Legislators To Discuss Forming New City in N. DeKalb

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 in Oak Grove United Methodist Church

DeKalb legislators will participate in a second cityhood meeting in Oak Grove early next month focused on the pros and cons of creating a new city in North DeKalb County.

Kevin Levitas, a former state representative, and head of the Briarcliff Woods East Neighborhood Association, will hold the meeting in Oak Grove United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Jan. 8.

The meeting will follow up on another meeting Levitas held last month that included roughly 100 or so residents at the church.

That meeting, which included Fran Millar, DeKalb County's sole Republican state senator, Tom Taylor, a DeKalb state represenatative, and Dan Weber, a former state senator in DeKalb, left many residents frustrated.

Many said they felt they were being prodded to support the creation of a new city somewhere in the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area and didn't understand why the meeting was held in the first place.

So, Levitas vowed to hold a second meeting that would include local leaders who would speak to the negatives of cityhood. The Jan. 8 meeting's lineup includes:

  • State Rep. Billy Mitchell, District 88, D-Stone Mountain.
  • State Rep. Tom Taylor, District 79, R-Dunwoody.
  • DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, District 6.
  • Former Dunwoody council member Robert Wittenstein.

For more information, follow the North DeKalb Cityhood blog.

What questions would you ask the legislators? Tell us in the comments section below.

Ralph Ellis December 10, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Is North DeKalb a good place for a new city?
Kevin Levitas December 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Come to the meeting on January 8 to find out! You can also join the discussion about cityhood at http://northdekalbcity.blogspot.com/ and dekalbcities@yahoogroups.com. A couple points of clarification about some observations made in this article. I would disagree with the contention that "many said they felt they were being prodded to support the creation of a new city somewhere in the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area." First, great pains were taking before, during and after the meeting to ensure that this first meeting was information-only. There was no advocacy for or against the creation of a new city. There were a few attendees who felt that residents needed to hear from people opposed to the creation of new cities in DeKalb since the speakers, while not advocating for or against incorporation, had themselves helped to create the City of Dunwoody. In addition, most in attendance wanted to hear from a pro/con panel, which is the reason for scheduling the January 8 meeting.
Kevin Levitas December 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Second, I disagree that that many "didn't understand why the meeting was held in the first place." As I mentioned at the beginning of the meeting, it was organized in response to an AJC article that indicated there was an organized cityhood movement in northern DeKalb, a suggestion with which I disagreed. Nonetheless, the article caused a stir in our part of the County, and having served in the Legislature during the debate over Dunwoody, I was keenly aware of the complicated nature of cityhood movements. Among the items to be considered are viability, taxes, organization, neighbor-to-neighbor relationships, the referendum process, governing, required and desired services, costs of studies, campaigns and running a new city. With this in mind, our neighborhood association (Briarcliff Woods East Neighborhood Association) felt it was important for neighbors to know the ins and outs of what is involved in cityhood movements, regardless of their position, and decided to host an information-only meeting. In other words, we want folks to be informed when making a decision about whether they think cityhood is a good idea, and we asked a panel of people who had been through the process before to speak with us.
Kevin Levitas December 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
An overwhelming majority of the comments that I received about the meeting were positive, and people told me that they left feeling like they had a much better understanding of the process. They did, however, want to hear from more people and asked for the pro/con panel, which I hope will be another well-attended meeting. I look forward to our neighborhood association providing another forum for residents to help themselves gather more information about the central issues involved in any cityhood discussion.
Kris January 07, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Is there a proposed map of the area that would be included?
Ralph Ellis January 07, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Kris, don't know of any but let me look.
Kevin Levitas January 07, 2013 at 03:42 PM
There is not a proposed map. This process is intended to be organic in the sense of allowing neighbors to come together to decide whether to form a city, what it would look like, a working name, etc. After tomorrow's meeting, there should be a better of sense of the level of interest in pursuing cityhood. If there is substantial interest, then a working group could be formed to begin the very arduous task of attempting to create a new city.
Kris January 07, 2013 at 03:48 PM


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