Update: Chamblee Annexation and Brookhaven Cityhood

About 60 percent of Chamblee residents are in favor of annexation.

HB 1006 has passed the House and awaits Senate action.  If passed and signed by the Governor, this bill would permit a referendum by the DECA-area neighborhoods (East of Buford Highway, South of Clairmont-Tucker, and North and West of I-85) to vote on whether they want to annex into the City of Chamblee.  A recent poll taken at a Dresden East Civic Association meeting showed approximately 60 percent of attendants in favor of annexation. 

City of Brookhaven/Ashford Update

HB 636, the bill to allow an incorporation referendum on the formation of a new city of Ashford, has not seen much action since the last [newsletter].  As a recap, the bill has passed out of the House of Representatives with the city name of Ashford, and a hearing on the bill before the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations (SLGO) Committee is expected on Tuesday, March 13.

Amendments expected to be offered in the Senate include:

  • Changing the name back to Brookhaven. 
  • Amending the City Council Districts to create 4 single-member districts instead of 3. 
  • Amending the boundaries to account for HB 1006, my bill to allow a referendum for areas of our district to annex into Chamblee.  This means the Plaza Fiesta/QT commercial area will be dropped and the city’s eastern boundary would be Clairmont Road.

Interested persons should write to the Senators on the Committee and express your viewpoints.  Senators to write to include all SLGO Committee members, and Sen. Fran Millar, the Senator who is carrying HB 636 in the Senate.

Here is the contact information of the relevant Senators:

Chairman Butch Miller: butch.miller@senate.ga.gov (404) 651-7738
Vice Chairman Rick Jeffares: rick.jeffares@senate.ga.gov (404) 656-0503
Secretary Frank Ginn: frank.ginn@senate.ga.gov (404) 656-4700
Senator Donzella James: donzella.james@senate.ga.gov (404) 463-1379
Senator Steve Gooch: steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov (404) 656-9221
Senator Doug Stoner: doug.stoner@senate.ga.gov (404) 463-2518
Senator Horacena Tate: horacena.tate@senate.ga.gov (404) 463-8053
Senator John Wilkinson: john.wilkinson@senate.ga.gov (404) 463-5257

Senator Fran Millar: senatorfranmillar@gmail.com (404) 463-2260


Elena Parent represents the 81st legislative district.

