Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rep. Mike Jacobs discusses HB 428 which paves a path to Annexation and possible Brookhaven Cityhood

As your State Representative, I am committed to increasing your voice in local government and to helping provide the highest quality governance at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. That is why I have introduced a piece of legislation, House Bill 428, that will create a path for the unincorporated neighborhoods around Murphey Candler Park, West Nancy Creek Drive, and Silver Lake to join one of our adjacent municipalities, either Chamblee or Dunwoody. 

Presently, these neighborhoods exist as an “unincorporated peninsula” of land sandwiched between the City of Dunwoody to the north, the City of Chamblee to the east, and the City of Sandy Springs to the west. There is only one major arterial road into this area from the rest of unincorporated DeKalb: Ashford Dunwoody Road.

The purpose of HB 428 is to kick off a community conversation about possible avenues to the incorporation of our neighborhoods. Click here to read the version of HB 428 that will be presented on Tuesday to a subcommittee of the House Governmental Affairs Committee.

The version of the bill that was originally introduced only applied to Dunwoody, but that was based upon my own incorrect perception that Chamblee – having recently completed an annexation of Huntley Hills and other neighborhoods east of Chamblee Dunwoody Road – would not be interested in undertaking any further annexations any time soon. I had a productive conversation with Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson in which he made clear that it’s possible Chamblee could consider further annexation. So, the bill has been changed accordingly.

HB 428 will allow for adjacent municipalities to annex neighborhoods in an “unincorporated peninsula” (an unincorporated area that is 75% or more surrounded by cities) after the adoption of a city council resolution and the passage of a referendum by the citizens in the unincorporated area. In other words, there is absolutely no scenario in which your neighborhood would be annexed into a neighboring city before you receive all of the facts about the annexation and are given the opportunity to cast your vote at the ballot box.

The key annexation procedure that HB 428 does change is DeKalb County’s unilateral veto power over the ability of our neighborhoods to be annexed into Chamblee or Dunwoody via this simple “resolution and referendum” method.

As the Dunwoody Crier has noted, my interest in annexation is driven by “increasing discontent with DeKalb County Government: rising tax bills, fewer services, inefficient government, and a lack of confidence that things are going to get better at the county.”

Police response times in Chamblee and Dunwoody are far below those in unincorporated DeKalb. Dunwoody is planning major improvements to their local parks. Chamblee and Dunwoody are both conservatively managed and are experiencing budget surpluses. And in stark contrast to CEO Burrell Ellis’ constant drumbeat for higher property taxes, Chamblee is considering cutting its millage rate this year.


It simply is not true that incorporation into a city necessarily means that your property taxes will go up. Many cities are actually able to deliver better services and a lower tax burden than can be found in nearby unincorporated areas.

Another option that might be worth exploring is the incorporation of a new municipality altogether, perhaps a City of Brookhaven that could reach as far south as Buford Highway or even I-85. Of course, such an option would require interest from neighborhoods south of Windsor Parkway such as Historic Brookhaven, Ashford Park, Brookhaven Heights, Brookhaven Fields, and Drew Valley.

If citizens are interested, I’m willing to explore a broader City of Brookhaven. It would require a separate piece of legislation that cannot be passed until 2014 at the earliest, which would give us plenty of time to thoroughly explore this option.

HB 428 is not an actual annexation plan of any sort. No annexation of any neighborhoods by either Chamblee or Dunwoody is imminent.

The latest version of HB 428 will make it clear that any annexation cannot involve the “cherry picking” of large-scale commercial property such as the Perimeter Summit development on the south side of I-285, adjacent to Dunwoody. This is because another provision of law that is applicable to HB 428 requires any such annexation to include territory that “is subdivided into lots and tracts such that at least 60 percent of the total acreage consists of lots and tracts five acres or less in size and such that at least 60 percent of the total number of lots and tracts are one acre or less in size.”

HB 428 is a means of opening up our community’s options. Having options is never a bad thing.

Please forward this e-mail to your neighbors, particularly if you live in the neighborhoods around Murphey Candler Park, West Nancy Creek Drive, and Silver Lake. If citizens would like to stay informed about the prospect of annexation or a new city in North DeKalb and are not on my e-mail list, they should e-mail me at repjacobs@comcast.net and I will add them to my e-mail list. E-mail me, too, with your thoughts on this issue. I look forward to hearing from you.

I will announce a community meeting about cityhood and annexation in the near future.

5 comments:

Kevin said...

Rep. Jacobs, you state the following:

"Police response times in Chamblee and Dunwoody are far below those in unincorporated DeKalb"

Do you have numbers to back up this statement? What other information do you have to substantiate your claim?


Thank You

Clive Brown said...

I live in Murphy Candler and am totally against this landgrab by Mike Jacobs and his buddies in Dunwoody. This is all about Dunwoody increasing its power by stealing our parks and the PCID tax base. I spoke to 3 neighbors this morning on hearing this and all were against being part of Dunwoody, one even moved here specifically to not be in Dunwoody.

I do not believe for one second Mike Jacobs represents the people of Murphy Candler and is in fact just bowing to vested interests.

I also have zero problem with Dekalbs services and think they are doing a good job but or course now Mike and his mates will do all they can to undermine Dekalbs services by scaremongering to try and fufil their aspirations.

Guess what Mike, the people of Murphy Candler can see through your game...........if we wanted to live in Dunwoody we would have moved their to begin with....

John Heneghan said...

Update from Rep Jacobs

There is a community-wide meeting on cityhood and annexation to be held on Tuesday, March 29, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Chamblee United Methodist Church, 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

John Heneghan said...

Brookhaven Patch article - New Survey Calls for Community input on Brookhaven Annexation or Cityhood

Ashford Alliance Survey page

Direct link to Survey

John Heneghan said...

Decided to copy the survey to the web.

http://www.scribd.com/full/50915673?access_key=key-2glp6j7ey4dnepeew42q