This "area of interest" map shows the overlapping boundaries of the three proposed cities.
This “area of interest” map shows the overlapping boundaries of the three proposed cities.

State lawmakers met Aug. 26 with advocates of new cities in DeKalb County to tell them to agree on the boundaries of their proposed communities by November or expect a panel of legislators to draw a map for the new cities.

“The General Assembly can’t be caught in an intractable, three-way dispute over boundaries,” Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) said after the meeting.

Jacobs and Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) met with representatives of three groups promoting the creation of new cities — the City of Briarcliff Initiative, Lakeside Yes and Tucker 2015 –and laid out directions for DeKalb County cityhood boundary line proposals from the House Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees legislation involving the creation of new cities.

Past efforts to create the cities collapsed in boundary disputes.

According to a press release issued after the meeting, directions for drawing cityhood proposals are as follows:

  • Each of the three  groups will have until Sept. 5 to identify one authorized signatory for a compromise boundary map.
  • Cityhood proponents have until Nov. 15 to come to a mutual agreement on boundary lines and submit the agreed upon map bearing three signatures from the authorized signatories to the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
  • If an agreement cannot be reached by that date, House Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Amy Carter will appoint a panel of five state House members to carry out the task of drawing city boundaries for the proposed cities. The panel’s sole charge will be to produce a boundary map no later than Dec. 31 by majority vote of the panel.
  • Either the agreed upon map by cityhood proponents or the map drawn by the legislative panel will be the only acceptable version that the House Governmental Affairs Committee will consider.

“Our goal for this process is to encourage all stakeholders to engage in conversations now about cityhood boundary lines and to ensure any remaining disputes are resolved prior to 2015,” Jacobs said in the release.”

House Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) said the plan “gives cityhood proponents “the best chance for successful passage of legislation that will allow new city proposals to go before the voters for consideration.

“There is a need to bring order to this process and the directions outlined to the stakeholders today will accomplish just that,” she said.

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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.