Copy of Message to LVPCA Board re: Annexation and Cityhood Developments

To follow is an email update sent November 23 from Steve Richards, President of LVPCA, to the LVPCA Board regarding cityhood and annexation updates.

I wanted to bring you up to date with what I know about the cityhood situation and the Brookhaven annexation situation.  I would like to tell you that many questions have been answered and that our choices are clearer and that this whole thing has been simplified.  But none of that is true.

Two weeks ago, Jonathan (Greene, Zoning Coordinator) and I met with Mayor J Max Davis and Councilman Joe Gebbia of Brookhaven.  Since that time I have attended one zoning meeting and two city council meetings in Brookhaven.  We had tremendous support from the neighborhood at these meetings. Additionally I have met with Anne Wallace of Together in Atlanta and Darian Bilski of the WHNA, and just this evening spent nearly three hours with representatives of N Druid Hills Civic Association, Merry Hills, and a few others.  Last week I took calls from Joe Gebbia and John Park of the Brookhaven City Council.  

I assume you all saw the results of our survey.  On the basis of that survey we are included in the LaVista Hills map.  We are also included in the Together in Atlanta map to be annexed into Atlanta.  Brookhaven had made it clear and public that we are welcome in their fair city.   The group I met with tonight (NDH and Merry Hills) wants us to throw in with them for another Town Hall meeting to further inform area residents of the options.

The LaVista Hills organizers (f/k/a Lakeside and Briarcliff) were unable to agree with the Tucker organizers on the border between their proposed cities.  So a subcommittee of the House Governmental Affairs Committee has been set up to choose their borders for them.  Our representatives, Mary Margaret Oliver and Howard Mosby are the Dems on the committee along with three Repubs.  I believe they are charged with having a map drawn by the end of the year. 

I believe Brookhaven will successfully annex CHoA, Executive Park, and the other commercial areas.  The decision has been deferred until tomorrow night at a special meeting of the Council pending the finalization of the financial details.  Our counsel, Amy Hillman, did a good job for us and has secured an agreement from Exec Park to honor and extend our 2009 agreement and to have it included with EP’s zoning conditioning.  Ms. Hillman spoke eloquently on behalf of the neighborhood, and urged the Brookhaven planning commission to be aware of unintended consequences that could result from a rushed decision.  Unfortunately the property owners want in and Brookhaven wants to have them in.   As part of all this, and at our request, Brookhaven has taken a hard look at LVP and they like with they see.  (They also have encouragement from their patron saint, Fran Millar, to not divorce commercial areas from the surrounding residential.)  They presented me with a 36” square map of LVP their planning department prepared showing the assessed value of each parcel and the total amount of property taxes to be generated for the city.  They have looked at us and we are welcome there.

I also have a little more clarification about the school situation under the various scenarios.  I have a detailed email from DeKalb school board member Marshall Orson concerning the impact of the Druid Hills area annexing into Atlanta and taking Druid Hills High and Briar Vista Elementary with them. 

Via email blasts and the website, I will be disseminating information about Brookhaven and potential school changes.  Subsequently, I would like the Board to authorize a second survey.  I do not believe our residents had enough information about either of these issues to consider them fairly.  Brookhaven was just too new and, at the time of the original survey, I had not shared much information about the potential impact on the schools of an Atlanta annexation.  These are both critical issues and ones that are nearly mutually exclusive.  There is almost no scenario whereby we are able to keep our same schools and stay in the same jurisdiction as Executive Park.  If we go to LaVista Hills and things go as expected with Brookhaven and Druid Hills, we lose on both issues. 

Finally, the group I met with this evening want to have another Town Hall meeting with all three neighborhoods invited.  It will be in the second week of December at a site to be determined.  All the players from LaVista Hills, Atlanta, Together in Atlanta, Brookhaven, and DeKalb County will be invited.  The format will be primarily Q&A.  It will not be a sales meeting.

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