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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Play It Again, Sam

The City of Decatur Proposed Annexations - 2007-8, 2012 & 2014

Once again, the City of Decatur is looking at annexing various areas surrounding the city. But this time, their interest in annexation is compounded by the proposed City of Briarcliff, which had proposed its city limits to include all of unincorporated DeKalb County north and east of the Cities of Decatur and Avondale Esates.

The City of Decatur, first established in 1822, has a long history of annexation, growing from the original 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile square centered on the main square. Decatur didn't take on the prototypical circular form for its city limits until 1900. Decatur continued to grow in at least 4 documented additional stages until 1937. There were additional annexations after that year, but are mysteriously undocumented by the City.

In recent years Decatur has studied annexations on several occasions. first in 2007-08, and later in 2012. Decatur studied several annexation options in 2012, with two possible schemes illustrated in the two attached maps, Versions 1 & 4.  The proposal failed to move forward as the City was unable to secure a legislative sponsor in the General Assembly. Another issue that will always complicate any proposed Decatur annexation is the potential impact on City of Decatur schools. As Decatur has a wholly independent school system, a large scale annexation of residential neighborhoods will heavily impact the finances and operations of the school system. On one hand, the city must find additional capacity for new students coming from the annexed residential areas, while at the same time any targeted residential area may vote against annexation to avoid the increase in property taxes.

Decatur annexation, 2007-8

In 2013, the City of Briarcliff Initiative proposed the new City of Briarcliff which established its city borders immediately adjacent to the northern borders of Decatur and Avondale Estates. In response, a memo was issued by the Decatur City Manager to the City Council advising that Decatur needed to reconsider its annexation options in 2014 before it is too late, because if they do nothing, the city's northern borders will be permanently set.  A new map was issued in January 2014 identifying all areas surrounding Decatur which should be targeted for annexation.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of the current large annexation in the map above. It adds quite a bit of commercial property and gives Decatur control over the Lawrenceville Hwy/Scott Blvd redevelopment. It also makes sense for Decatur and Avondale Estates to eliminate the gap between them