General Assembly approves Tucker and LaVista Hills bills, annexation bills fail

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 2, 2015

Proposals for the new cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills have passed the General Assembly and will be considered by voters this November.

Meanwhile, several annexation proposals stalled in the Legislature. Decatur’s annexation proposal failed, as did a proposal to annex Druid Hills into the city of Atlanta. Avondale Estates’ proposal was defeated late on Thursday evening, shortly before the approval of the bills for Tucker and LaVista Hills.

LaVista Hills and Tucker had been bogged down in last-minute disputes over the maps of each city. Earlier on Thursday the cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills reached a compromise that would allow a vote on both cities to move forward this evening. Tucker has released the map for Tucker that was approved by a conference committee in the General Assembly.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, under the terms of the deal, “Tucker gets a Wal-Mart, QuikTrip and 500 residents, and LaVista Hills keeps 1,500 residents within its borders.” The area is located southeast of Spaghetti Junction, the AJC says. To read that story, click here.

LaVista Hills posted the following message on its Facebook page.

Passed the Senate 36-8!
Passed the House 112-52!

Off to referendum!!!! Thanks to all for all the hard work!

Take a deep breath, and we are off to November!

Tucker also celebrated its legislative victory.


Congratulations and THANK YOU to the Tucker community – your hard work paid off with the approvaltoday by both the House and the Senate of a bill giving YOU a vote in determining how you choose to be governed locally! When the Governor signs HB515, Tucker citizens within the map boundaries will have the right to vote in November on incorporating a City of Tucker.

Although the map that was approved does not reflect the entirety of the traditional boundaries of the Tucker community because of changes made by Sen. Fran Millar, Tucker remains a solid community that we can all be proud of. We are heartbroken that many of you find yourselves removed from the Tucker map. Remember you will always be a part of the greater Tucker community – city boundaries will never change that.


They said it couldn’t be done – detractors and opponents repeatedly worked against the Tucker community for more than 2 years. But they vastly underestimated your commitment to your hometown. Thank you for demonstrating character by remaining positive and above the fray during very difficult times. Please join Tucker 2015 in moving toward healing the unfortunate rifts created across the entire community.


We haven’t crossed the finish line yet – there remains a tremendous amount of work to be done between now and the referendum to educate neighbors and friends about the benefits of cityhood for Tucker. Look for information soon about how YOU can help determine Tucker’s future. Until then, spend quality time with family and friends during Easter and Passover.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • DH110

    By looking at the compromise map, I bet I can pinpoint the exact small neighborhood that King Millar’s supporter lives in — the supporter that he made sure was in LaVista Hills. I’m sure her neighbors are delighted that she and Fran have now added five minutes to their 911 / emergency call response times.

    • MAC

      Hilarious! And probably true. But on a serious note, the boundary finagling necessary to reach this compromise will likely complicate fire and police response all along that line drawn jaggedly down the middle of some streets. Might turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for those vocal LVH supporters in Livesy who pushed so hard to be in LVH. Still and all, I think Tucker, reclaiming the commercial areas along TUCKER-Norcross plus 500 Livsey residents, walked away with the best of both worlds. Really a wise compromise since if this was truly about respecting the will of the “majority” of the residents of Livsey (doubt still lingers on that claim) then the commercial areas should have never been brought into the mix in the first place.

      That said, hopefully both groups can go their own way in peace towards the next big hurdle: securing victory at their respective November referenda, which in my best guess, may be harder for one group than the other.

      Decaturish will keep us posted, I’m sure. The Decaturish team has done a yeoman’s work to keep the public informed, engaged, and most importantly in dialogue. They deserve recognition as well as some contributions and ad subscriptions. I’m respectfully impressed with Decaturish’s on-top-of-it coverage and balanced navigation of this important local issue. AJC, THIS is how you do news…be afraid, be very afraid…

      • Kathleen A. Andres

        Everyone needs to be thankful to Dan and his team of stellar reporters @ Decaturish for their incredible hard work keeping everyone up to date on news that affects us all.

        IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER – NOW is the TIME to become a Decaturish Subscriber!!!

        Before Dan became a father he wanted to get to ***200 subscribers***

        Let’s all help him get there. Give up one monthly latte & subscribe for $6/month. We need to support those who support all of us!

        • RAJ

          Let me add my special thanks to Dan and crew for providing a forum for city-hood and annexation discussions. I hope he will archive our comments for future reference. I enjoyed my 10 weeks at the Capitol, and extra special thanks to elected officials and staff for putting up with me……not an easy task(just ask my mother)in a sometime stressful situation. I learned a lot and plan to stay engaged. Speaking of which; in about two hours I’m off to the DeKalb GIS Dept to start production on a “Real” map of LVH. Mark Neese(AJC)also has some good stuff on the way. Plans are under way for 2016 city-hood and annexation efforts and I should have time to work on new proposed city-hood and annexation maps in about two weeks. I still plan to keep low profile, but call or e-mail if you have any questions!

