Greenhaven city proposal gets sponsor

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 30, 2015
The new logo for the proposed city of Greenhaven.

The new logo for the proposed city of Greenhaven.

State Rep. Pam Stephenson, D-Decatur, has agreed to sponsor a bill that would begin the process of turning most of unincorporated South DeKalb County into Georgia’s second largest city.

Greenhaven, formerly the City of South DeKalb, held a press conference Jan. 30 to announce its new name and outline its vision for what a new city would look like.

The proposed city would have a population of 300,000 and would include everything in DeKalb south of U.S. 78 up to I-285, excluding a proposed city of Stonecrest, and everything south of Memorial Drive on the other side of 285.

CCCSD President Kathryn Rice told Decaturish the group expects its feasibility study back sometime in February.

The primary goals of forming the city are economic development and ensuring the community isn’t stuck with the burden of paying the county’s pension obligations. The new cities that have formed, like Dunwoody and Brookhaven, aren’t required to support those pensions, something state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver mentioned during a recent interview. If the rest of DeKalb County incorporates, that could potentially shift the debt burden onto South DeKalb residents. CCCSD estimates the costs for unincorporated residents could increase from $91 per person to $141 per person.

But a new city could provide the impetus to reform the way the county’s pensions are funded, a handout from the group says.

“Once the city is formed, as 41 percent of the county population it can provide strong support to the county by advocating for an equitable payment from all cities,” the handout says.

Handout_Legislative 1-26-15

Greenhaven is one of several cityhood movements in DeKalb County hoping to advance in the state legislature this year. Others include LaVista Hills, Tucker and Stonecrest. No bills for new cities or annexation proposals have been introduced in the legislature. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s analysis of the situation said the proposals for Tucker and LaVista Hills area ahead of their neighbors to the south in terms of the legislative process.

The story also said that while the House Government Affairs Committee set up rules for the cities going forward, like requiring a feasibility study before next year’s session, there could also be exceptions considered “on a case-by-case basis.” To read the full article, click here.

Feasibility studies, usually conducted by an institution like the the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, determine whether a proposed city can generate enough tax revenue to provide services.

Tucker supporters are already updating their feasibility study. On Jan. 30, the LaVista Hills Yes supporters put out another call for donations to help pay for a new feasibility study, which could cost $15,000. LaVista Hills combines the previous proposals for Lakeside and Briarcliff.

Until December, LaVista Hills and Tucker were in competition and had boundaries that overlapped in the Northlake Mall area. A legislative panel settled that dispute. LaVista Hills is also rooting on Greenhaven from afar.

After the name was announced, LaVista Hills Yes posted a message on its Facebook page, saying, “Our good friends from South DeKalb have chosen a name for their proposed city! We congratulate them on moving closer to a new city in their part of the county.”

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • notapunk

    Good for “Greenhaven!” I hope their stance forces the DeKalb County Commissioners to face up to the county’s pension obligations. They can only kick the can down the road so far. We all need to share in rectifying this… without committing ourselves to future tomfoolerly.

  • MAC

    Nice roll out, Greenhaven.

  • Susan In NoMansLand

    Just out of curiosity, where exactly is that skyline featured in the new logo?? I don’t recall any skyscrapers anywhere in south DeKalb.

  • Invisible Man

    Why does the Greenhaven sky line logo look like the New York sky line. The
    new city of South DeKalb want ever look like New. However came up with that
    logo is hallucinating or psychotic. The logos for Dunwoody, Brookhaven and the
    other cities are more realistic.

  • Invisible Man

    The residents are being held with a gun barrel pointed at our head. The
    tactic is fear. We are being told that we will have to pay more taxes than the others in the county if we do not form a city. I say take the issue to court.

    What are the options in south DeKalb? Create a city, create multiple small
    cities, or maintain the status quo. The new south DeKalb city as proposed by the Concerned Citizens for Cityhood in South DeKalb would be smaller in land size than the city of Atlanta, and would include approximately 300,000 residents. The city would be approximately 90% African American. It would be largest in
    DeKalb by far, and it would be the second largest city in the State of Georgia. But this city, which would encompass most of unincorporated South DeKalb County, would be the second largest in Georgia with nearly 300,000 residents. The proposed map would include everything in DeKalb south of U.S. 78 up to I-285, excluding a proposed city of Stonecrest, and everything south of Memorial Drive on the other side of 285.

    The largest city in DeKalb is Dunwoody and Brookhaven which has 46,000 and
    49,000 residents, Both Brookhaven and Dunwoody already had significant economic development in their communities prior to their becoming cities in their own right.

    The annexation laws should be made stricter, alternative forms of
    quasi-governmental communities should be considered, private residential
    associations communities and special districts could also be alternatives to

    The CCCSD main rational is economic development, avoiding higher taxes and
    protecting assets. How is the CCCSD defining economic development, is it tax reduction? How will it achieve the economic development that it is portraying in their vision? The elephant in the room that some people want to ignore is that business investments tend not to be significant in areas that have a population of color over 65 percent. New municipalities can impact taxes, school districts, land-use, growth control, environmental regulations, elected representation and public utility services. New municipalities can lead to fragmentation and competition for financial resources between local governments.

    The process of forming cities should require a petition before an organization
    or person can represent themselves as speaking for the community or in the name
    of the citizens.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions that citizens in South DeKalb do not
    know about in terms of the form of government the new proposed city will have.
    What kind of mayor or city manager will this new proposed city have? Will the
    city council be strong? What kind ethnics review will be in the charter?

    There should be a way for citizens in South DeKalb opt out of the new city
    if it does not want to be a part of the shot gun city.

    The citizens of DeKalb would be better served if the CCCSD would file a
    court case against the county and the other cities in regards to the tax
    liabilities and pension obligations that are not being shared by all the property
    owners of the county. How can a new city such as the city of Dunwoody or
    Brookhaven not be equally responsible for pension and bonds that were already
    obligated prior to their cityhood make no sense.

    It would be equally appropriate if our political leaders in DeKalb ask the
    State Legislators to amend the annexations and consolidation laws to prohibit
    hostile takeovers, without the consent of the governed. Some states have laws that require the cities to make up for the lose revenue of the county.

    It seems that shotgun cities are appearing all over the DeKalb County. Who
    will pay the county bills once all the local communities become cities? The state Legislature stop this cityhood movement in the county. The county needs leadership on this issue. The citizens should not remain silent on this issue.

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