The City of Briarcliff Initiative Changes Its Map
With the General Assembly deep into its 2014 session, the City of Briarcliff Initiative (COBI) took a hard look at its options and opted to redraw its map. Perhaps in response to pressure from its legislative sponsor, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D) House District 82 (who also lives in Decatur), COBI chose to defer to the existing cities of Decatur, Avondale Estates and Clarkston and their supposed annexation plans, and redrew its southern border to totally avoid conflicting with those proposed areas.
Let's hope we no longer have to hear their tiresome refrain of 'Logical Borders.'
We should also question why COBI didn't also pull back its eastern border so as to avoid conflict with the proposed City of Tucker in the Northlake area. As that area has been a subject of contention for all these several months, where neither side demonstrated any true desire to compromise, this would have been a particularly positive gesture to its kin in Tucker.
In moving their proposed southern border to the north, COBI also removed considerable commercial and industrial properties from their map, which could seriously impact the expected financial situation, as studied in the Carl Vinson Institute feasibility study.
As posted in the blog, both Decatur and Clarkston have studied annexation options in various areas surrounding their respective cities. Decatur's interest in growth goes back several years, and has typically targeted commercial areas immediately adjacent to the City's existing borders. They have also avoided any large scale annexation of adjacent residential areas, specifically due to the potential negative impact on the City's school system. Annexation efforts pursued by Decatur in 2007 and 2012 were unsuccessful, largely due to resistance from the targeted areas, internal differences within Decatur itself and/or the failure to realize legislative sponsorship. Annexation has been a low and failing priority in Decatur in the past decade, so its difficult to believe that the situation has improved markedly just because of Briarcliff.
A new map, after the break.
The new City of Briarcliff - with Decatur and Clarkston Proposed Annexation.
The Clarkston situation is even harder to understand. Clarkston has shown little or no interest in annexing any area whatsoever in the past few years, and there is no reason to believe that their current interest is nothing more than a defensive gesture in reaction to the proposed new cities of Briarcliff and Tucker. The Clarkston areas also target mainly commercial and industrial properties, although this does include several apartment complexes and a significant residential population. But more importantly, the Clarkston areas of interest are mainly south and east of the City. Clarkston's proposals have specifically targeted 5 separate districts, in two Phases. Phase I only addresses a small area largely surrounded by Clarkston, and is an area not included in either Tucker or Briarcliff. Phase II has been separated into 4 distinct areas. One area overlaps the Tucker map, and is mainly apartment complexes and low value shopping centers. Odds are high that Tucker will concede these areas to Clarkston, if their interest proves to be real. A separate area overlaps the Briarcliff map, and is an area of light industrial businesses and warehouses with no residential population. On the opposite side of I-285 from the existing City, it would not seem to be an area demanding to be included within Clarkston.
So even though Clarkston has only studied these 5 small areas, they have also included in their Phase II map extensive residential neighborhoods that were not studied at all. They apparently drew a large circle around Clarkston and then identified limited areas within that circle to target for annexation. The residential areas west of I-285 and north of US 78 will never voluntarily choose to be annexed into Clarkston. This map was just some sort of map drawing wet dream. But, amazingly enough, Briarcliff is taking this map seriously and, for whatever reason, is deferring to it. A pretend map. Drawn by Clarkston. That will never happen.
COBI - you need to get real and reevaluate your priorities. The McClendon Drive and Scotdale neighborhoods should remain in your map. The commercial areas north of Decatur should remain in your map. Decatur, Avondale Estates and Clarkston have had every opportunity to take in those areas, and they have unwilling and unable to do so. What a huge mistake.