In the final weeks before the start of the new legislative session in January, residents of areas in and around the proposed new city of Brookhaven are discussing what should and shouldn’t be included in the new municipality.
Rep. Mike Jacobs, who plans to promote legislation calling for a vote on the new city next year, on Dec. 13 met with homeowners from Sexton Woods, a neighborhood that would be divided between Chamblee and the new city under the current legislation. He said he met a week earlier with residents from neighborhoods near the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, which also could end up divided between the two cities.
“There are issues that, during this holiday season, I and others involved in advocating for a city of Brookhaven are thinking through,” Jacobs said.
After Jacobs and Rep. Tom Taylor of Dunwoody introduced legislation earlier this year to create a city of Brookhaven, a nonprofit called Citizens for North DeKalb paid for a $27,000 study of the financial feasibility of the new city. The study, by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, found the city could operate at a surplus without an increase in the property tax millage levied in the area by DeKalb County.
Jacobs predicts that his legislation will pass in the 2012 General Assembly, which means residents of the area could vote on creating the new city next year. That has led to discussions about specific areas to be included in the proposed city. One commercial district was removed from the original plan by Citizens for North DeKalb after nearby residents complained.
The study area set up by Citizens for North DeKalb is bounded by Dunwoody, Chamblee, the DeKalb-Fulton County line and I-85, Century Lane and Buford Highway.
An area included in the study is a portion of the airport not already within the city of Chamblee. The airport, the second busiest in the state, is owned and operated by DeKalb County. Jacobs told members of the Sexton Woods neighborhood that “there are talks about carving it out” of the area proposed for the new city.
Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson, who attended both the airport and Sexton Woods meetings, as did members of Citizens for North DeKalb, argues that the airport shouldn’t operate under three different governments. “It just makes no sense,” he said.
Jacobs said, however, that some residents of neighborhoods near the airport, such as Ashford Park, argue they want to see more local control over businesses nearby on Clairmont Road.
After meeting with Jacobs and Clarkson on Dec. 13, Sexton Woods residents said they may initiate community discussions and surveys to try to determine what course to pursue. A portion of the neighborhood is within the city of Chamblee and a portion in unincorporated DeKalb County.
“I think it should all be in Chamblee,” said Adam Booker, who lives in the Chamblee portion of the neighborhood. “It’s a continuous neighborhood.”
But Stan Bevers, who lives in the unincorporated area, said he hadn’t made up his mind. “I don’t know yet. I’m going to find everything and we’ll go from there,” he said. “I want to look at all [the proposals].”
But Marty Black, who also lives in the unincorporated area, was convinced he probably needed to be in a city, whether it was Chamblee or Brookhaven. “I just don’t want to be in an island by myself,” he said. “I don’t want to be in an unincorporated island.”