Bill in support of Vista Grove cityhood filed in Georgia House

Vista Grove and Greenhaven proponents rallied at the state Capitol on Monday in support of cityhood referendums.



Vista Grove and Greenhaven proponents rallied at the state Capitol on Monday in support of cityhood referendums.

A state representative from Gwinnett County filed a bill Tuesday in support of creating a new city, Vista Grove, in DeKalb County.

The long shot bid is aimed at continuing the cityhood effort in unincorporated DeKalb. If passed, the bill from Timothy Barr, a Lawrenceville Republican, would put a cityhood referendum on the ballot this November.

It’s a crucial step for Vista Grove proponents, but Thursday is “Crossover Day,” when bills generally must pass one chamber of the General Assembly to stay alive this year. The possible trajectory of the bill — and how it could get to floor of the House in just two days — is unclear.

“We continue to explore additional bill sponsors from both parties, including from our DeKalb legislators,” the Vista Grove Initiative said in a statement Tuesday night. “This is only part of the longer legislative process, but it is an important step.”

Vista Grove would be comprised of the neighborhoods south of Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville and north of Tucker. It would have a population of about 63,000 people.

Vista Grove would cover the area between Tucker and Brookhaven, Doraville and Chamblee. (Photo: Courtesy of Vista Grove)

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A similar geographic area achieved a referendum in 2015 under the name LaVista Hills, but the city was ultimately rejected on the ballot by less than 150 votes.

Vista Grove supporters gathered at the Statehouse Monday to lobby representatives to sponsor a cityhood bill, arguing that a city would provide more focused representation and economic development.

They were joined by proponents of Greenhaven, a prospective city in South DeKalb. A bill in support of Greenhaven has not been filed.


Time running out for hopeful DeKalb cities to get crucial legislative support

Representatives and senators from DeKalb County have historically been hesitant to sponsor city legislation; cityhood bills in recent years have been filed by lawmakers from outside of DeKalb.

“The people who are stopping it more than anybody are our own DeKalb legislators,” lead Greenhaven proponent Kathryn Rice said last week.

In a memo earlier this week, Rep. Viola Davis of Stone Mountain said she would not sponsor cityhood legislation because of questions over city services like road maintenance and a “lack of communication” on key issues.

“The general public wants to know the viability of the cities, the accuracy of the feasibility studies, and the accuracy of the documented boundaries,” Davis wrote.

The group DeKalb Strong, which is opposed to cityhood efforts, said cities are expensive and would lead to an increase in taxes.

Local legislators see [new cities] are “bad policy” and face strong opposition, DeKalb Strong President Marjorie Snook said. “We are very frustrated with legislators from outside of our community meddling in local affairs.”

If formed, the city would be located in north central DeKalb County.

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