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Actual Factual DeKalb: What’s the point in the city of Stonecrest?

This is "Actual Factual DeKalb," a regular column in which I answer reader questions about goings-on and history in DeKalb County.

Reader Beverly B. asks: Why did they vote on changing Lithonia to the city of Stonecrest? What does the name have to do with anything? I am not understanding the need, period. 

Well, Beverly, not to be all devil’s advocate on you or anything, but 12,460 people saw the need. That’s how many voted to incorporate DeKalb County’s newest city in November.

But let’s explore this.

Many others have questions as well, if the 8,511 folks voting against cityhood in the massive swath of southeastern DeKalb is any indication.

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First, let’s address the “changing Lithonia to Stonecrest” thing:

It’s a confusing notion, I know, but the area now known as Stonecrest was not actually Lithonia. 

The homes may have had Lithonia addresses, but they were not in the Lithonia city limits. Lithonia is actually a very small town with only about 2,000 residents and less than a square mile of land to its name.

I know: What?

The deal is, the U.S. Postal Service needs you to have a city on your address, whether you technically live in one or not. So they assign you the name of a nearby city that has a post office.

This is why people think Emory University is in Atlanta. It has an Atlanta address, but it’s actually in unincorporated DeKalb County, not in any city. 

Now, why is it called Stonecrest?

I asked Jason Lary about this a while back. He’s the president of the Stonecrest City Alliance who is now running to be the first mayor of Stonecrest.

He said he chose the name because of the area's history with granite.

But why do we need this city?

I must say, I never had a coherent opinion on whether the city was needed or not. 

But here’s some of the goals the Stonecrest Yes Committee said it hoped to accomplish by creating the city:

  • “Create an economic development department to draw businesses and create jobs to our corridor”
  • “Create a city-based zoning board for local control over residential, commercial, and industrial construction and growth”
  • “Enhance current police services with surplus revenues and create a path towards the establishment of the City of Stonecrest Police Department”
  • “Create a special digest for seniors to lower their taxes, and protect the current DeKalb Homestead Exemption deduction”

— I am a staff writer with the AJC and a proud DeKalb County resident. To submit “Actual Factual DeKalb” questions, contact me at joshua.sharpe@ajc.com, @JoshuaWSharpe on Twitter or via the form below.

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