        • notapunk

          Agreed. Great job Dan and Decaturish!

  • Larry Holmes

    Funny how people with little to no knowledge of the area feel compelled to comment on Tucker. The Wal-mart that Lavista Hills wanted is a Fresh Market near Pleasantdale.

  • Ed Williams

    Thanks to all the supportor against cityhood. I am glad that the initiatives in South DeKalb and South Fulton and Atlanta annexation did not go forward.

    Where are the feasibility studies for LaVista Hills and Tucker? Tucker
    feasibility study was done in 2013 and is out of date, and its seems
    that Lakeside and Briarcliff feasibility studies were used as a
    substitute for LaVista Hills. I am surprised that these cityhood efforts
    were allowed to move forward without valid and up to date reliable
    feasibility reports. This was certainly not fair to all the other cityhood efforts that followed the law. Residents should make sure that they receive the
    updated reports

    Ed Williams

    Citizens Against Cityhood in DeKalb

    • Stan Chapman

      Ed, I understand that LaVista Hills already has paid the Carl Vinson Institute for an updated feasibility study, even though its borders are only a little bit different from the original study, which showed a significant surplus. (This can be confirmed with LVH leadership.) You can’t blame the leaders of LVH for suspending work on the second feasibility study when the borders kept changing, almost by the day. I understand that the new one will be out fairly soon, and there is absolutely no reason to expect that it will show too much different from the first one. I also am sure that it will be available to the public.

    • whodean

      It is amazing anyone can defend Dekalb bureaucracy with a straight face

      • Hugh Bean

        So true.

        And that has what to do with Ed’s comment?

  • Ed Williams

    DeKalb Cityhood Economics Annexation
    Gentrification Black Belt Self-Determination

    “Leaders must go beyond bringing white people back to the
    city to reverse white flight, because resegregation is not the answer. The
    answer is not black and white. Segregation of race and class kills a region’s
    economy.” Researchers founded in a study
    called “The Equality of Opportunity Project” found that areas with greater
    mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income
    inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families.”

    Must Read

    • DH

      The Druid Hills annexation would have joined the neighborhood to Atlanta, a majority African American city.

  • Hugh Bean

    “Tucker” writes:

    “Although the map that was approved does not reflect the entirety of the traditional
    boundaries of the Tucker community because of changes made by Sen. Fran
    Millar.” No, the “traditional boundaries of the Tucker community” were never an available option. They would have included neighborhoods in Gwinnett which were unpalatable to the cityhood proponents. And they would not have included any part of Stone Mountain.

    “They said it couldn’t be done” Ah. They. Who?

    “But they vastly underestimated your commitment to your hometown” . . . and our team of paid “volunteers” and lobbyists.

    “Thank you for demonstrating character by remaining positive and above the fray . . . Please join Tucker 2015 in moving toward healing the unfortunate rifts created across the entire community.” OK, now it’s farce. Who created the rifts?

    “there remains a tremendous amount of work to be done between now and the referendum to educate neighbors and friends about the benefits of cityhood”

    No, selling “benefits” is marketing, not educating. Educating involves honestly discussing the good and the bad. But it’s in the interests of cityhood opponents for you to pretend the bad doesn’t exist, and that you’re above the fray.

    • MAC

      HB, your recent post nurses an undercurrent of bitterness that is as curious as it is problematic, not only in its projection of your personal ire, frustration, fear (choose your own noun) onto a conceptual, non-specific target (“Tucker”), but most important, it does so at the expense of REAL people, of MANY REAL residents who support Tucker cityhood, and who have drawn their own conclusions regarding their position through a great deal of deliberation, individual soul searching, as well as collective, grassroots education at the neighborhood level. Your suggestion that no honest residential-level discussions have been taking place about the pros and cons of cityhood is flat out WRONG. In fact, just last week, my HOA hosted a lively and informative community meeting attended by Tucker 2015 leaders as well as Representive Michelle Henson and Senator Steve Henson who we invited to speak with us and to engage our questions and concerns about cityhood.

      Add to this the suggestion that Tucker cityhood proponents excluded territory across the Gwinnett county line for reasons of “unpalatable” (your word hinting at snobbish/elitist motives) rejection is not only wrong, but also disingenuous. Anyone mildly educated on the subject (or who has been watching the Atlanta/DeKalb annexation saga unfold) knows who complicated municipalizing across county boundaries is. It would be totally unwise and counterproductive for Tucker to invite a trans-county complication while focusing its efforts on the first hurdle: securing cityhood first. You’re an educated guy. I think you know this, but you twist and shape reality for your own personal motives. At the heart of it, what’s your beef, Hugh?

      When it’s all said and done, three days ago at the close of the 2015 legislative session, most of us walked away with an acceptance, despite our individual positions one way or the other, that this coming November, Tucker and LVH referenda will be a reality. If you live in the the affected areas, your vote in November will voice your support or your protest. Let the chips fall where they may.

