Legal notices published for LaVista Hills, Tucker and Stonecrest

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt February 27, 2015

This story has been updated. 

This week’s edition of The Champion newspaper has three legal notices for three proposed cities in DeKalb County: LaVista Hills, Tucker and DeKalb County.

The notices were provided to by Avondale Estates City Manager Clai Brown after the publisher visited city hall to pick up a copy of the free version of The Champion. Brown pointed out that the notice for the Tucker appeared in the subscription version of The Champion.

Brown also provided a copy:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The legal notices do not give a time frame for introduction of the bills, but they would have to be introduced by crossover day, which is March 13.

Earlier this week, DeKalb Strong, a group opposed to the current cityhood process, told its membership that state Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, would introduce the LaVista Hills bill. Taylor’s district does not include the proposed map of LaVista Hills. That area is represented by state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta.

Decaturish has left messages with Taylor and Holcomb seeking comment. This story will be updated when they respond.

The Tucker legislation does not list a sponsor, but it is widely expected to be State Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain. Jason Lary, with the city of Stonecrest, said state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, and state Rep. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia, will be the cosponsors of that cityhood bill, but the listed sponsor in the legal notice is State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler, D-Lithonia.

State Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, said “It’s really not surprising” that Taylor will introduce the LaVista Hills bill.

“I did talk to him last week and he said he hadn’t decided yet, but he was getting a lot of pressure,” Drenner said.

Pressure from who?

“People up in that area,” Drenner said. “People from the northern part of the county.”

Why would people in the northern part of DeKalb County care about LaVista Hills cityhood?

“I don’t know,” Drenner said. “I have no idea.”

State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia, said she couldn’t comment on the LaVista Hills bill, saying she was focused on the Stonecrest legislation. She said the bill’s chances are good, primarily because there’s no competition between the current cityhood movements.

“We have not seen the infighting that we saw last year between cities,” she said. Kendrick is referring to the conflicts between a proposed city of Tucker and the maps for Briarcliff and Lakeside. Lakeside and Briarcliff combined to form the LaVista Hills cityhood movement.

Lary, with the city of Stonecrest movement, likes the bill’s chances this year.

“I think we have proven that we are viable,” he said. “I think we have proven that we have a specific brand that we can market to employers. And I think that the people of the Stonecrest corridor will vote “yes” in being able to have a new city and have government closer to the people.”

Attempts to reach other members of the DeKalb delegation for comment have so far been unsuccessful.

According to the Decaturish cityhood map, embedded below, there is some overlap between Tucker’s map and Greenhaven. There have been lo legal notices published regarding that cityhood bill, though Greenhaven supporters yesterday announced that they had received some good news. A recently-completed study says the city would be able to generate enough tax revenue to provide services.

It’s unclear whether those differences will be resolved in the map attached to the Tucker cityhood bill. Also, there’s no word on whether LaVista Hills has resolved its conflicts with a proposal from Together in Atlanta, a group seeking to annex the Druid Hills community into Atlanta.

When asked for a response, Allen Venet with LaVista Hills Yes said, “It seems that each week brings more evidence of the problems in DeKalb’s county government. We continue to believe that new cities are an important part of the necessary reforms and we are very hopeful that the Georgia General Assembly will pass a bill allowing residents the right to vote on this question.  These issues have been studied and debated for years, and further delay is not a solution.”

Michelle Penkava of Tucker 2015 said via email that, “Tucker is ready and it’s time to move forward. Our community is excited about taking this important step toward achieving cityhood for Tucker.”

Anne Wallace with Together in Atlanta said she has not seen the LaVista Hills map attached to Taylor’s bill.

“We have had no conversations in 2015 with LaVista Hills regarding our overlapping border,” she said. “We have not seen the map they will submit.”

This is a developing story. Check for updates.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Teacher Reader

    Dan, there are other Representatives besides Scott Holcomb that have constituents in the Lavista Hills map. Rahn Mayo, Karla Drenner, Michele Henson do as well. Mary Margret Oliver may as well. How do these representatives feel about Rep. Taylor who has no constituents in the Lavista Hills map dropping this bill?

