Defeated, not deterred: Supporters of failed annexation, cityhood efforts plan for 2016

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 4, 2015
DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

Together in Atlanta didn’t get anywhere with its proposal to annex Druid Hills into Atlanta, but the organizers say they’ll be back.

Ditto for the proposed cities of Greenhaven and Stonecrest.

While the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills will head to a vote this November, the groups behind the unsuccessful movements are optimistic about their chances next year.

Tucker would have a population of around 33,000 people. LaVista Hills would have a population of over 65,000.

To see the most recent Tucker and LaVista Hills maps, click here and here.

Stonecrest and Greenhaven promoted similar plans. Stonecrest’s population would’ve been 50,000. Greenhaven, if it had been successful, would’ve become the second-largest city in Georgia behind Atlanta, with a population of about 300,000.

Concerned Citizens for South DeKalb President Kathryn Rice, the group behind Greenhaven, said, “We are disappointed in the results but plan to continue moving forward.”

Stonecrest commented on the defeat of its cityhood bill using its Facebook page.

“Stonecrest came close to success; it was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, but ran out of time before it could get a House vote before the end session,” the cityhood group’s statement says. “However, the Stonecrest bills, SB 208 and HB 539, will retain their present status into the next session of the General Assembly. Our bills are not dead, but merely delayed. We aren’t going anywhere except forward! Stay tuned for next steps.”

Stonecrest and Greenhaven rallied around the need for better government and economic development.

Together in Atlanta’s primary focus was education. While TIA members have consistently distanced themselves from the failure of the Druid Hills Charter Cluster movement, it was the rejection of that idea by DeKalb County Schools that gave the Atlanta annexation proposal its momentum. The initial TIA proposal would’ve taken Druid Hills High and two of the schools that feed into it: Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary schools. That idea created controversy because it would’ve forced students in other schools that feed into Druid Hills High, like Druid Hills Middle and Avondale Estates Elementary schools, to attend another high school.

That concept expanded and by the end of the session the map had been redrawn “to include nearly 70 percent of the students attending the Druid Hills High School feeder cluster,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

Still, it was not enough to keep the annexation bill alive.

“Though this legislative session has come to a close, our hard work will continue,” TIA said. “We are pleased with the momentum we have built, and we will continue to investigate the different avenues for annexation that may allow us to formally become part of the world-class city that is our hometown of Atlanta.”

The 2016 session will likely see the return of these proposals, as well as proposals for annexing unincorporated portions of DeKalb County into Decatur and Avondale Estates.

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Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • MedlockDad

    I’m not sure that they would have anything close to 70% if the high school could stay a part of DCSD. My sense is that people joined in because they wanted to maintain access to the high school, not because they really wanted to be a part of ATL. Legislators should consider ways in which the HS and Fernbank Science Center could remain as part of DCSD while the areas they are in annex into ATL. At a minimum, the question should be asked whether people really want to be a part of ATL or whether they would rather stay unincorporated with the HS as part of DCSD.

    • RAJ

      If you click on the LVH map you will notice that around Briarcliff & N Druid Hills Rd some overlap occurs with Brokenhaven. This happens all the time in mapping and I will go to the DeKalb County GIS Dept Monday morning and have a new “unofficial” LVH map created as a working map for us to use until an official correction can be made. Don’t think any people are involved, just some commercial. I don’t speak for LVH(please be clear)but I do think over the next seven months it’s worth taking a serious look at the positives and negatives of city-hood in North Central DeKalb. I have plenty of time and good resources,but don’t plan to follow the party line!

      • Guest

        Incorporation will happen… Either through movements like LVH or through annexation. Brookhaven or Chamblee anyone? Not a pretty thought. Better to strike out on our own.

        • RAJ

          I think we may now be on our own!

    • RAJ

      More to your point MD, near the end of the legislative session when it became clear that TIA would would fail, some compromises were floated around to look at during the Summer. Many may know that both the House and Senate created study committees on City-hood & Annexation during the session. I think it is easy to see how the success of the LVH city- hood referendum helps keep the Druid Hills Cluster together, but don’t really think any of this area will remain unincorporated for many years. A series of annexation maps will be produced at a later date to review various options.

    • DHer

      I approved of Atlanta annexation because the City of Atlanta is on the way up and DeKalb is circling the drain. Atlanta’s finances, leadership, parks, school system and infrastructure are all improving while DeKalb is generally losing ground.

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