Many of you may have seen the news stories by now regarding Emory University’s definite plan to apply for annexation into the City of Atlanta. This application relates to their main campus in unincorporated DeKalb County just to the southeast of LaVista Park. It does NOT relate to Emory’s newly acquired property in Executive Park which is already in the City of Brookhaven. Emory’s Executive Park properties will remain in Brookhaven.
Emory will apply for annexation using the “100% method” since their property abuts the City of Atlanta along a brief stretch of Briarcliff Road just south of the Sage Hill shopping center. Emory is making this application on its own with no attempt to include surrounding residential or commercial areas. No DeKalb County schools are located on Emory property. It is believed that the proposed Clifton corridor light rail transit line from Marta’s Lindbergh station through Emory / CDC (and possibly beyond to Avondale) is one of the key drivers behind Emory’s desire to be part of the City of Atlanta rather than unincorporated DeKalb. (Emory is, of course, not going anywhere…the campus will still be in DeKalb County even if it is also in the city limits of Atlanta.)
Gina Henshen, LVPCA Zoning Coordinator, and I attended a meeting last night hosted by our DeKalb County Council Representative Jeff Rader. Invites were leaders from the various neighborhoods surrounding Emory. Jeff stated the facts as he knew them, expressed his concerns, and invited feedback from the neighborhoods represented. State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, State Senator Elena Parent, and DCS Board Member Marshall Orsen also attended and shared their views.
I had personally hoped that all the efforts to municipalize or annex various parts of DeKalb County would have died down for at least a few years after the defeat of the LaVista Hills referendum last November. But that is not to be the case. Of course nothing has to be done immediately. Neither LaVista Park, nor any other neighborhood in west central DeKalb has to make any quick decisions because Emory is making this move. We should be able to take our time, see what other closer-to-Emory-than-us neighborhoods choose to do, see what schools are impacted and how, see what the Georgia legislature does with this unique situation, and then make a move IF it seems prudent. Our location, being next to Atlanta and Brookhaven gives us more options than most should we decide one day to annex into a municipality.
Click here for an article on this subject in today’s AJC.
We will likely find some way to formally survey the members of the LVPCA for their opinions on this matter. However, please feel free to comment below as you like. Further updates will come as they are made available to us.
Steve Richards, LVPCA