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Residents Say Late Night Establishments Are Against Chamblee Annexation

In The Forum, these residents argue that several businesses opposing annexation are spreading falsehoods about next week's ballot referendum.


The Dresden East neighborhoods will be voting next week to decide whether or not they want to annex into the city of Chamblee.

This is a very important decision that will have a major impact on the quality of life and future of our neighborhoods. But recent false propaganda disseminated by anonymous agents against annexation via flyers and illegally posted signs creates a more compelling story. 

We suspect the inaccurate flyers and signs were created and distributed by local late night establishments (bar and nightclub owners) and not by an individual or other group against annexation. They certainly have a motive to do this. 

Background:

The Steering Committee regarding Chamblee Annexation (Chamblee Annexation Vote, Yes or No), held two public informational meetings to help residents make an informed, non-biased decision on Chamblee annexation.

DeKalb County officials spoke at the first meeting in September and Chamblee officials spoke at the second meeting this past Thursday. The committee has also established a Facebook page to disseminate information on this issue, which includes facts about the city of Chamblee, and interviews with Chamblee officials. One local resident also created a Chamblee Info blog

Over the past few weeks residents in many Dresden East neighborhoods have put signs in their yards encouraging neighbors to vote Yes for annexation. This weekend the attached Chamblee No flier with incorrect information was mailed to residents in our neighborhoods. 

Julia Sellers of the Chamblee Annexation Steering Committee had this to say about the flier:

“Many people in many neighborhoods are receiving an unfactual flier from a No Chamblee group. Much of the information in this flier is untrue.” Arguably the most inaccurate statements from the flier are:

  1. Chamblee has a “Shortage of Police Officers.” Chamblee actually has more police officers per person than unincorporated DeKalb County. They have about 1 officer for approximately every 500 people. They have planned to hire more officers to keep that ratio if the annexation passes. DeKalb County has about 1 officer per 1000 people and that number will likely decrease if the North Precinct closes.
  2. Chamblee’s property taxes will be “16% higher than DeKalb County.”  Some residents in the area to be annexed will have a small increase in their property taxes, but some will see a small decrease in their tax bill.  Seniors will experience the most savings as Chamblee does not charge city tax if the homeowner is 65 or older.  See the attached doc for an accurate Chamblee vs. DeKalb tax comparison.
  3. “When your address changes to Chamblee, your property value will drop at least 10%.”  There is no factual basis for this statement as there are many factors that influence property values.  Several local Real Estate Agents we have spoken with feel that Chamblee Police, Code Enforcement and Public Works will “clean-up” the area and lead to an increase of property values in a short period of time.

In addition to the inaccurate fliers, over 50 green Chamblee No signs were placed in and around our neighborhoods. Many signs were illegally placed in private yards without permission from homeowners. Other signs were also placed in right-of-ways and in front of subdivisions.

We suspect the inaccurate flyers and signs were created and distributed by local late night establishments (bar and nightclub owners) and not by an individual or other group against annexation. 

This is due in part to the illegal placement of the green Chamblee No signs.  Also, if an individual or group against annexation were responsible for this material, they would have signed their name and/or created a website or some other method of saying, "For more information, please contact so and so with a phone number or email address." Individuals take pride in their work, especially if they are financing it.  Anonymity usually means fear of retribution or something to hide.  

Also, there are very few residents that are vocally against annexation and we don't think they would be willing to spend the funds needed to create and distribute this propaganda. 

Why are local late night establishments against Chamblee annexation? 

Currently many late night establishments serve alcohol and stay open later than they are supposed to and DeKalb Police do not do enough to stop them. These late night establishments know that if annexation passes, although they will still be able to stay open late, they will be required to stop serving alcohol sooner. 

Chamblee recently passed an ordinance that says that businesses must cease serving alcohol at 1:55 a.m., alcohol must be off all tables by 2:30 a.m. and all customers must be out by 3 a.m.  The only exception is 24 hour restaurants like Waffle House, which can stay open, but not serve alcohol. 

The bars/clubs know Chamblee will enforce these ordinances just like they did when they made late night establishments on Savoy Drive adhere to the law after the Huntley Hills neighborhood annexed into Chamblee.  Business owners do not get to vote on our area annexing into Chamblee. These bars/clubs will lose lots of revenue if our area is annexed because of the new Chamblee ordinances and stronger enforcement, which is why they want the Chamblee annexation referendum to fail.

Our neighbors have the right to make an educated decision concerning the annexation referendum based on facts, and not on false propaganda and illegally posted signs disseminated by anonymous agents against annexation.  

