Atlanta Mayor supports Druid Hills annexation

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 18, 2014

This story was published at 5:09 pm on Nov. 18. 

A proposal to annex Druid Hills and three DeKalb County schools – Briar Vista Elementary, Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills High – into Atlanta has the support of the city’s mayor.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office confirmed to Decaturish that Reed supports an annexation map submitted by Together in Atlanta, a group that consists of many of the supporters of creating a Druid Hills Charter Cluster. The DeKalb County School Board wouldn’t consider the group’s petition and it was withdrawn. That map also encroaches on territory sought by the city of Decatur in its proposed annexation map and the proposed city of LaVista Hills. If approved, the annexation could also disrupt the high school feeder pattern for schools in Avondale Estates and other parts of the county.

“The Mayor does support the map proposed by Together in Atlanta,” spokesperson Melissa Mullinax said.

Together in Atlanta sent this letter to Amy Carter, chairwoman of the state House Governmental Affairs Committee.

November 17, 2014

The Honorable Amy Carter
House Governmental Affairs Committee
Georgia House of Representatives
218 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Re: Proposed Atlanta Annexation

Dear Chairman Carter:

On behalf of the steering committee of Together In Atlanta (“TIA”), we respectfully submit the attached map of a proposed Atlanta annexation in west central DeKalb County for your consideration. The proposed map includes Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the complete school zones for Briar Vista Elementary and Fernbank Elementary.

As an organization, TIA’s formation is an outgrowth of the anticipated further municipalization of central and north DeKalb County being handled by your committee. The attached map of a proposed Atlanta annexation helps to prevent an unincorporated island at Atlanta’s eastern boundary, allows the neighborhoods in the proposed annexation area to preserve their elementary school zones within the same local governmental jurisdiction, and creates a manageable service area for municipal services.

Thank you very much for your consideration and for your leadership on the issue of municipalization. We look forward to working with you, other legislators, and City of Atlanta officials to support a legislative resolution that incorporates this proposed Atlanta annexation map and permits it to be put to voter referendum in 2015.


Matthew S. Lewis
Steering Committee Member
Together In Atlanta, Inc.

Here is the map proposed by Together in Atlanta. It follows the boundary lines of the school attendance zones for Fernbank and Briar Vista Elementary Schools.

Proposed NE Atlanta Annexation Map

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  • notapunk

    That plan is a hot mess. It really screws the rest of the schools in the Druid Hills cluster. Really low, Druid Hills. Really low.

    • DHH

      I don’t understand the reasoning here. Is your point that because Druid Hills shares a high school with other neighborhoods, that they should never be able to annex to Atlanta? Druid Hills High School came from the prior independent Druid Hills School District. Some of the further out communities benefited from this relationship, but this in no way means these arrangements are fixed until the Sun runs out of hydrogen. Druid Hills going into Atlanta helps Atlanta. Having a stronger city of Atlanta helps the region as a whole. Not everyone benefits from change, but if the net benefit is there, then it is worthwhile.

      • DecaturNotDecatur

        But you assume a net benefit. Atlanta isn’t an island. This plan adversely effects more neighbors than it benefits. By leaving the rest of the feeder schools without a high school you potentially negatively effects property values in neighborhoods around all of those schools. And if that becomes the case, the negative effect could domino into the county, etc… so, no net benefit.

        • notapunk

          Thank you DecaturNotDecatur, you beat me to the punch. So Druid Hills takes the high school and two elementary schools with it to Atlanta and leaves three elementary schools with nowhere to go. The remaining area high schools are already full. But heaven forbid DH takes these “lesser” schools, too. What’s best for the folks in the great big money pit homes is best for everybody, right?

  • Not happy

    Yeah, this really blows. Avondale area is getting hit hard by this.

  • Insight

    Pot call kettle black Decatur with your running-out-of-money and needing-to-take (read: condemn) commercial property despite having one of the highest QBE+PP formulas in the state. Low, Decatur, really low.

  • Robert Butera

    So they only want the part of the Emory campus south of the tracks? That’s bizarre. Emory Hospital, but not parts of the clinic or the CDC. Did anyone who drew that look at an Emory or CDC campus map?

    • Jim


      I think you’re misreading the map. Both pink and green shaded areas will be annexed into Atlanta. It’s just illustrating the two elementary schools in the annexation proposal.

      “The proposed map includes Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the complete school zones for Briar Vista Elementary and Fernbank Elementary.”

      • Robert Butera

        I misread. Thought it was just pink.

