Supporters of proposed city of Tucker updating economic feasibility study

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 20, 2015
The current Tucker Cityhood map. Source: Tucker 2015

The current Tucker Cityhood map. Source: Tucker 2015

There are several proposals for new cities in DeKalb County that are in various stages of development. The two most prominent ones are the proposed cities of LaVista Hills and Tucker.

Tucker on Jan. 20 announced that it is pushing forward by updating the feasibility study to reflects the maps approved by members of the state legislature.

Michelle Penkava of Tucker 2015 told Decaturish, “Work is well underway to continue advancing the City of Tucker.”

Back in December, a legislative panel settled a boundary dispute between the two proposed cities, dividing up the contested Northlake Mall area. Splitting an important base of commercial tax revenue means that the cities are reexamining their feasibility studies.

Recently the leaders of the LaVista Hills movement recently told unincorporated DeKalb residents living in the proposed boundaries of the city that a feasibility study is not required for their proposal to move forward in the 2015 session. However, they plan to conduct one after being advised by members of the state legislature that it would be a good idea. Cost will be an issue for the group. LaVista Hills combines the two previous proposals for Briarcliff and Lakeside. Since both already had feasibility studies, conducting another for LaVista Hills would’ve meant going back to donors for an additional $20,000 or so for a new one.

Penkava said Tucker’s study is being updated by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

“This is an important step in moving our bill forward, both to the Governmental Affairs Committee and to our community,” Penkava said. “We look forward to working with newly appointed House Governmental Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Albany, to provide the committee members with the information they need to feel confident that moving Tucker forward is in the best interest of the community and the State of Georgia.”

Tucker has fewer logistical hurdles to cityhood than the other proposals. While its map does overlap with the city of South DeKalb, there’s no bill for either of them. The last update from the City of South DeKalb’s website in November said a feasibility study was supposed to be completed by Dec. 31, but it’s not clear if that happened. We reached out to Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South Dekalb for an update on their progress and will update this story when representatives respond.

Given that Tucker is a few steps ahead of South DeKalb, it would appear the city’s proposal at least has a chance of moving forward this year without too many complications. Not so for LaVista Hills which is still in competition with an annexation map proposed by a group called Together in Atlanta. That proposal, which encompasses the Druid Hills neighborhood and its elementary schools, doesn’t have a bill either, and it’s not clear whether there will be competing bills introduced or whether the two groups will reach some kind of a compromise.

The possibility of a changing LaVista Hills map makes feasibility more difficult to determine until the boundaries are settled.

We have also reached out to LaVista Hills representatives for a status update, and will update this story with their response when it is received.

Here are the maps, and their conflicting boundaries, as they currently stand:

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Mark Snyder

    Interesting that Tucker has been able to raise the money to fund an updated Feasibility Study while LaVista Hills is struggling to come up with $20,000. Isn’t our demographic supposed to be markedly more affluent? Perhaps finding the funds is less a function of having the money, and more a function of little interest in pursuing cityhood for the oddly drawn City of LaVista Hills map.

  • notapunk

    Don’t get too cocky. How much does an updated Andrew Young study cost vs an updated UGA study? And how much does an updated Tuckef study cost vs an updated LaVista Hills study? Especially considering Tucker does not have as many moving parts.

  • FixDeKalbFirst

    It was in the contract that Tucker negotiated with Andrew Young, that updated estimates were part of the 30K package if the map were to be altered. No additional fundraising was needed. Nothing to get terribly excited about. The mandate the proponents claim is in the bag for Tucker exists only in some overzealous imaginations. There remains much education to be done to convince many that a city is necessary.

    • MAC

      Anyone that has even a vague notion of this process is well aware that many hurdles lie ahead in the process–not just for Tucker. That said, I’m still quite excited about Tucker’s prospects for achieving a cityhood bill especially compared to the other vying groups that are bogged down by additional weighty complexities. In response to FixDeKalb (and others in the DeKalb Strong camp), it should be stated for the record that a desire for cityhood does NOT mutually exclude (or preclude) the desire for a strong and viable DeKalb County. After the creation of other DeKalb cities before now, what’s fair about blocking the self determination of other areas that wish to incorporate? Or broad stroking with extremist labels (“overzealous”), neighbors who, for all sorts of legitimate reasons, wish to do so? No doubt, many DeKalb citizens need to be educated on the implications of cityhood…as well as the implications of maintaining the status quo. Still, a moratorium on cityhood doesn’t compel educating the public. Let’s keep the cityhood process moving and educate our people so that each can vote his/her their conscience at referendum. Let the referendum express the will of the people…

    • Mark Snyder

      This statement is false. After questioning the validity of such a bold claim posted by an anonymous commenter I decided to fact check. This is not in Tucker’s contract and they are raising funds to pay for the additional effort. I don’t understand the value of stating untruths in a dialogue meant to inform.

  • FixDeKalbFirst

    To Mark Snyder. In one of then Tucker 2014’s public meetings then president Sonya Szubski stood in front of a crowded room and told everyone that indeed the contract they negotiated with Andrew Young included the ability to rework the numbers if that would be necessary.

    This is the issue I have with 201X. If YOUR statement is correct, then that means the leadership of Tucker NOW are deliberately telling untruths to those of us in the community.

    And I have real problems with that. If they lie so blatantly now, what of anything they are telling the community is true? Who would want to jump on their bandwagon.

    Buyers BEWARE.

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