Jordan Fox, Wakefield Forest
Anthony Crotser, Appling Heights
Justin Childers, Appling Heights
Donna Dravis, Wakefield Forest
Leslie Freymann, Beverly Hills
Julia Sellers, Clairmont Terrace
Pat Thomas, Wakefield Forest
Nikki VanDerGrinten, Appling Heights
Stephanie Walters, Whispering Hills
Justin Walters, Whispering Hills
Carol Piper, Surrey Place
Bill Lowe, Beverly Hills

hmm November 01, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I heard it was C4ND doing the flyers and campaign to get back at those of you on the list that spreading lies re Brookhaven lol. Does your tax calculation include the franchise fees? And it only goes up to a house appraised at $200,000. Are you saying all the houses are appraised below that level? Its a misleading chart. Finally what possible justification is there for giving folks over 65 a free pass from paying taxes if they do not have financial difficulties? Their parents paid taxes until the day they died. This pandering to groups is crazy. Oh you ever drive down Savoy? They forced a perfectly fine indian banquet hall out of business and the street is a ghost town. Its an access road along a 285 not a quiet residential neighborhood. Chamblee screwed up that one.
Mark Graffagnino November 02, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Feels a little different being on the other side of a 'no city' campaign spreading lies, huh? Kharma's a bitch.
Eddie E. November 02, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Really? The area in question will be MUCH better off if they stay clear of the small city snare. Eventually, the myth of 'evil Dekalb' will make the appropriate individuals laughingstock.
Justin Walters November 02, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The tax comparison is based off total gross tax from 2012, so any 'fees' you are thinking of would be included. I am who performed the research for the tax comparison and there is nothing misleading about it. Yes. The vast majority of homes in the to-be-annexed area are below $200,000 assessed value. In fact, it was extremely difficult to find 4 homes in our to-be-annexed unincorporated DeKalb area that were near 80k 40% assessed ($200,000 value). I did not see a single home at 100k 40% assessed ($250,000 value). It would have been more appropriate to have compared 20K, 40K and 60K, as this is where the majority of our homes are, but I wanted to show the upper end of our tax base where the trend changed and Chamblee started to cost more than unincorporated. This factual report is not misleading in any way. I suspect the issue on Savoy Drive has little to do with Chamblee and a lot to do with the harsh economical times businesses have seen over the last 4 years.
hmm November 02, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Thanks Justin, so you included the increased franchise fees that I believe No Brookhaven said totaled $100 between phone, electric and some other service? What number do you have for the increased franchise fees? Also is the shift in tax rates as you move higher due to a higher base exemption? DeKalb's is 10,000, Brookhaven is 20,000 (No Brookhaven didn't adjust for that) What is Chamblee's? I'll disagree on Savoy. The businesses went out because Chamblee didn't try to work with them and shut them down immediately. The Indian Banquet/Catering hall had recently done an expansion. I disagree that there isn't community opposition. Its just that yours doesn't have the backing of the wealthy families in historic Brookhaven who did not want to pass the Grey Poupon and share the name Brookhaven.
Jordan Fox November 02, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Most of the Dresden East residents who were against Brookhaven were not against the concept of a City of Brookhaven. We were against Brookhaven taking our commercial land and not including the residential areas. We were worried that the city would not have adequate police protection and with a low millage cap, would not be able to do anything about it. We also felt the city was being rushed. The commercial land was released before Brookhaven went to referendum, but the concerns about lack of police protection are still very real. My hope is that Brookhaven succeeds because I want our neighbors to have a good quality of life, but I fear that the rush to cityhood will come back to bite Brookhaven. Chamblee is an established city that is well run with excellent police protection and money in reserves. I'm excited about the possibility of joining the City of Chamblee.
Adam King November 02, 2012 at 08:59 PM
At the end of the day, whether or not we end up in the city of Chamblee, this process has left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. There are many reasons both for and against annexation, but I've been disappointed to see so many people on both sides of the issue stoop to acting like politicians. I truly hope that the movement to annex into Chamblee has the best of intentions and that this will be a great move for our neighborhoods, but if this ends up harming local businesses and the rest of unincorporated DeKalb, decreasing our property values, increasing our taxes, and meanwhile allowing the leaders of the movement to gain political office while avoiding city taxes, then I will be far beyond "disappointed." Adam King Appling Heights
Stephanie Melnik Walters November 03, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Adam, I understand where you're coming from- I have been extremely involved in supporting this annexation, and I am so ready for it to be over! I think most of us are, and that is precisely because we are NOT politicians. We are simply neighbors of yours who, last year, found ourselves in the predicament of becoming the only little sliver of unincorporated Dekalb left north of I-85, and we had to decide how to proceed. We have devoted hours and hours of our own personal time and energy to doing research to decide what would most likely preserve the future of our neighborhoods. Why? Because we live here! That is the only reason. I know of no one in this movement who is even interested in talking about political office after the annexation at all. That is nothing more than a blatant lie printed on a mailer that was put out by the local bars and nightclubs, who will definitely suffer if annexation goes through. And unless chamblee does not charge city taxes to its elected officials, i don't see how it would be even possible to avoid taxes, since again, we live here!
