Eagles Landing community is being considered for cityhood. Photo by John Clowdus.

Henry joins cityhood movement with effort for city of Eagle’s Landing

Metro Atlanta’s cityhood movement has spread further south.

Efforts are underway to form a fifth city in Henry County just as state lawmakers are trying to put the brakes on the formation of future cities. 

“The earliest we’d see a city of Eagle’s Landing would be in 2019,” Sen. Rick Jeffares told The Atlanta Journal Constitution on Wednesday. Jeffares, whose district includes Henry, said he may introduce a bill before the end of the legislative session March 30.

Map showing newly-created cities throughout metro Atlanta as well as the proposed city of Eagle’s Landing. ROBERT CALZADA/STAFF
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The proposed city of Eagle’s Landing would have about 18,000 residents in a 12 square-mile area sandwiched between Stockbridge and McDonough, the county seat. It would be comprised of 13 subdivisions including Eagle’s Landing Country Club, a 740-home, 24-hole golf course enclave whose residents include numerous celebrities, athletes, physicians, attorneys and other well-to-do professionals. Piedmont Henry Hospital and Jodeco South, a proposed $300 million live-work-play complex would be within the city limits, organizers say.

The city of Eagle’s Landing would be bordered by Hwy 42 on the east, I-75 on the west, Eagles Landing Parkway and a small part of Rock Quarry Road to the north and Jodeco Road to the south. (Some landmarks such as Eagles Landing Parkway do not have an apostrophe.)

The unincorporated area is ripe for cityhood because it contains some of the county’s wealthiest residents, said Realtor Susan Clowdus, vice-chair of Eagles Landing Educational Research Committee, a nonprofit group of about two dozen doctors, attorneys, real estate agents and other professionals interested in creating the new city.

The new city would attract high-end hotels, restaurants and other businesses to the area, Clowdus said. More importantly, she said, it would give residents in the proposed city more control over their city’s image, safety and other governmental entities such as parks and recreation.

“A lot of people thought they already lived in Eagle’s Landing,” said Bill Herndon, secretary-treasurer of the Eagles Landing Educational Research Committee. “It already has a branded identity.”

A 6 p.m. public hearing on the proposed city is set for Feb. 23 at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church, 2400 Hwy 42 N in McDonough.

The county’s top official said Wednesday she wouldn’t stand in the way of the new city being formed.

“I support the right of citizens to determine their own form of government,” Henry Commission Chair June Wood said. “If these citizens believe they can be better served by the creation of a new city, then I have no reason to object to allowing them to vote to create it. That’s their right.”

The city administrator in neighboring McDonough said no one has contacted he or his staff about the proposed city.

“We haven’t evaluated the numbers as far as sharing tax revenues and that type of thing,” McDonough City Administrator Keith Dickerson said.

The last city incorporated in Henry was Stockbridge in 1920. County population and growth has mushroomed in the past two decades as more people and businesses have moved into the area.

As metro Atlanta has exploded in size and population in the last two decades, backers of the region’s cityhood movement say they want to see more self-governance and control of growth development at a smaller, local level.

If successful, Eagle’s Landing would be the 11th city to incorporate in metro Atlanta since 2005. Getting to cityhood could take longer for organizers of the city of Eagle’s Landing organizers because of recent changes instituted by Georgia senators.

A Georgia senate committee recently created a rule that would slow the pace of city formations in metro Atlanta. Proposed cities must go through a two-year review process before lawmakers will consider passing them, according to the Georgia Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee’s new rule.

No cityhood bills have been introduced so far in this year’s legislative session.

The rule comes in the wake of a brisk pace of incorporations throughout metro Atlanta. Three cities — South Fulton, Stonecrest and Tucker — have been created in the last two years. All told, 10 cities have formed in DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties since 2005.

In addition to the proposed city of Eagle’s Landing, two other cityhood proposals exist. Supporters of the proposed city of Greenhaven in southwest DeKalb are considering how to regroup after failing to get legislative support last year. There also is a proposal for a city of Prosperity in southwest DeKalb. Prosperity would have about 156,000 residents living in a large area near I-285 and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. It would include the communities of East Lake, Ellenwood, Glenwood, Gresham Park and Panthersville. Like Eagle’s Landing, Prosperity is in the early stages of the process.

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