  • Helen Pope Taylor

    That map doesn’t reflect the annexation of east and west park wood by Decatur this year.

  • This is a HUGE scoop. Well done. Great reporting.

    • Thanks, George. I was surprised the mayor’s office confirmed it so quickly.

  • druidhillsmom

    Not all residents want this. It will disrupt the schools our children have attended for years. It will take away a significant portion of the more affluent neighborhoods from the middle school district leaving other children in the dust. Is that what we are about?? What’s best for our property values over what’s best for kid’s all around? Leaving Dekalb will just make the voice of those who want change even quieter–and those who don’t have the resources will be left hanging. Let’s face it, the majority of the volunteers for the middle school live in this area. What does that leave them with?? I think this annexation thing is one of the most selfish things I have ever heard of, and I live in the neighborhood south of Emory that will be annexed. Please, DON’T do this to others. Don’t upset what our children have been a part of their whole lives.

  • blackbird13

    So does this mean those in Avondale with kids in Druid Hills will likely be zoned for Clarkston?

  • angel

    This plan is destructive to the entire area. So many children will be displaced. Those from outside the district that have been accepted to FB, BV or DHHS for increased opportunities will be lost. The families that have worked so hard to build up Medlock, Laurel Ridge, McClendon and Avondale will lose their center. I feel for the families in Medlock who have already lost one school but had the reliance of Druid Hills High School as a constant.

    Property values in the surrounding areas will flounder and that will definitely have an impact on the entire community. And I am skeptical that the entire Briar Vista district will make it into the annexation area. The commercial property is too valuable. Lavista Hills will probably chip away at a lot of it and with the current attitude of DH/Emory which seems to be unconcerned with those outside their direct neighborhood they”ll really get lost in the shuffle.

    People keep telling me to fear the Lavista Hills Cityhood movement. I’m not a fan but at least they aren’t suggesting taking away a school for 2/5 of the population.

    If DH wants to go, then go. But leave the high school out of it. APS has plenty of empty school buildings you can fill, but I assume these aren’t in the right location or community. Move to Morningside or go street by street, but leave the community property behind.

    I hope there is an opposition group forming in Druid Hills and if so I’d love to learn more about it.

  • HA Hurley

    What happens to the middle school option?
    Is Druid Hills Middle not an option for children in the Briar Vista/Fernbank zone?
    Do those children attend Inman Middle, which is overcrowded?
    Druid Hills HS will become highly underenrolled with only two feeder elem schools. Pls provide more details as we consider moving in this direction.

    • TN Crawlle

      Briar Vista/Fernbank will become K-8 schools — No middle school needed

      • Lifetime Resident

        No room for middle school students there – the ES are not losing any population. Druid Hills HS will have plenty of space, though, after losing 3/5 of their students.

  • Brad

    Boy, now all that’s left to really throw the ‘sabo’ into the looms…pass a law or constitutional amendment allowing cities to form independent school districts, as has been proposed. Wonder if Decatur is open to a Decatur-Avondale Unified School District?

    • Brad

      I think I know the answer to that.

  • DH

    This is not a pretty affair but it has been foisted upon us by events to the north of us. The more cities that are created, the less business taxes are available to the county. It is not residential property taxes which keeps the county running. Only homes valued at 400,000 or more actually pay for all the county services. Everyone else is to some degree subsidized by wealthier home owners and business taxes. Hence Druid Hills dilemma. If we stay in unincorporated Dekalb our property taxes are going to go up quite a bit and our services may very well decline. This situation really is rotten. I’ve lived in the unincorporated Dekalb section of Druid Hills for close to 20 years and think the county has been run fairly well even with the corruption problems – strange as that might sound. But the case is that new cities are coming and Druid Hills has only one real option to escape a financially strapped Dekalb county. Joining Atlanta is the better of two bad choices.

    • notapunk

      Seriously? You people are screwing everyone else in DeKalb. Do some more math and base it on fact.

      • DH

        Who are “you people”? The new cities? Druid Hills? The last few Dekalb CEOs and county commissioners? Or how about the school board?

  • notapunk

    Try to justify it any way you want. It’s screwing your neighbors, pure and simple. You are way overstating the benefit of Druid Hills to all the people in Atlanta. Your area is not THAT valuable overall. Sorry. There is much more valuable land in Atlanta. Get over yourselves.

    • DHH

      I completely disagree. It cannot be simultaneously true that Druid Hills is not that beneficial to Atlanta, but very beneficial to Dekalb at the same time. Also I am not on myself.

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