“This goes against some of the feedback I’ve received from the community,” Park said. “It’s one of these things where I wish we didn’t have to do this, but as stewards of the city, it’s our responsibility to do so.”
Mayor Pro Tem Joe Gebbia, who recently announced he won’t be seeking reelection this fall, said he isn’t thrilled the map will split some areas, such as the Pines Hill neighborhood, between two districts. However, he conceded that it was the best temporary option.
“It’s a compromise. That’s what we’re here to do — pick the best of the compromises,” he said.
The city’s new district map, presented to the council and residents as scenario 7, estimates between 15,359 and 15,595 residents in each district. District 4, the southernmost and most populous, is also the only majority minority district in the city. It’s 44% Hispanic, 18% Black, 8% Asian and 28% white.
This is the race and ethnicity breakdown of Brookhaven's new council districts.
City of Brookhaven
While not an explicit goal of the redistricting effort, the city’s newly formed Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission has placed new focus on representation within city leadership.
Neighboring Chamblee also added a fourth City Council district this year, which brought up similar questions about race, ethnicity and local representation.
Brookhaven initially considered five district maps and added three more after receiving input from a virtual town hall. Scenario 7 became the standout choice and was the only one presented ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
District lines will not drastically change. District 2 will expand west into District 3 and north into District 1, while District 3 will absorb some of District 4.
Balch said the city could redraw district lines again if Census data is “significantly different” from FLO Analytics’ calculations and estimates. But the new map will stand for at least the next election cycle.
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