis talk about in recent times I have seen them talk. http://northdruidhills.patch.com/blog_posts/dekalb-county-reactive-neighborhood-summit
Tom Doolittle January 11, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Wish I'd seen this before now--can someone provide a report? How many people attended? http://northdekalbcity.blogspot.com/2013/01/open-thread-whats-on-your-mind-for.html
Tom Doolittle January 11, 2013 at 12:39 AM
...and this http://wabe.org/post/debate-over-new-georgia-cities-returns-legislature
Tom Doolittle February 13, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Lets hope we're all attending each others' sessions. Are these separate initiatives? I hope this one wasn't wasted--maybe incorporate notes or a report from this into the one tomorrow. Lakeside High 7:00 Wed Feb 13 Good meeting tomorrow--Lakeside High
Tom February 23, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Another day another comment. Ugh.

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