    • Working on all that. Just got the notices this morning.

    • Story has been updated with the comments received thus far.

    • RAJ

      Remember that most of these folks have known one another’s views for years,offices are next to one another or one floor above or below, served on some of the same committees for years, have from time to time served in different districts. Local legislation passes thru all their hands, and Tom being one of the three members of the Majority party on the DeKalb Delegation has probably a little more influence with constituents and legislation and is not bashful to let it show.

  • justinatl

    I would also like to know what these reps say. I wonder what Taylor would think if Holcomb dropped a bill that only effected his district? Please ask Taylor that specific question. Please also ask what business does he think it is of his to be involved in this area to begin with?

  • Smarter Than You

    This is outrageous. From school to soccer to church to neighbors, I have YET to come across anyone who thinks this LaVista Hills land grab will lead to better government. I know the 5 or 6 people pushing this and they were the only ones at the Elena Parent’s community meeting who are pro-LaVista Hills. They have it all planned out – who’s gonna be mayor… who’s gonna get the contracts… who’s property is gonna be where city hall goes… who’s gonna be the zoning person. It’s sickening they have to turn to Republican Tom Taylor to do their bidding.

    • justinatl993

      Smarter I am with you. In my Oak Grove neighborhood which has 100’s of homes we have a few random Lavista Hill signs but thats about it. None of my conversations with neighbors seem to indicate there is a big interest in a city. Their main concerns are the schools which forming a city has nothing to do with.

    • notapunk

      Unless you have proof of those allegations that you’re willing to share, I’m going to call BS on them. Heck, I’m going to call BS on them anyway. They don’t get to pick out all of those things. There will be an election for a mayor and a city council if LaVista Hills becomes a city. The city council will make those decisions. Members of LVHYES can run for office (although Woodworth and Venet have said publicly that they won’t run for Mayor), but there is absolutely no guarantee they would be elected.

    • anonymous

      I’ve come across lots of people who think incorporating into LH is a good idea, and I live ITP. Despite the claims of Dekalb Strong and others, there are lots of us who are sick and tired of the County corruption and want to take back some control over what goes on in our community. The Commission demonstrates on an almost daily basis their inability to effectively govern or reform. Why don’t us supporters have signs and speak out more? Because we are sick and tired of the bullying and harrassment we receive from anti-incorporation groups. These voter suppression tactics need to stop. We want a vote. If it fails, so be it, but our voices deserve to be counted.

      • Teacher Reader

        The cityhood supporters and organizers are the ones in my community that don’t allow people without other view points to speak without slandering them in the community. Lavista Hills co-chairs were asked who the people are that make up their committee and they refused to answer at the Young Israel meeting. They also refused to answer what committees they had formed and who was on them. I’m personally not necessarily against creating a better government, but what I’ve seen from Lavista Hills, especially after watching Brookhaven Council meetings, tells me that a city of Lavista Hills will bring us the same BS that we deal with from the county, so we’ll end up having to watch yet another government layer like a hawk, which makes no sense.

        The creation of Lavista Hills will push other communities not in their map into the city of Atlanta. There are great implications to our schools with this annexation and the annexation proposed by the city of Decatur for commercial property. Not enough thought and understanding of the implications of all of these cities has been thought through and there are still areas not in any map, with no commercial property, so how are they going to effect these “viable” cities if they are forced to be put into the maps.

        What Lakeside elementary school is going to get redistricted for Laurel Ridge? What will happen to McLendon and Avondale Elementary? What will happen with Druid Hills Middle School? What programs are going to need to be cut because of the loss of tax dollars from these annexations? What will the loss of Fernbank Science Center do the science programs offered in DeKalb Schools? How will the loss of Druid Hills High School be felt throughout the county? What will it’s loss have on the school system?