HDM March 08, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Why would this neighborhood prefer Chamblee to Brookhaven? Sour grapes, seems.
Enuff Govt Already March 08, 2012 at 09:45 PM
DECA be cautious be very cautious. Chamblee boasted of a tax cut from 7.95 mills to 7.4 mills; the millage in 2004 was only 4.13. The city raised the millage every year as they out spent revenues until they duplicitously led Huntley Hills into being annexed. To this day I don't understand why the county delegation would allow the annexation of the commercial area (aka car dealers) north of Chamblee based on Huntley Hills decision. They seem very disconnected from the commercial area and I would of liked to have seen the delegation tell Chamblee to get its financial house n order before annexing anything. Just prior to the annexation vote the city newsletter said they hoped to keep millage at 7.95 but hey needed to rebuild their reserve fund. They also talked of cutting core city services. Two years later they're ready to add 11K to the population. DECA you will be downgrading your most important service, police.
Bill Lowe March 08, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I would have really enjoyed these neighborhoods being included in the City of Brookhaven/Ashford/North Atlanta/Cross Keys, but Rep. Jacobs decided that our neighborhoods were not worthy and were excluded, yet he did want to include every bit of commercial space he could squeeze into the deal. I whole heartedly agree with him leaving DECA out. If these neighborhoods of DECA were included in the new city map, I would really be fighting it. The DECA area and many areas included in the city of Brookhaven--- South of Clairmont road and North of Windsor Parkway have no identity with Brookhaven. Many people claim that they do have a connection, but it is in the hope of higher home values only and the prestige of claiming that they live in Brookhaven---which they don't and never really will. Even if a city is created with the name Brookhaven, these "newcomers" will be looked down upon by those that have really lived in Brookhaven before it grew out of it's panties. I know that within 20 years the houses in DECA will be worth more. Our lots are generally bigger than many located in the pseudo Brookhaven areas, and are priced very affordably. Infill/McMansions will return, and our location is primed for it. Remember, house valuations are great only when you are trying to sell. I want mine valued as low as possible, because I intend to live here for a long time and prefer reduced value because that means reduced taxes.
Bill Lowe March 08, 2012 at 10:48 PM
There was a DECA neighborhood meeting at Dresden Elementary a few weeks ago. A poll was taken among those present. I am not sure of all of the ways people were notified of the meeting, but I do know it was advertised on Facebook and the DECA email list. There may also have been flyers distributed within the neighborhoods, but I cannot say that doors were knocked on and people were directly handed a flyer. It is possible you received a flyer in your mailbox and it was tossed out as junk. I have done this before. I do not really consider DECA to be VAST. More of a wedge of neighborhoods between four major roads. Clairmont, Buford Hwy, Chamblee-Tucker, and I-85. You can drive past or through our neighborhoods within one minute on most of these major roads---excluding traffic lights. I-85 is the exception. Driving past Hartsfield airport takes more time at a faster speed. That is a VAST area. Heh.
Bill Lowe March 08, 2012 at 11:02 PM
The businesses have no say in annexation, only registered households. I think this is why Brookhaven stretched itself past Buford Highway all the way to I-85. Because the majority of land there is commercial, and the residents are mostly immigrants and they are not likely registered to vote. I understand the risks associated with being annexed into Chamblee. Both on the taxes portion and the policing aspect. My view is: If Brookhaven becomes a city, I will vote to be annexed. If they fail to become a city and this City of DeKalb crap passes government trials, I will vote to be annexed. If Brookhaven and City of DeKalb both fail, I will vote against annexation. I guess the best way of explaining my desire for annexation is: I already have three police departments passing blame to each other for problems in the area(Chamblee, DeKalb, Doraville). I don't need four(Chamblee, DeKalb, Doraville, Brookhaven) with a new city. If I can get rid of one of them by annexing into Chamblee, that would be nice. It would cut the squablling down to two police departments on one road: Chamblee-Tucker. Doraville will have their side and Chamblee will have the other. Buford Highway will be controlled by Chambee down to Clairmont instead of halfsies by Chamblee and DeKalb.
not one of 60 March 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM
DECA is vast! I never go to Shallowford road for squat! I live near Buford hwy near Clairmont! I travel down Dresden toward the Brookhaven Marta Station and can walk to the Haven restaurant if I want. I would never walk to downtown Chamblee! No reason too!
Bill Lowe March 09, 2012 at 05:52 PM
