State lawmakers will decide on new cities

Communities vying to form new cities are back where they left off several months ago: with maps being decided by the Georgia General Assembly.

Their previous effort failed amid disagreements over boundaries and accusations of underhanded politics. Cityhood proposals died in a House of Representatives committee in March.

This time, potential cities are hoping for a different outcome. Areas that state lawmakers will evaluate include Tucker, LaVista Hills, Stonecrest and South DeKalb. In addition. the Druid Hills neighborhood could become part of the city of Atlanta.

House Governmental Affairs Committee Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, is expected to soon appoint five representatives to draw compromise maps by the end of the year.

"It's about not so much local control as it is having a voice in their government, which they don't have now," said Bill Floyd, executive director for the DeKalb Municipal Association. "I don't know how they're going to react to having lines drawn for them."

The Tucker 2015 movement believes the legislative process will result in a fair solution, according to a statement.

"The map released today of the newly created proposed city of LaVista Hills clearly defines how difficult it was for Tucker 2015 to negotiate reasonable boundaries," the statement said. "For some Tucker residents and businesses, the cityhood process has been especially trying because they have been drawn in and out of an ever-changing map of a self-created city."

LaVista Hills tried to find a compromise with Tucker, but those talks fell short of an agreement, said Mary Kay Woodworth, an organizer of the proposed city, in a statement.

"We are disappointed that we were not able to reach agreement with Tucker, despite our best efforts," Woodworth said. "Tucker's claim they are remaining 'consistent with our borders' reflects an unwillingness on their part to compromise, and more importantly, a refusal to acknowledge the desires of both residents and the business community."

Unlike their peers in north-central DeKalb, the possible cities of Stonecrest and South DeKalb agreed on mutual boundaries. Those cities also submitted maps for  Carter's legislative panel to consider.

"If South DeKalb is approved along with Stonecrest ... and the three cities in the north, it would essentially mark the municipalization of DeKalb County," according to a statement from Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South DeKalb.

About the Author

Mark Niesse
Mark Niesse
Mark Niesse covers elections, the Georgia General Assembly and state government.