Jul 26, 2014

Updated: Why Briarcliff/COBI has swayed me

While it's too early to know if any cityhood effort will be a good solution for our communities before the individual studies, numbers and vision plans are laid out -- on the outset, COBI/Briarcliff appears to be a more viable choice for my N. Decatur community. I'm basing my opinion on these thoughts:

1. Briarcliff and Tucker initiatives will be able to co-exist peacefully and cooperatively, respecting each area's history and sense of place.

2. The Briarcliff map is based on the idea of encompassing all unincorporated areas--simple, real boundaries that we already identify with.  LCA's map excludes Emory, Medlock and North Druid Hills, an area that is an integral part of our community by profession and affinity.  (That said, I do believe that if COBI were to incorporate the adjacent areas of Midvale and Evansdale, who are traditional Northlake communities and have indicated their desire to be part of an intown city, it would be a winning solution for all.)

3. University areas are proven stability factors for a community. Keeping Emory and CDC as an integral part of the plan provides a safety net  for our property values.

4. LCA by design has drawn itself to be a relatively homogenous, suburban city. Its very name reveals that its focus is the Lakeside high school community. And while there's nothing wrong with that--I am concerned that this conscious suburban spin belies an old school suburban vision, not the New Urbanism that prioritizes the trend to build a better walkable/bike able/green/connected community. That is the future we should all be working toward, as ATL and Decatur are. If LCA was suddenly in charge of my intown area's zoning, I am not currently optimistic they would work actively toward this essential vision. Without it, our desirability as a neighborhood will decrease as buyers look to more forward-thinking areas.

5. Briarcliff study was 98% funded by citizens and neighborhood groups, unlike LCA. Thus, its borders, being more definitive of our actual community, should be far more successful when it comes down to a vote.

6. One can not rule out the possibility that there could be some Gerrymandering at play with LCA, who were funded more by lobbyists and lawyers than the communities, and limits itself to a traditionally Republican demographic. (Sen. Millar, sponsor of LCA, has stated only Republican-led effort will pass. Is this connected?)

I would like to add that despite my personal preference for the Briarcliff map, I do not wish to cast any aspersions whatsover, nor question the integrity in any way, of the LCA leadership.

(Though please...reconsider the name Lavista Hills or Oak Grove. Briarcliff is not an established area, but Oak Grove is. Plus, it is the geographic center of the Briarcliff map, and has an existing neighborhood center village that defines our community.)

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