If many in your neighborhood feel that you belong in Brookhaven as opposed to Chamblee, I would suggest doing your own poll, find out the percentages, or even better, make a list of those names and addresses. Once you have a list, take it to the Brookhaven people and ask to be included in the borders of their fine city. The lines may still be able to be changed. Right now those lines are clean with no jutting across any major roads to grab any commercial or residential space. Just remember, when this thing first started: Your neighborhood was not selected for inclusion in Brookhaven. They have their reasons: I-285 and I-85 is better for Brookhaven, but not many other residential areas that are "closer". One thing you can do to give yourself the Brookhaven "feel" right now is to start using Brookhaven, GA as your address. As long as you use your current zip code, your mail will arrive to you. That way you can say you live in Brookhaven and many people will actually believe you. I know it is cheating, but the lines of this new city are going to cheat people into believing that they live in Brookhaven anyway. Your ability to walk is certainly impressive. Whatever city you go with or if you remain unincorporated, you will still be able to walk wherever you want to.
HamBurger March 09, 2012 at 06:04 PM
ONE All this cityhood business is a bunch of bull. Our elected officials should be assisting us in making DeKalb County government more responsible. Furthermore, and infinitely more important is the DeKalb County School System. But no, they think new cities will be the savior for the areas considered for cityhood. What are they thinking? Regardless of whether you have school age children, the quality of the county public school system has an effect on your property values. Don’t believe me? Are you aware of the drastic impact the loss of accreditation of public school system in Clayton County had on county property values? If you have school age children are you aware of all the troubles the school system has had over the past few years? As taxpayers, are you aware that there is a convicted felon on the DeKalb County School Board? Are you aware that the current BOE chair has had a couple of sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him and had an uncomfortably cozy relationship with a developer?
HamBurger March 09, 2012 at 06:04 PM
TWO Take a moment to review the articles below. The school system and county government is where we need to put our efforts, not on new cities. Get ready folks, If I read that last article correctly, everyone except for the school tax exempt may be receiving a property tax increase in the near future. Financial picture for DeKalb schools gloomy http://tinyurl.com/6v3e9f4 DeKalb County schools: Never a dull moment http://tinyurl.com/7zxlxfl Panel finds some improvement in DeKalb schools, but not enough http://tinyurl.com/7yn8fdf . . . Don’t feel like a hamburger lunch today . . .
Enuff Govt Already March 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The Burger is right. The elephant in the room is the school system. County operations might average 25-30 % of the tax bill. Of that the overwhelming majority is spent on their primary duties; jail, court, health department and etc. For all the talk about the county "sending our money to south DeKalb" most give the school system a complete pass. I don't mind sending some of my money south. It tends to keep the waste treatment plants, the garbage dumps and even the jail far away from this section of the county.
Steve Walker March 09, 2012 at 08:44 PM
If Chamblee does annex the Plaza Fiesta area I hope they are ready to handle 50,000 Hispanics for one of their "events" that are periodically held there (or find a way to keep them from happening all together).
Steve Walker March 09, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I am in support of both the City of Brookhaven and the Chamblee annexation of the DECA area, but Plaza Fiesta is a night mare and may require more resources to manage than is realized.
Tom Reilly March 09, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Indications are that the City Of Brookhaven proposal also has 60/40 support.--Tom Reilly
pat thomas March 09, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Recently, I have become convinced a deal was made between C4ND and Chamblee. DECA was a pawn. Why did C4ND give up Century Center so easily? Why did they give up the southern part of PDK? No one really wants Plaza Fiesta because it is a vice/gang/noise/unsanitary/eyesore nightmare. So, it is not a positive part of the question. Why has Eric Clarkson always actively supported the incorporation of Brookhaven, even showing up at their "victory" pub get-togethers. DECA has been suckered. The only choices for residents now seem to be: 1) annex into Chamblee 2) wait to see if Brookhaven incorporates and see if they will annex some or all of the DECA/Clairmont neighborhoods 3) remain in unincorporated DeKalb County 4) Relocate
Bill Lowe March 09, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I know why they let get of Century Center and the other half of PDK. Both of these spaces have a large percentage of government offices, or nothing at all----which do not translate into much revenue for the city....and they did not want to have to include the residential portions on that side of Clairmont near I-85 and Buford highway into their fine city just to get the money from the commercial properties. Plaza Fiesta is a mess. No doubt about that. I don't believe anyone could clean that up unless it collapses in upon itself. It is a local shopping area for the people that are in walking distance. If one goes away, so does the other. It is definitely a catch 22. I would rather have a vibrant, utilized, yet somewhat unfavorable Plaza Fiesta, rather than a empty building or a nearly empty Chamblee Plaza. There may have been a deal, but Chamblee got the better half of it. C$ND needs to make a deal for the rest of Buford Highway in my opinion.
