Public Flocks to Cityhood Events

Lakeside celebrates study; Briarcliff awaits "economically feasible" finding later this week.

Audience listens during COBI presentation Monday night.
Audience listens during COBI presentation Monday night.
If anyone had any doubts about the interest in the DeKalb cityhood issue, a venture out Monday night would have changed their mind.

The Lakeside City Alliance and City of Briarcliff Initiative held gatherings at almost the same time, and both events featured large crowds filling their respective spaces.

The LCA event started at 6 p.m. at Napoleon's while COBI met at 6:30 p.m. at Athens Pizza.

LCA's event was advertised as a party and fundraiser as the group has already received favorable results from a feasibility study by the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute for Government.

COBI had scheduled their event in advance, anticipating that their UGA study would be available for release. COBI President Allen Venet said the institute told the group that the study will now not likely be ready until late this week. CVI is still doing the final proofing on the study.

However, Venet told the audience Monday night that he was "authorized" to report that the study will find a city of Briarcliff "economically feasible," but, officially, further details will need to wait until the study is out.

The immediate question, some observers were asking, is how will the Lakeside and Briarcliff studies stack up against each other.

So what's next this week on the cityhood front?
  • LCA will hold a community meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lakeside High School Auditorium.
  • Tucker 2014, which is holding a meeting Tuesday night for residents in the Smoke Rise area, is awaiting the results of its study from Georgia State University.
  • COBI is still working out how it will roll out the results of their study once it is official. Venet said Monday night that a press conference would be scheduled in the neighborhood and further announcements may take place at locations in the community.

Two other things on the horizon to watch that came out of the COBI session:
  • COBI board members, during a Q&A session with the audience, said that discussions have taken place with Tucker cityhood leaders about areas that appear in both maps. (The Northlake Mall area is included in the Tucker, Lakeside and Briarcliff maps.)
  • COBI intends to set up at least one public meeting before the Legislature convenes in which representatives from LCA and Tucker will be invited to join them for a "comparative" look at the three plans.

Whether all three groups will get together at the same time remains to be seen.