        There are still communities that do not know where they stand because of overlapping maps between Lavista Hills and Together in Atlanta. Communities have not been consulted and the surveys communities have taken are not being used.

        DeKalb Strong has only asked to take a step back and think all of this through, as there are many ripples that no one knows about or understands. Maps for this exercise need to be done with communities, not a small group of people who have zero leadership skills, and zero ability to be honest and transparent. Unincorporated DeKalb County doesn’t need to be cut up and have another layer of government added right now. DeKalb County residents need to work together to stop the corruption and racial tensions that are tearing the county apart.

        • anonymous

          Here is the problem with waiting: annexations. We cannot stop the momentum there. Cities are grabbing commercial properties. If we lose our entire big business base in unincorporated Dekalb we will fail. If we try to stop that and deprive people from access to our laws as provided by our state constitution there will be major lawsuits. This is the path we are on. Lee May’s solution to improve economic development is to build a new building for permitting, etc. The more power and the more functions we can take away from the corrupt, incompetent County the better.
          I hate the idea of the neighborhoods annexing into Atlanta. But it’s not my neighborhood and I support their right to self determination, and so does the law.
          Dekalb Strong wants us to take a step back and wait for what? Or who? If that what or who existed we would all be lined up supporting it and making it happen.
          I don’t see the leaders of annexation and cityhood movements trolling the internet and dominating every conversation like Dekalb Strong does. I see a real lack of intelligent, solutions oriented conversation. I see people leading cityhood efforts and annexation efforts as having a plan, a solution to move past this place of chaos and corruption and try something new. I see Dekalb Strong and like groups as obstructionists, committed to keeping this from seeing its way through the Democratic process. Why are you all so afraid of a vote? If no one supports it as you all seem to think you have nothing to worry about. We are front page news more often than not for terrible things. Enough is enough. Taking a step back is not a solution. It is simply more opportunities for Dekalb County to continue to rob us blind.

        • RAJ

          Great post TR! Good recap of the problems, but what of the solutions? First,with respect to LaVista Hills, when you combine two groups that disagree with one another you still have people in ONE group STILL disagreeing. I know everyone in both groups. As I have said before, there is no merger and never was, the combination was formed to get a bill passed in the legislature. The lack of information coming out of LaVista Hills is noteworthy only in that it is not necessary to get the bill out of the House and into the Senate. I am sure that the legislature has had more input than they could ever want on any one issue. The public is impatient! The Atlanta annexation and school issue should be resolved this week. MMO,TIA,MT, and the speaker of the House are all involved. Everyone is working very hard. No one is going to be happy. The LaVista Hills map is set. What next? HGAC hearing is held on LaVista Hills and it passes to the House floor and on to the Senate. More after next week! Larger(and more important)question posed above,how does the public prevent LaVista Hills from conducting a Brokenhaven like campaign to subvert the true interest of the general public? I have a plan,but it will take a group of committed people to make the plan work.

  • Raul Trujillo

    What about Decatur annexation? Any progress? We need a stronger commercial tax base!

    • RAJ

      Nose count of DeKalb Delegation two weeks ago shows NO GO!

  • stayoutdunwoody

    you’ll get nothing but plain vanilla wash from standing Dem reps in Lavista Hills that have to cooperate with Republicans to get what they want (Oliver city of atlanta annexation). That Holcomb wont speak up is outrageous–end him.

  • Mark Snyder

    I cannot help but laugh out loud at the irony of the ad published just below the LaVista Hills notice…

  • Annie

    Correction to above: There are at least seven State Representatives, not just Scott Holcomb, who represent portions of the proposed LaVista Hills. The others are Mary Margaret Oliver, Coach Williams, Michele Henson, Rahn Mayo and Karla Drenner. I believe Howard Mosby may have a small portion as well. Rep. Holcomb is the only one of them who lives in the proposed map, however.

  • m2ap

    Dan, if there have been no discussions between LVH and TIA to resolve the disputed borders, what maps are the legislators using? All behind closed doors and no consultation with the citizens. This is insane!