      • HB

        Good lord, lady. Once again, you just wrote an entire novel based on a false assumption. So, some fellow shares my 2 initials and that’s enough to make you go off on an attack. I am not Mr. Bean. It was already hard to take your missives very seriously because it’s clear you feel the need to have the last word, but now it’s not even worth reading. We get it, you think Tucker hung the moon and you’re overly defensive about your town, and fear anyone pointing out anything that suggests its not all butterflies and rainbows. Some of us here are trying to have an adult conversation, where it’s ok to look at all sides objectively and realistically,.

        If you’ve read my posts, apparently not, youd know MY issues have been with process. I got issues with Millar. I don’t have issues with Tucker. I have issues when they claim to be high and holier than LVH though, because like mr. Bean points out, they wanted to override citizen input from Livsey for their own selfish purposes, while denying Gwinnett Tucker a chance to be in the city. Same issues I have with LVH, actually. They are ALL with agenda. It’s shameful watching them, and the blind supporters like you who cant view this objectively, trying to paint themselves as more saintly than the others,. They have just as many skeletons as LVH. All y’all are accomplishing is the destruction of the community I grew up in. Please stick to facts, cut out the assumptions and the ‘feelings’, and stop creating a false enemy of your neighbors. Some of us are simply trying to look at the whole picture.

        • MAC

          My comments were directed to Hugh Bean, who shares your initials. My response was linked to Hugh Bean, not to HB. In fact, I had no thought of you or anything that you’ve said in the most distant recesses of my mind when I responed to HB (Hugh Bean). You have no ownership of the letters HB. Get over yourself.

          • Hugh Bean

            Well, HB and HB agree on a lot of issues, apparently.

            “In fact, just last week, my HOA hosted a lively and informative
            community meeting attended by Tucker 2015 leaders as well as
            Representive Michelle Henson and Senator Steve Henson.” Right, so no speakers who aren’t actively pushing cityhood.

            You’re making my points, so thanks are in order. I’d respond further but Proverbs 26:4.

          • MAC

            You’re hilarious. Your earlier rant claimed that “no educating” was taking place in Tucker regarding the good and bad of cityhood. I corrected your falsehood. No longer able to stand on that leg, you come back and say that the educating taking place doesn’t meet your standards of education because it wasn’t a “trifecta.” Huh?? By meeting as a community and debating the issue, we’re organically educating ourselves regardless of who we invite to a particular forum, which was just ONE of many that we had and will have.

            Something tells me that you’re not going to be satisfied with any answer that doesn’t gel with the way you think things should be in this matter. It is equally clear that you’re not going to validate or even respect a pro cityhood Tucker position no matter how extensively researched, educated, and deliberated that position.

            So again I ask, what’s your beef? What do you want to see happen?

            My good friend, Hugh Bean (what a great name!), change what you can. By all means. But what you can’t change (some things you can’t change, especially grown folks’ minds), you gotta let it go, and move on.

          • HB

            Ha ha, well I’m sorry then, I honestly thought you were directing it to me and presuming I was double posting. I probably needed more coffee. And actually, I wanted to say I felt bad later that day when I realized I had kvetched on Easter day. Please accept my apology.

          • MAC

            HB, while I do find these conversations interesting and oftentimes informative, I don’t personalize and I certainly don’t hold grudges against people that I can’t see. On a few occasions, for example, you’ve referred to me as “lady,” and I never bothered to correct you (I’m very much a man)–doesn’t matter to me in the least because I’m well aware that we’re not REALLY responding to REAL people here as much as to the ideas and thoughts being expressed by the person behind the keyboard.

            Bottom line, my comments that set you off were in direct linked response to whoever posted as Hugh Bean. I don’t see HB as a “specific name,” but rather as a set of initials. Moreover, I referred to “Hugh” directly in the body of that same reply (end of second paragraph). The use of initials is common blogging lingo and abundantly used in this forum: TKR, LVH, SLOGO, TIA, etc., etc. I use them often out of convenience and also to foster a context of informality in my own posts.

            Rest assured, if I have something to say to you directly, I’ll link my reply to you directly just as I’ve done here. No passive aggression from me. I promise…

  • GID

    So the Decatur annexation bill failed…
    Due in no small part from a shameful, ugly display from our so called neighbors who determined to live near one of the top 10 small cities in the USA and the crown jewel of Dekalb county.

    *My* Pubix, *my* intersection.. hogwash.

    City growth happens incrementally and you set your own neighborhoods back 10 years… at min. Not to mention causing COD to loose a lot of time and money. And how would this have done anything but help your neighborhoods? By moving the City limits closer to your property without raising your taxes?? Decatur is why you are here and not Atlanta.

    Perhaps Atlanta will eat you eventually when it takes a big bite out of Dekalb county. Decatur has been here since 1822, its not some made-up city/tax shelter to keep from getting eaten by Atlanta. Small shopping centers close to the city center are not going to hurt a large geographic tax base like greater Dekalb county, but getting a big chunk of it annexed by Atlanta not so much… and now Decatur isn’t in the way… good job.

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