Stephanie Melnik Walters March 09, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but this Brookhaven Cityhood issue has just confirmed for me that it is in the best interest of my (DECA) neighborhood to annex into Chamblee. Living next to the Chamblee border, as well in the area where Chamblee, Dorabille, and Dekalb converge, has given rise to my opinion, and I've had that opinion long before a city of Brookhaven was conceived. Living that close has made it easy to see the improvement in services that Chamblee offers over Dekalb. I want to be annexed no matter what happens with Brookhaven, although staying unincorporated would be much more detrimental to my area if Brookhaven incorporates.
Steve Walker March 09, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Has anyone been inside of Plaza Fiesta lately ? The last time I was inside several years back it was nothing more that an indoor flea market selling trinkets and junk. More of a hang out than any kind of quality shopping going on. That place is a curse and an eyesore for any City that inherits it. Management there needs to be petitioned to redevelop into something viable for the community as a whole. IMO
Rick March 11, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Went to PF a few months back. There's nothing wrong with it. It's a mall that caters to the local community. Nothing more, nothing less.
Steve Walker March 11, 2012 at 04:32 AM
It may be your local community but it certainly is not mine
Enuff Govt Already March 11, 2012 at 01:00 PM
The tax record says the mall paid around $300K in property taxes last year. The additional taxes and fees probably pushed the location into the 1 to 2 million in taxes paid and I didn't see any that were in over due. It looks like the free market, which I prefer over a government planned system, is working well at 4166 Buford Hwy. I think when the free market is ready then PF will change. I believe the location is relatively safe. But if it's not your kind of place maybe a strip mall in Alpharetta where Moe's is considered ethic cuisine will work for you.
Bill Lowe March 11, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Probably best just to leave the Plaza Fiesta triangle from Dresden to Clairmont to Buford highway alone. Cleaning it up too much might make it an easy aquisition of the federal government to make an extension to the runways at PDK for Atlanta to have a second airport. I think it will eventually be Dobbins because the infrastructure is already there and that area is already used to the noise from large multi engined aircraft.
HamBurger March 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Mr. Douglas, I have you covered with condiments for your Chick-Fil-A sammiches. I trust everyone in your crowd loves thin sliced pickles and onions and yellow mustard? I will even hold my nose and bring a few tofu burgers for them Vegetarians!
Booyah March 11, 2012 at 05:32 PM
The DECA community fought to keep Plaza Fiesta out of Brookhaven, as it was integral to their neighborhood.
Booyah March 11, 2012 at 06:20 PM
So, did you vote against him when Sandy Murray ran??
Bill Lowe March 11, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Actually, DECA asked for it to be removed from Brookhaven's obnoxious commercial real estate land grab so that the DECA area would have a little commercial space to offer a city in case we wanted to be annexed in the future. This reminds me of how Doraville got started......Probably over a cup of coffee, but in J Max Davis and Mike Jacobs case, it seems to be over an election.... Two guys competing for the same job start talking about how unfair it is that they are both there to try to win over the employer, so they start talking about how they can work together and both have jobs. One says to the other..."Hey, why don't we form a city?" "You can be the mayor, and I'll be the police chief!" "We'll make a fortune in tickets alone." And so the city of Doraville was formed, and that same method of democracy still exists today.
Booyah March 11, 2012 at 07:50 PM
WOW Bill, and to think you were there in 1871and now have a computer :>)
HDM March 11, 2012 at 07:59 PM
even in your fabrication governance in the area would be far superior to what Dekalb County Government provides.
Bill Lowe March 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
You can't run a time machine just off of projections, promises and hopes. Sometimes you have to look back to the past to see how it started to give an idea of where it is going in the future. DeKalb County is so diluted now, not many see the riches. Smaller government like Doraville had it made, until the various schemes got too big and the money started falling off. Happens to everyone that lives a life of greed and invites others to participate. I would like to see this continue in the spirit of a new city....Prove me wrong.
not one of 60 March 12, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Bill Lowe is not the voice of all, noe the voice for a very western resident of "DECA"; Is Chamblee going to pick up trash 2x a week; and yard debris and recycling the other 2 days! Walking a 1/2 mile is not impressive for anyone!
Steve Walker March 12, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Chamblee is very lenient when it comes to trash pick up. They have machines that suck up leaves piled at the curb. You don't have to spend hours and dollars stuffing leaves into paper bags purchased at your local Lowe's or Home Depot. There is a savings to you right there from City of Chamblee.


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