Roger That November 03, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Savoy has been a drag for a decade. Chamblee plaza has been a drag for over a decade. Buford highway has been a drag since the early 90's. Learn your ABCD's (Anything But County Dekalb), and good luck with the Chamblee City council. Lot of drunks, but worth entertaining (they tip well) LOL!
Bill Lowe November 04, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Karma is indeed a bitch. The infighting among neighbors the Brookhaven cityhood issue has brought out has not even reached the peak yet, and that is not surprising. There was definitely some going on before the July 31st vote, but it has ramped up significantly. The first vote has not happened yet and the merits of the candidates are primarily focused on whether they were for the city or against it, and where they got their campaign contributions from. Don't worry about who is best suited to do the job. Pretty sad for a small city. Pathetic really. Karma is a bitch indeed! You think this infighting will end anytime soon? Not until the memory fades or their long lives come to an end. Moving to another area will not rid those involved with their deel set feelings on this issue. Even when they come back to visit, they will still feel the same. When new people move into the city of Brookhaven in the future, it will be interesting to see how many actually stay for any period of time. The first conversation with neighbors will be a sales pitch about how this group is better than that group. And this group created the city, and should remain in power over the city, so you will need to vote for them. Another neighbor will come along and apologize for the other. Yet another neighbor will come along and give another sales pitch saying: if anyone asks, you have always been for the city. The new neighbor will think....Twilight Zone. Karma? It's permanent until disolved.
Anonymous November 04, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I was informed by another neighbor who was at the meeting on Thursday that a man with a truck was passing out the "chamblee NO" signs and he was NOT a "business man with 'late night establishments". I placed one of those signs in my yard and NO ONE PUT IT THERE "ILLEGALLY". How dare you "Yes" people say this was "illegal placement"?? How do we know whether someone from DECA or other "annonymous group" placed all the "Yes" signs in yards "without permission of owner"??
Stephanie Melnik Walters November 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Anonymous- The "NO" signs that were placed in county right-of-ways were illegally placed. No signs are allowed in right of ways. However, you putting a sign in your own yard is perfectly legal. Also, I have several neighbors who had "NO" signs placed in their yard without their permission. I know this because I talked to them. Have you talked to your neighbors with "YES" signs? I usually do not respond to comments left by "anonymous" people because they tend to be cowardly and insincere in nature. Would you mind being so kind as to identify yourself in the future, like the rest of us on this board?
Anonymous November 07, 2012 at 09:17 PM
No, I will not identify myself. I do not want to make my name known only to be harrassed by "yes" people. YOU LOST THE VOTE....NOW YOU SHOULD LIVE WITH YOUR UNSAVORY TACTICS AND ACCUSATIONS. It lost, no doubt, because none of us were getting our questions answered adequately. You have the mayor of Chamblee and other city officials to thank for that. Only aproximately 2200 people voted and it lost by only about 30 something votes. Perhaps if DECA had PROPERLY informed residents in the area of the meetings and proposals and questions were answered properly it may have not been defeated. .
Roger That November 07, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Stephanie, would you be so kind as to remind Sandy Murray about the placement of signs on right of ways. I think everyone saw her jamming signs in the ground at Blackburn election day afternoon. Some Patcher even snapped a pic.
Stephanie Melnik Walters November 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I don't know what "unsavory tactics and accusations" you are referring to. The informational meetings and hand-delivered flyers by the neighbors? And I'm curious what questions you were unable to get answered in 4 meetings, and with a website solely devoted to answering questions...
Booyah November 07, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Now that the area bordering Brookhaven remains unincorporated does it mean that the new City can annex the commercial property that is adjacent to it's boundaries? It's my understanding that cities can annex properties without a vote if 100% of the property owners agree. Century Center has one owner and might decide to join Brookhaven. Wow that would be something.
Stephanie Melnik Walters November 07, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Yes, now that the vote lost, the DECA area is susceptible again to losing all of its commercial property. We will also now be included in the boundaries of the proposed City of Dekalb.
hmm November 07, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Yes. They can annex individual properities as long as the owner asks and there is a physical connection - which can run through several properties if they exist.

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