Central DeKalb Neighborhoods Prefer to Remain Unincorporated


Dan Wright

Central DeKalb Neighborhoods Forced to Choose Municipalities Prefer to Remain Unincorporated

Surveys Reveal No City Choice


(Central DeKalb County, GA.
December 18, 2014)
Today the leadership of established communities joined together to
create a single continuous block that stretches five miles eastward from the City of Atlanta to North DeKalb Mall
expressing a clear preference to be excluded from the currently proposed city
and annexation maps. The neighborhoods
of LaVista Park, Merry Hills, North Druid Hills, North Amanda Circle, Leafmore,
and Laurel Ridge Shamrock are reluctant to make uninformed or hasty decisions
about joining a city that could separate them from their neighborhood schools,
parks, community centers and each other.
Victoria Estates and Mason Mill residents made it clear in their surveys
that a majority of them wish to remain unincorporated. Most groups conducted independent surveys
recently and all reached similar conclusions, residents are concerned the
important factors needed to make final decisions are not yet clear.

These neighborhoods are long-established stable communities
that have enjoyed decades of high achieving public schools, strong home values,
good county services as-well-as proximity to valuable jobs and commercial
centers. Surveys asking what city would
be preferred if a municipal choice has to be made immediately came to different
conclusions and the answers vary widely based on proximity to other boundaries,
schools and commercial centers. Many
residents prefer to not be in a city at all.

During a public meeting early in December a resounding
majority of LaVista Park, Merry Hills, and North Druid Hills expressed
preference for deferring the decision to choose and many neighborhood residents
signed petitions requesting a one or two year city formation moratorium. They asked for more time to retain qualified
professionals to assess the real impacts of this deeply important decision that
could impact everything from their real estate taxes, school choices, property
values and elected representatives.

The Georgia legislative session begins in January and a
5-member special Boundary Arbitration Subcommittee of the Legislative
Governmental Affairs Committee expects DeKalb county citizens to choose city
referendum boundaries before the end of December, 2014. The neighborhoods held many meetings, met
with elected officials and proposal supporters to gather information, but the
issues and unresolved questions remain deeply complex. The normal process requires two years for
impact and feasibility analysis but new city proposal has been given an abbreviated
schedule and the boundaries are have not been finalized. The process annexation supporters have chosen
can also be completed during 2015. Each
community should be given time to determine consensus. It is unclear why the current new city and
annexation proposals are being rushed when Tucker, Lakeside, and Briarcliff
have been unable to reach an agreement within two years.

LaVista Park, Merry Hills and North Druid Hills only learned
in November that their neighborhoods were included in the boundaries of as many
as three competing new city/annexation proposal maps—City of Atlanta, LaVista
Hills and Brookhaven–which jumped its original legislative barrier of I-85 in
early December to annex property up to Briarcliff Rd. Information about levels of service, taxes,
school districts, policing, zoning and many other matters that would change
under each of these City scenarios is not clear, and many of the neighborhoods
have not been formally contacted by any of the proposed municipality

Neighborhood civic
leader comments:

“The majority of the
residents of Merry Hills are opposed to rushing into cityhood right now. They
feel that in light of the many unresolved and unclear issues, the prudent
approach would be to hold off and explore the financial viability of the
proposed cities as well as the other complex issues.”

Moshe Hiller, President, Merry Hills Homeowner Association.


“Based on preliminary
results of a LaVista Park survey, our neighborhood’s preference is to remain a
part of unincorporated DeKalb. If that
will not be possible, our survey does not indicate a majority preference for a
particular annexation or incorporation plan.
Brookhaven’s recent and rapid annexation of Executive Park has
complicated our decision and our process.”

Steve Richards,
President, LaVista Park Civic Association, Dec. 18, 2014

“A recent survey indicated that 83% of our
residents wanted a moratorium on cityhood and annexation in order to evaluate a
myriad of complex and rapidly changing variables. Competing proposals threaten to split our
neighborhood into 2 or 3 different municipalities and to separate us from the
commercial properties we have always considered part of our identity. “

Martha Gross, Zoning and
Land Use Chair, North Druid Hills Residents Association


INCORPORATE! The Leafmore Creek Park
Hills Civic Association Board of Directors states that our board members and
many neighborhood residents herewith express their collective concern that the
new city of Lavista Hills proposed boundaries continue to change and evolve,
and are still not settled! This unresolved situation makes it impossible at
this point in time for our residents to make a properly informed decision on
whether to vote for or against this new city. The very recent annexations of
Executive Park and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta into Brookhaven- two
commercial areas that were also included in the Lavista Hills map- also
contribute to economic uncertainty. We believe the prudent course for our
neighborhood is to defer support for any city or annexation for at least one

Approved on the 17th
of December, 2014 by the Leafmore Creek Park Hills Board of Directors.
Dan Wisenhunt, send a message with your e-mail address if you want our full press release with a map.http://www.decaturish.com/2014/12/cityhood-committee-votes-friday/


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