Greenhaven cityhood proposal dies in committee

Georgia lawmakers killed legislation Wednesday to create a city of Greenhaven in south DeKalb County.

The House Governmental Affairs Committee declined to move ahead with the measure, Senate Bill 221.

Opponents of the cityhood proposal wearing "Vote no to Greenhaven" stickers packed a room at the state Capitol before the committee made its decision.

“I think it’s clearly a community divided,” said committee Chairman Ed Rynders, R-Albany.

Greenhaven would have included nearly 300,000 residents and provided three services: parks and recreation, planning and zoning, and code enforcement. Greenhaven would have continued to rely on the county for police and other services.

Supporters of the cityhood effort have said they wanted local governmental control to manage the area's growth and recruit businesses.

But skeptics of the idea said a new city wasn’t the answer.

“What they had to offer didn’t have a lot of substance to improve south DeKalb,” said Erin Smullen-Printup, who lives near the Gresham Park neighborhood and attended the committee meeting. “Adding another layer of government wasn ‘t going to solve the problems in south DeKalb.”

House lawmakers last month tabled the Greenhaven proposal contained in a separate bill, House Bill 613. But the Senate revived the effort and passed SB221 on March 7.

Meanwhile, the full Georgia House of Representatives voted 144-17 to approve a proposal to form the city of Stonecrest, which would cover about 50,000 residents in southeastern DeKalb. That legislation now advances to the state Senate for a final vote, and then voters would decide in a referendum whether to incorporate their community.