Decatur Commission approves annexation plan

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 15, 2014
Decatur City Commissioners listen to public comments during a Dec. 15 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decatur City Commissioners listen to public comments during a Dec. 15 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated. 

Decatur’s City Commission has approved an annexation master plan that it hopes will move forward in the 2015 session of the General Assembly.

The vote was unanimous.

The approval will be effective pending support of the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education. On Dec. 9 the School Board delayed supporting the plan. Board members said they needed more time to study it. The BOE is supposed to come up with a resolution in support of the plan by Dec. 18. The School Board has called a special meeting for Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 am.

The city will try to find a sponsor for its annexation bill. If the bill passes in the 2015 session, the annexation proposal will be decided by voters in a referendum.

Commissioners also removed two portions of the draft annexation plan: A section on the east side of Jordan Lane in annexation Area B, which would be difficult for the city to service, and a small portion of annexation Area A, which has an Atlanta address.

City Manager Peggy Merriss recommended that Decatur City Commissioners remove this portion of Annexation Area A from the city's master plan because it has an Atlanta address.

City Manager Peggy Merriss recommended that Decatur City Commissioners remove this portion of Annexation Area A from the city’s master plan because it has an Atlanta address.

 

Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss also recommended removing this portion of annexation area B, which is on the other side of Jordan Lane.

Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss also recommended removing this portion of annexation Area B, which is on the other side of Jordan Lane.

Decatur and Avondale Estates are two players in a larger move to incorporate areas of DeKalb County that are not currently in cities. Decatur’s revision of its master plan was more of a reaffirmation of its previous one. City leaders have discouraged interest from residential neighborhoods like Medlock and Decatur Terrace. Neighborhoods would put more pressure on the Decatur’s schools. CSD already is in the process of expanding its high school and middle school to handle enrollment growth.

But Decatur’s plan does go after commercial areas, like Suburban Plaza.

Medlock Area Neighborhood Association President Lynn Ganim spoke against the annexation plan during the Dec. 15 meeting. Medlock isn’t in any annexation or cityhood map. MANA argues that the city is taking away vital commercial areas that could make the neighborhood desirable to another city.

“The businesses are an integral part of our community,” Ganim said. “Your unreasonable annexation would sever the technical ties we have to those areas. We are offended and feel this is an inappropriate way for neighbors to treat neighbors.”

The Decatur schools system’s current enrollment is 4,336 students. A consultant’s report on enrollment estimates that the city’s school system will grow to 7,398 students by 2020 without annexation in a high-growth scenario. If the city is able to annex the areas in this plan it would increase that number by 747 students by 2020.

The city would need to build a new fire station and hire additional firefighters to serve area B in the annexation map. Area B includes Suburban Plaza and DeKalb Medical Center.

City Manager Peggy Merriss said if the city annexes these areas it will need to hire five more police officers, one police investigator and 28 additional employees for the fire department. She told commissioners on Dec. 15 that if the annexation passes, Decatur’s ratio of residential to commercial properties would shift from 85 percent residential, 15 commercial to 76 percent residential, 24 percent commercial

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Meghan

    I asked Ms. Merriss to consider not splitting the area off Jordan Ln. Looks like she only took some of it out, still leaving our neighborhood split in half. Great.

  • Meghan

    Dan – did they also remove the new townhomes on Jordan from Area B? They are also on the east side of the road. If they haven’t, I find that to be sketchy….except that the taxes from those townhomes would much higher than the small, older homes that were removed. I’ve checked the city’s website and can’t find anything specific on the properties removed.

    • It was an amendment made at the meeting. I’ll do some checking on it.

  • anonymous

    thieves

  • Valerie

    Thanks for posting this. I own one of the condos on the east side of Jordan Lane and am also surprised and disappointed that they are splitting the neighborhood. I’m not sure what makes parts of the neighborhood “difficult to service” (especially if they are still taking commercial property across the street – both the former Shoney’s/Indian restaurant/now-a-car-lot and the complex with Cafe Istanbul), but they really need to go all or nothing. The residential values (along with the safety) in the neighborhood) has been directly related to the condition of the commercial property on that street. That won’t change. I think there’s more to this.

  • TribePride

    The CSD board’s site states that the special planned meeting is called for December 17th, not Dec 18th as repeatedly mentioned by Ms. Merriss last night. This might warrant a note in the article above, as there may very well be folks interested in making public comment at the board meeting.

Receive the Daily Email DIgest

* = required field