    • Beats me on what map is in play. As far as I know, there have been no changes to the LaVista Hills map or the TIA map.

    • RAJ

      LaVista Hills map is set per HGAC, TIA will just have to figure it out on their own. Atlanta annexation may be general legislation to avoid the DeKalb Delegation and would face an uncertain fate unless a deal is cut with LaVista Hills. More importantly, with the possibility of four referendum this spring, any unincorporated area(DeKalb Strong)makes little sense.

      • travelingfool

        What about the islands that are being created if the retirement community of LaVista Hills is incorporated? A couple of more if Greenhaven is incorporated, though, I dont give that one much of a chance.

        • RAJ

          Greenhaven will move ahead next week,with an AD in the Champion and sponsorship by PS. I am thinking about making an offer to do the mapping for this new city. I hope we can begin to resolve the “island ” issue Monday.

          • travelingfool

            I’ve been totally against all incorporations and squashing even a vote, however, the more I hear about groups like DeKalb Strong and Stop LaVista, maybe it is time to put them up for a vote, but only if they are in November. Brookhaven barely passed and I’ve seen a lot more restistance to the new ones, so their likely hood of an affirmative vote are getting slimmer by the day.
            What are your thoughts on what would happen if we had a vote and they were voted down?
            Again, Greenhaven, though sponsored, I feel has the least chance of winning. See S. Fulton 2 years ago.

          • RAJ

            Tucker will pass,LaVista Hills will fail from lack of leadership and lack of a plan,a track record that is a legacy of both Briarcliff and Lakeside. IF their bill passes they have one last chance to get organized and explain to voters what they actually plan to accomplish. They just don’t know how how to tie their shoe laces or walk and chew gum at the same time. Greenhaven is a crap shoot(paradise in the ghetto)anyone? Just had a long conservation with Herman(CPA)about the financials of Greenhaven and question is will all that money go to people like Stan Watson and Larry Johnson? Best guess is yes….when do people get to benefit from their own tax money?

          • MAC

            Raj, I follow your comments on these Decaturish blogs. Sometimes you make insightful points, and when less than insightful, I hold my peace and move on. My direct reply to you here, though, is born out of a strong feeling that your “paradise in the ghetto” descriptor for Greenhaven was cheap, gratuitous, and totally contrary to the spirit of the cityhood movement currently sweeping DeKalb County. First, to broadstroke as a “ghetto” the entire swath of what would be the largest and most populous city in the county (with a WIDE range of socioeconomic diversity) was insensitive to the people, our neighbors, who call the South DeKalb corridor their home. Second, viability aside, technically, ALL of the cityhood proposals on the table are a “crap shoot” since no one can predict with certainty how the referenda are going to shake out–you admit as much with LH without dooming LH’s fate with the same negative moniker. Third, I don’t live in Greenhaven, but I read their cityhood efforts in the same vein as LH, Tucker, and Stonecrest. Greenhaven isn’t seeking an illusion of “paradise” anymore than the Tucker or LH folks. Greenhaven citizens are no less wise, and therefore, no less sensitive to the same issues, the same concerns, and the same frustrations that are motivating other cityhood proponents throughout the county. Elitism makes for horrible citizenship. No matter which proposals pass, the county is only as strong as its weakest “ghetto” (I’m emphasizing “ghetto” in quotes, your word, not my own).

          • RAJ

            The “weakest Ghetto” in DeKalb resides in minds like yours. I spent half of my forty year career in retail store development working on the South side and have known Kathy Rice, leader of the Greenhaven City-hood movement for years. Kathy probably does not realize that if the city comes to reality that voters that you think so highly of will likely put into office people like Stan Watson and Larry Johnson and the millions of dollars of taxpayer money from city revenue will never benefit the 300,00 residents of the new city. Greenhaven has more of an uphill battle than most cities, I think Kathy knows this and I wish them a good fight!

