Voters created a city of Tucker during Tuesday’s election but shot down a proposal to form the city of LaVista Hills.
Preliminary election results showed overwhelming support for Tucker, which has been an unincorporated community for more than 120 years, but a narrow defeat for LaVista Hills, an area located mostly inside Metro Atlanta’s eastern perimeter.
The combined LaVista Hills and Tucker area covers more than 100,000 residents living in a 40-square-mile area from outside Emory University to Stone Mountain.
If both cities had been approved, they would have shared a border along part of Interstate 285. Instead, LaVista Hills and more than 67,000 residents will remain part of unincorporated DeKalb County.
With more than 33,000 residents, Tucker becomes the eighth new city in Metro Atlanta over the last decade, a trend that started with Sandy Springs’ incorporation in 2005.
Cityhood was hotly debated for months on neighborhood email lists, in community meetings and through yard signs.
Supporters of cities said they want more local control and separation from DeKalb County’s government, which has been damaged by criminal behavior and corruption allegations.
But a vocal group of cityhood opponents has urged caution, saying cities could be a costly mistake with small governments that won’t necessarily do a better job than the county.
Both proposed cities planned to take take control of planning, zoning, code enforcement and parks from DeKalb. LaVista Hills would have also started its own police force, while Tucker will continue relying on county police.
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