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Parkwood neighborhood wants to join Decatur

Annexation, new cities Decatur

Parkwood neighborhood wants to join Decatur

A map showing the boundary lines of the Parkwood Neighborhood. Source: http://parkwoodgardenclub.com/
A map showing the boundary lines of the Parkwood Neighborhood. Source: http://parkwoodgardenclub.com/

A map showing the boundary lines of the Parkwood Neighborhood. Source: http://parkwoodgardenclub.com/

A group of Parkwood neighborhood residents wants the city of Decatur to annex their homes.

Andy Vocaire, spokesman for the Parkwood Neighborhood, said homeowners filed a petition with the city last week.

The city posted a copy of the petition on its website. To read it, click here.

City Commissioners will consider accepting the petition at their  Monday meeting. If the annexation effort is successful, it could add 76 homes to the city of Decatur. Vocaire said the neighborhood consists of 114 homes, some of which already are in the city limits. Another 17 have split boundaries between the city and unincorporated DeKalb County. There are 59 homes that are totally outside of the Decatur city lines.

Vocaire said plans to create a new city of Briarcliff prompted residents to start the petition drive.

“When they drew the map for Briarcliff, the unincorporated portion of our neighborhood was included in that map,” he said. “We started looking at options for the neighborhood. We decided if anything is going to happen to the neighborhood, we want to take control of our own destiny. Because we’ve always had such a close connection with Decatur, most of the community felt a kinship with the city.”

Petitioners applied for annexation using a process known as the “60 percent method.” The annexation law requires petitioners to get the signatures representing 60 percent of land owners and registered voters, Vocaire said.

City Manager Peggy Merriss said if the city accepts the petition there will be a cost analysis to determine how much it will cost the city to provide services to the new residents.

“The City Commission’s usual practice is to accept a petition so that a date certain can be established as required by various parts of the annexation procedures,” Merriss said via email. “However, there is no legal requirement that the City Commission has to accept a petition. Ultimately the City Commission would consider an annexation ordinance which they can decide to approve or not approve.”

The annexation would also bring more students into City Schools of Decatur. Vocaire said the annexation would initially add between 8 and 10 students currently zoned for DeKalb County schools.

The neighborhood includes a 3.2 acre park and has no official homeowners association. The neighborhood plat was first laid out in the 1920s, according to the annexation petition. The homes were developed between 1948 and 1960. There is a Parkwood Garden Club, which was founded in 1952 and includes many of the homeowners as members, but the club declined to take a position on the annexation efforts.

Garden Club President Frances Finegan said the club traditionally has been focused on organizing social events for the neighborhood. Taking a position on annexation would be inconsistent with the board’s bylaws, she said.

“The people who initiated the petition came to the board and asked if we would vote on the petition. We considered it two times. We voted not to,” she said. “It’s a difficult, difficult situation to be put in because in our neighborhood, we’ve never been asked to do something like this. We plan parties, maintain a sense of community. We knew that some people were not ready to sign (the petition), not ready for annexation.”

The petition organizers think Parkwood would be a boon to the city.

“We believe that the portion of our neighborhood already in Decatur is a valuable asset, and we hope that by annexing the rest of our area, we can also prove to be a beneficial and active addition to the great City of Decatur,” the petition says. “Moreover, with the railroad tracks located just to the west of the Parkwood neighborhood, and a city line splitting through our community, this annexation would provide a formal unification for a group of residents that have maintained an incredibly close bond for more than six decades.”

There’s also another annexation petition on Monday’s agenda concerning homes and properties along Conway Road. If that annexation effort is successful, it could add six homes to the city and property owned by the Waldorf School of Atlanta. To see that petition, click here.