UPDATE: COBI Says Study Finds Briarcliff 'Most Financially Feasible Cityhood Plan for Central DeKalb'

Group announces press conference Tuesday and community meeting Thursday.

Updated, 9:15 a.m. Monday: The City of Briarcliff Initiative announced Monday morning that a feasibility study, conducted by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, "confirmed that Briarcliff is the most financially feasible cityhood plan currently proposed for Central DeKalb County."

A press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Toco Hills Shopping Center near 2105 Lavista Road, the COBI announcement said. A follow-up public meeting to review the results of the CVI study will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, at Briarcliff United Methodist Church, 4105 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta.

“An independent study has confirmed what so many in central DeKalb already knew that Briarcliff is positioned to be the most sensible city for central DeKalb,” Allen Venet, COBI president, said in a news release. “Our proposed city has a strong blend of residential, commercial and industrial areas. Our map is smart and does not abandon neighborhoods. We believe the members of this community deserve the chance to publicly vote on Briarcliff cityhood.”

Keith Hanks, member of the executive board, commented, “The Briarcliff cityhood plan is funded by local citizens. Over 99% of funds donated have come from local residents within the proposed city limits, making this a successful grassroots effort. Our next step includes refining cityhood plans, translating into necessary legal language and presenting as a proof of concept to the Georgia House of Representatives in the next session.”

Further details on the study findings were not immediately available.


The City of Briarcliff Initiative plans to announce the results of a feasibility study of its cityhood plan in a 2 p.m. Tuesday press conference at a location in Toco Hill.

The COBI board is examining the study and looking over the numbers. COBI President Allen Venet told a gathering last Monday night that the study, conducted by the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, would find the plan economically viable.

Venet, at that time, could not give the audience details, including how much of a surplus CVI would project for the Briarcliff plan.

Patch will update this story as details become available.

