Jul 29, 2014

Lakeside Alliance Files Cityhood Bill

The placeholder bill, submitted Monday by Dunwoody state Sen. Fran Millar, excises a large portion of Tucker from the Lakeside City Alliance's previous map.

Lakeside Alliance Files Cityhood Bill

The Lakeside City Alliance finally had its own placeholder cityhood bill submitted to the state legislature Monday, but it arrives with one significant change – it's got less Tucker in it.

The alliance announced the bill's filing at a contentious cityhood meeting hosted by DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer at Tucker Middle School on Monday evening. Dunwoody state Sen. Fran Millar filed the bill hours after Decatur state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver filed another placeholder cityhood bill dedicated to residents of the Druid Hills and Briarcliff areas.

But the Lakeside City Alliance's new map excises much of Tucker from the proposal, including the Main Street Tucker area that was previously part of it. The alliance's last map included a huge chunk of western Tucker all the way south to Lawrenceville Highway. But the map still includes the Embry Hills area and areas around Pleasantdale, Evansdale and Livsey elementary schools – all part of the Lakeside High School attendance zone.

The bill was changed only under pressure from Boyer and Honey Van De Kreke, a founder of the Main Street Tucker Alliance, who asked that the area be struck from the alliance's map several weeks ago, said Mary Kay Woodworth, the alliance's chairman. Millar also told the alliance he wouldn't file the bill unless the map was changed, Woodworth said.

Boyer said she's still concerned about the remaining chunk of Tucker in the map. If the issue comes to a vote, she said, and that area votes against it, it still may not have the power to escape Lakeside cityhood if it's generally favored by voters west of I-285.

"It's a little awkward having a slice of Tucker like that," she said.

Many Tucker residents vehemently opposed the Lakeside cityhood proposal at the meeting, and Woodworth said she doesn't expect that to change. "Based on tonight, there will be strong push back," she said.

Neither bill could be considered by the General Assembly until next year. Until then, the alliance and groups such as The North Druid Hills Study Group can continue to debate the merits of cityhood to see if they want to move forward with a cityhood vote. The Lakeside City Alliance's map can also continue to be changed and edited up until the point it's considered by the legislature or withdrawn.

The new Lakeside City Alliance map includes about 63,000 residents, according to a statement the alliance released Monday night. The map includes a proposed governance structure for the city including council districts and a mayor.

“This is great news that Senator Millar believes that our community has the potential to become a city,” Woodworth said in the statement. “We now look forward to the results of the study to determine if a city can actually be viable.”

The alliance has already raised about $7,000 for the study by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. It is state-mandated for any group considering incorporation and costs about $30,000.

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