          • And this is where I chime in and remind everyone to keep it civil. There’s a lot of passion on both sides and no need to engage in personal attacks or name calling.

          • RAJ

            Sorry….I gracefully retract a small portion of my above comment in order to retain my posting privileges, must have thought I was posting elsewhere!

          • This is directed at everyone here, not just you. Made a similar comment on another thread. Just a friendly reminder.

          • MAC

            Raj, my mind is sound, and my contribution to this discourse, consistently civil. It should be clear to all followers on this blog string that your comments with respect to our neighbors on the south side are unfair, offensive, patronizing, and very problematic. Attacking my measured response to your generalizations is the reddist of red herrings. Elaine Boyer won 88% of the vote that launched her into the Commissioner seat from which she (a HIGH-level official) stole, misappropriated county funds, and violated the trust of the very people who put her in office. I doubt highly if you’d dare link Boyer’s corruption to the electorial discernment of the Republican masses who voted for her. I have no personal attacks against you, Raj. My issue is with the apparent bias and lack of civility in your reasoning with respect to the good people of Greenhaven who have the same hopes, aspirations, and basic desires as all other residents of DeKalb County regardless of our respective positions on cityhood. And be clear, far more than faith in how voters vote, my true faith is linked to a sense of solidarity with my fellow citizens no matter where in the county they reside…

          • RAJ

            My Venom knows no bounds,as many have found! I don’t miss the fact that you have a special place for the criminals on the South side who are currently running DeKalb County Government…see most any copy of the daily AJC to verify this well known fact. You are how you vote and the South side of DeKalb is the very best example of this at the moment. I choose to work with the few on the South side who are trying to make positive changes. They first had to recognize the problems that I see from two decades of work experience on the South side, problems that you have yet to comprehend.

          • MAC

            Your venom is harmless. As if the people of South DeKalb, many of whom cut their teeth on Civil Rights activism and social engagement, were lost in the political wilderness until you showed up 20 years ago to instruct them about which way is up. That’s hilarious! I go to bed LMAO…

          • RAJ

            A new day brings new hope?

          • Contested

            RAJ, whatever came of all of the COBI rebirth you were talking so much about?

          • RAJ

            Still in the works. Spent the entire day at the Capitol and got slam dunked by TT and MMO, I’m OK if anyone cares but I have a meeting in Doraville shortly and that GM financial fiasco is heating up. Bills down at the Capitol are flying faster than $100 bills at the DeKalb County Contracting Department. Stay tuned!

  • factivist

    We’ve talked this to death for three years. Please, GA Legislature, let my people vote! All the people who have reasons “for” and all the ones with reasons “against” – everybody make their wishes known at the voting booth. Then, one way or the other, we move on, for goodness sake.

    My observation is that gerrymandering by the DeKalb delegation’s reapportionment in 2012 was the genesis of LaVista Hills. As someone posted on this thread earlier, the community of interest within its borders has been splintered into at least seven different House districts. For example, my neighborhood is a little white cap on top of a long spaghetti district that runs all the way down through South DeKalb to the county’s southern-most tip that swoops down into Henry County. We are such a small part of the district that our vote makes no difference at all, we could not carry any election, and our Representative lives in S DeKalb, knows nothing about our area – nor does he ever need to. We have been divided up and have no voice at the Statehouse or at the county level. I see forming a city as a means of putting our community of interest’s puzzle pieces back together, getting a hometown feeling, and electing local officials who can speak for us at the county and state level in an official capacity. Plus they’d be local people we might run into at the store, could actually talk to about local concerns.

    But that’s just my take on things. Please, Georgia Legislature, just let us vote and move on with majority rule, whatever it turns out to be.

    • RAJ

      Many of the maps I have produced reflect something of that reassembled puzzle. Other maps I have not published are reflective of city council districts and voting precincts within districts that form the basis for NPU like community councils to provide elected officials with the public input they need to make informed decisions in the public interest. Little interest exists in this logical approach. Perhaps when(if) a bill passes we can have this discussion before we vote.

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