Roberto December 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Now the fun really begins! How will the LCA scramble to regroup and will try to discredit the COBI study? Will COBI and Tucker groups agree to a mutual boarder along I-285? How will the Georgia General Assembly deal with this upheaval?
RandyRand December 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Is this a press release from REALVILLE or RAINBOW Land? Remember: If you like your Plan and Doctor you can keep your Plan and Doctor! Only in the world of Liberal Math can you add Slums and High Crime (Scottdale)to and area and become “More Feasible” ! More feasible for WHAT? This is the REAL question: More Local Control…..NO! A Better focus on local zoning……NO! My bet is COBI/Briarcliff’s results will show that they are mini mirror image of Dekalb County today. We don’t need a new city to just to end up back in the same boat we are in today.
Keith Hanks December 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM
@Randy - specifically this is about financial feasibility and if a city could fiscally survive. Study uses the same group that Lakeside used out of UGA making it apples to apples. Additional specifics will be revealed at the press conference and through the public meeting Thursday night. I know you comment alot on here and this is something I hope you can attend because there's alot of skepticism on this topic and rightfully so. No government is perfect and cityhood isn't a magic wand. I'm a small government supporter so the idea and practicality of cityhood came after alot of thought and sobering realizations on DeKalb. There's a large belief those within the proposed boundaries are not represented well and that the challenges of the area cannot be solved at the county level because the county has a deaf ear. Not sure what zoning examples you have, but we have restaurants that took 6-months to get a permit for a new sink from DeKalb County -- unacceptable given the nature of the business. We have near vacant buildings with holes in them sitting ideal bringing down the area. The study proves Briarcliff can be independent and sustainable. Now its time to roll up our sleeves as neighbors and focus on how to free us from the tyranny of DeKalb.
TruthWillSetYouFree December 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM
How nice of COBI to have the press conference actually in the proposed city. What a novel idea. I guess Lakeside didn't want to make its funders and supporters drive to far which is why it held theirs in downtown Atlanta near the lobbyists and attorneys.
Herman Lorenz December 16, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Thanks to the Patch for actually reporting on events in the area. There are not a lot of other media organizations that actually report much about what's happening.
mikeatl December 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Randy: CVI is the same organization that your LCA buddies were holding meetings about last week. They went through a couple hourse of bragging how good they were, and that CVI confirmed it. Turns out that CVI found Briarcliff to be a more financially feasible organization than Lakeside. The appropriate response is not to call CVI names, but to accept the obvious fact.
Carrie Redwine December 16, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Yay City of Briarcliff! Sanity prevails!!
RandyRand December 16, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I have no issue with Cityhood or CVI so I guess we will have to see for ourselves IF the CVI actually says COBI is “MORE Feasible” OR if this is simply COBI's attempt to paint a Rainbow! My bet is that this is this is another Briarcliff finger painted Rainbow!
Frannie D. December 16, 2013 at 04:08 PM
The CVI likely only looks at existing business tax bases too. With the imminent expansions of Emory Point, Suburban Plaza and the farmers market alone (none of which Lakeside chose to include in their map) a city of Briarcliff should be seeing even higher returns than is beintg shown now on business taxes in 2014 and beyond. This will further support feasibility and help take burden from homeowner taxation. 
Frannie D. December 16, 2013 at 04:20 PM
To COBI and supporters: please take a look at the interesting suggestion I saw just now on the Briarcliff Facebook page. A couple posters there make an excellent case for renaming the city 'Emory', as it is so central to our sense of place in this neighborhood, and is an internationally known brand that would be known as a distinctive and desirable location. It would likely help strategically as well. In a Lakeside v. Emory battle, the winner is clear due to the affinity and support it would get. But that is not even the primary rationale for consideration just a bonus. Anyway, an interesting idea I hadn't heard anyone mention to date.
Longerthanu December 16, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Naming a city Emory is great in theory and a good marketing ploy, but Emory University already thought of that and is very protective of its brand. It might not be doable if the goal is to keep taxes low. . http://communications.emory.edu/brand_licensing/licensing.html
D.H. December 16, 2013 at 08:07 PM
The CVI has deemed both COB and Lakeside viable entities. But which would be town has Fran Millar working for it?
Jim Tackett December 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Hmm. City of "Emory?" THAT is a great idea. You're right, it's not only great marketing, but would serve to preserve property values and define our location. It would rise us up over all the "designer" cities popping up--it's a real place that we identify with. Most of us already say we live in the "Emory area." Longer, I just looked at the licensing link you posted. You were smart to look into that. But from first glance it looks like it might not be a problem. They claim rights to "Emory University" and Emory branding/logos--neither of which apply. Any attorneys out there want to take a look? Herman, is COBI dead-set on keeping the name Briarcliff? Are you folks willing to entertain other ideas?
Herman Lorenz December 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Jim: My first suggestion for a name was "City of Emory". I didn't win that discussion. But I do think it represents the area well. Although the Mercer folks might feel slighted.
Jim Tackett December 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Interesting. Is this something that you guys would perhaps allow the citizens to chime in on, via a vote, before all is said and done? I don't know how large your COBI team is (the ones who nixed your excellent idea) -- but are they willing to take suggestions from the community as well? I have seen plenty of people (myself included) who don't care for the name "Briarcliff," so there will always be someone who feels slighted, no matter what. Emory is a worldwide entity. It would help this effort get passed. It's really something to consider. Also--thanks for listening and responding to us posters, and I wish you the best at your press conference today.
Tom Doolittle December 17, 2013 at 01:15 PM
(1) Glad you brought up the naming stuff. The Brookhaven name was made after the referendum decision was made by the legislature. If it was done that way where there was only one advocacy group, it certainly is likely it will be done where the legislature is going to form a community that includes two, if not three advocacy groups. (2) On the Emory name--figure into your plans that Emory is likely lobbying not to be included in a city (maybe Atlanta down the road however). (3) On Emory name pissing off Mercer--you bet, aand brings up (again) the fact that these are two entirely different communities and your cities have to be smaller to have historically affiliated neighborhoods. (4) On Jim Tackett having to ask how big the COBI formation group is and ask that The People be heard...that won't be the first time it'll happen..just as it won't with Lakeside...the process of small advocacy groups formulating maps and names has been, is and will always be wrong where communities aren't already affiliated (such as Sandy Springs and Dunwoody). There's gonna be trouble in Paradise.
Frannie D. December 17, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Well, as someone who lives of Lavista, the "Briarcliff" name really hacks me off. I mean, it's miles away. KIDDING! My point is, you can never please everyone. (Ever try naming a pet with multiple kids in the household?) It'll be the same with cityhood. You can't avoid contention--change of any kind is never smooth, it's the nature of physical life. You can't let that be a road block to trying new ideas for moving ourselves forward. A city will be leaner and able to adjust with tweaks and checks as they become necessary--more so than the County ever could.
Longerthanu December 17, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I'd certainly get a lawyer to look it over first. I do know Emory forced a new townhome development on Lawrenceville Highway to change its name from "Emory" something or other a couple of years back.
TruthWillSetYouFree December 17, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Looking at the report if I am reading right it shows we would have a surplus of almost 6.6 million dollars. Thats even a bigger surplus then Lakeside right?
Roger Kennedy December 17, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Since it's 50% larger in population and square miles, logically it is larger.
Jim Tackett December 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Roger, it is not purely quantitative like that. It is qualitative. Meaning it's not a straight proportion of size to surplus. You have to assess the kinds of properties at hand, and their relative revenues and liabilities. Briarcliff has more residents to "feed," if you will. If they had a proportional amount of business taxes, the two surpluses could potentially work out roughly the same. But their map has a proportionally higher quality and quantity of tax base, which helps create the larger surplus. Not only that, as Frannie points out, we have upcoming developments that will add even more to the budget (Phase 3 Emory Point, Suburban Walmart, etc.) COBI's plan truly is better for our wallets as homeowners, and more sustainable.
TruthWillSetYouFree December 17, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Did Lakeside make their report public? I can't seem to find it on their site. If I remember hearing the numbers right it seems the Briarcliff plan shifts a larger tax burden to commercial property owners (vs us residential owners) then the Lakeside plan. Can anyone confirm this is correct? It would seem if this is true another reason why Briarcliff is the better plan.
Jay Scott (Editor) December 17, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Truth, you can find Lakeside's study by simply scrolling down on the homepage of the LCA site. There are links there to download it. We'll be weighing in on questions like you've just raised, but others can feel free to jump in....
Roger Kennedy December 17, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Carrie, more police out there patrolling the neighborhoods in both. Can make navigation home without any detours (unintended or not) difficult.
Roger Kennedy December 17, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Truth, I believe it's the opposite. Briarcliff has 15% non-taxable, which included Emory, CDC, VA hospital, etc. Don't see where that 's included in their feasibility report, though.
Tom Doolittle December 17, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Brookhaven's forgotten "past"--think we've got a railroad? http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com/2011/03/annexation-proposal-could-expand.html


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »