Supporters of a city of Brookhaven and city officials from Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Johns Creek told Brookhaven residents that they should vote to form a city because they might not have another chance after the election on July 31.

“If we don’t do something, other cities will,” J. Max Davis, president of Brookhaven Yes told about 125 residents who attended a forum July 19 sponsored by the pro-city group. “This is our one shot, folks.”

Brookhaven voters will decide July 31 whether to create a new city in an area bounded roughly by Chamblee, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and I-85. If the new city is approved, it would be the most populous in DeKalb County.

Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis, Police Chief Billy Grogan and finance director Chris Pike joined J. Max Davis, Sandy Springs City Councilwoman Dianne Fries and Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker for the panel discussion at Montgomery Elementary School.

Mike Davis pointed out that Chamblee had annexed areas recently and said that high-value commercial property, such as Perimeter Summit, could draw interest from his city.

“The money is in the commercial areas … ” Mike Davis said. “That’s a winner for us. Do we want your neighborhoods? We’ll talk, but we really not interested in your neighborhoods.”

Although the meeting was sponsored by Brookhaven Yes, a group that backs creation of the city, some members of the audience wore stickers attacking the city proposal. Bodker noted that the Brookhaven cityhood vote has produced more debate than did efforts to create his city and other “new cities” founded after Sandy Springs started operations in 2005.

“I come down to Brookhaven, there’s so much emotion, I’m not sure whether I’m going to get egged or patted on the back,” he said.

Left to right, Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker, Sandy Springs City Councilwoman Dianne Fries and Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis discuss the proposal to create a new city of Brookhaven. They were part of a panel discussion at Montgomery Elementary School July 19 that was organized by Brookhaven Yes, a group that supports creation of the city.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.