TruthWillSetYouFree December 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM
And there is the difference in COBI vs Lakeside right there. Lakeside had their press conference at the Capitol close to the lawyers, politicians and lobbyists. COBI plans to have theirs in our area close to us.
The Scarlet Pimpernel December 10, 2013 at 07:40 PM
looks like a bunch of boring old white folks
Cheryl Miller December 11, 2013 at 05:18 AM
Good cop. Bad cop.
Rhea A Johnson Jr December 11, 2013 at 09:17 AM
Answer to the question "how will LCA & COBI studies stack up?" Both will be highly favorable but for different reasons with a slight overall edge going to COBI. Of note is that Doraville passed a resolution last week to annex unincorporated "islands" North of the LCA & Tucker maps thus helping to solve a problem for those cityhood proposals. A "compromise" map of the area that includes Lakeside, Briarcliff, Tucker and Doraville should be available in about 2-3 weeks.
Tom Doolittle December 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM
"How long will LCA and COBI studies stack up" should be "how relevant should the studies be considered w/r having a referendum and/or discussing how a city will be run"? They are short term crap and say nothing about the real reason the cities are pushed--economic development, taxpayer-laden subsidies and debt and competing with (eating) other cities. Tell the truth, judge the truth and vote as educated electorate.
Tom Doolittle December 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Scarlet makes an interesting point. All decisions are made by a demographic that will be here at most 20 years--half of them even less. Why aren't our 40 and unders more involved--why aren't we insisting that our 40 and unders lead the charge or devalue and disallow a vote? Why isn't the legislature mindful of how many people (or how few) have proven themselves interested or knowledgeable?
Cheryl Miller December 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Rhea, and you live...??? Let me guess... in the Lakeside map? Thank you for the report, but we don't need an interpretation of the report before it has been proofed and made public. And please, don't do the same for Tucker. I would like to think that someone in Tucker is actually getting a chance to see it before they hand it off to your team. But thank you for continuing to point out how Tucker has no such connections to assist us with things like municipal map drawing. Chalk another point against us, I guess, since someone already tied our hands behind our backs and set our hair on fire.
Tom Doolittle December 11, 2013 at 07:43 PM
and Cheryl is worried about cell towers...that's nothing compared to fracking...check it out http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/20563-urban-fracking-bonanza-threatens-dallas-suburbs
Enuff Govt Already December 12, 2013 at 04:41 PM
@ Rhea, Those "islands" that Doraville said they will annex have twice voted against being annexed into Doraville. Same with their last annexation due the island created by the incorporation of Dunwoody. The local citizens had their vote nullified because of legislators from who knows where in Ga voting to create cities in DeKalb .
Rhea A Johnson Jr December 12, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Enuff.....Same deal this time around.....it is what it is!
Herman Lorenz December 14, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Keep watching.
Cheryl Miller December 14, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Tom, I am not worried, I'm concerned. I'm not anti-technology or anti-progress. I saw something taking place in the school system that was an attempted money grab for a slush fund and an attempt to go around the laws on zoning for residential neighborhoods. It would have harmed the communities and also has the nasty side effect of potentially leading to an increased risk of cancer, with the young being the most vulnerable, followed closely by the elderly, sick, frail and pregnant. I hope anyone in my shoes would have done the same thing. As for the fracking ... at least the homeowners were informed and gave their consent. We can't save those who are not willing to at least read the fine print. (Of course we also cannot save those whom we refuse to teach how to read or speak the language, either, but that's another story for another day.)
Cheryl Miller December 14, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Herman, do you know anything about the conflicting laws on cities in DeKalb? I thought I had read about a law that mandated that no new cities be formed that fall within a certain distance of another city. But, then I am being told by the Tucker 2014 group that they "had no choice" but to include certain areas on their map so that they did not leave any "islands." When, if using proper geography terms, I think you are all actually referring to "peninsulas" of un-served (or challenging to service) areas, not actually "islands."
Cheryl Miller December 14, 2013 at 04:44 PM
From my perspective, if they had elected to submit the bill for Tucker with the map that only included the Tucker zip code, then everyone would be happy. Evansdale would be left off the Tucker map, and we would not be seeking any property that actually belongs to the Northlake Mall, just the office areas that are in the vicinity and the Sam Moss Center and maybe another one or two school board buildings that I'm not sure are even in use unless they are storage or databank locations. But, most portions of what Lakeside wants, minus Henderson Park, would not be included on a 30084 proposal. And, Tucker would be an "island" surrounded by unincorporated DeKalb County on all sides.
Cheryl Miller December 14, 2013 at 04:44 PM
The only way it can be seen in terms of being forced to extend its borders would be if they were already working with Lakeside or other groups like yours, to make their plan actually "fit" into a giant puzzle that would neatly tie up the rest of North / Central DeKalb and remove those funds from the county and, eventually, the school system. It's hard to trust something that doesn't make sense. Right now, the only way to make sense of the Tucker 2014 map is to look at it as if they are not really advocating what the residents said they wanted. Someone else is calling the shots. That seems like a set up if you ask me.
Herman Lorenz December 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Cheryl: For most of your comments, I'd have to defer to others, since I'm not involved. But for your first question about the "not within a few miles of existing cities", the law was proposed, but not enacted. It really would be a dumb concept (pardon my editorializing), since it would potentially create long ribbons of unincorporated area that would require County police and road maintenance. As for the "island" problem, the legislature has set rules to avoid "unserviceable" areas in which the county would have to go through cities to get to its area. So the Tucker proposal had to go all the way to Doraville, just like Briarcliff had to go all the way to Decatur. In Tucker's case, their possible problem has been lessened by Doraville's decision to annex the area north-west of I-85. That still means that for Tucker and Briarcliff to become cities, someone has to take Pleasandale. For me, that's more logically Tucker; but if Tucker didn't want it, Doraville or Briarcliff would have to.
Rhea A Johnson Jr December 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Cheryl....See my comment 12/11/13.
Tom Doolittle December 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM
In fact, the buffer requirement was in municipal formation law before it was deleted to accommodate Sandy Springs. The law does NOT specifically REQUIRE new cities to abut other cities, but has become part of "new city myth" by misunderstanding the "no island" requirement as saying that "strips" are disallowed. Strips may make little sense within the suburban (and semi-urban) areas that have been targeted for "disorientation" and "social disruption" by the Legislature--but they are NOT disallowed. Reason the myth persists is that smaller city areas have not been tested via CVI studies--say a 1.5 mile radius around Oak Grove, which would obviously leave an acceptable buffer with Decatur and Atlanta. As Brookhaven is showing, the use of thinly studied economic feasibility will lead to trouble where the populous (and area) was artificially not adequately vetted for affinity, "belonging" and quite frankly, interest in general in the cityhood issue (note barely 20% voted). The answer of course is an attempted ramp-up of redevelopment, which will be another tail-wagging-dog story before a zoning code is established (the redevelopment will drive the standards, not vice-versa)--it will lead to greater relaiance (ie: giveaways) on private interests (on the backs of residents for revenue) and joint service districts with cities that have a more stable democratic profile.
Enuff Govt Already December 16, 2013 at 08:09 AM
The legislature's view that "island" = "unserviceable" shows they are stuck in another age; like horse & buggy.


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