Sen. Elena Parent, Sen. Sally Harrell and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver introduce Vista Grove bill
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This story has been updated.
DeKalb County, GA – State legislators announced on March 12 the introduction of a cityhood bill to incorporate a new city of Vista Grove.
The sponsors are Sen. Elena Parent (D – Atlanta), Sen. Sally Harrell (D – Atlanta) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D – Decatur). The bill is Senate Bill 507.
The three legislators issued a joint statement about their decision, saying it was spurred in part by annexations of unincorporated territory into the new cities of Brookhaven and Tucker.
“As the unincorporated area is now surrounded by existing cities, some pieces of it have been impacted by multiple annexations around its borders,” the statement says. “This leaves those living in the unincorporated area at a disadvantage when it comes to choosing a path forward. In addition, as the area is impacted by regional developments such as the GDOT top-end managed toll-lane project, the surrounding city leaders have a voice at the table that the unincorporated area lacks.”
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Previous maps showed Vista Grove would be bordered by I-85 on the northwest side, I-285 on the eastern side and would have a population of around 60,000 people. Vista Grove supporters said in a Facebook post the new map will be different from previous versions.
“The city borders of SB 507 are different from the original borders proposed by VGI,” the message said. “Our legislators, both Senate and House leaders, have deliberated exhaustively for some time to devise a map as closely resembling the VGI proposal as possible, while also considering input they have received from constituents, our neighbors and civic leaders. Recognizing that no border will satisfy all, they took the information available to them, collaborated on borders, and presented VGI with a revised map. That map will be circulated once the bill is uploaded to the legislative site.”
Vista Grove supporters thanked the legislators for moving their bill forward.
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Here is the full statement from Sen. Elena Parent (D – Atlanta), Sen. Sally Harrell (D – Atlanta) and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D – Decatur).
“Legislators in DeKalb county whose districts include parts of the remaining portions of northern unincorporated DeKalb county have been carefully considering various municipalization proposals. We recognize that there are many perspectives on this issue, from those who want to remain unincorporated, to those who support the creation of a new city, to those who would like to be annexed into a neighboring existing city.
While recognizing both the pros and cons of municipalization, we also recognize certain developments making it necessary to move forward with serious discussions about how to represent the residents of the unincorporated area in north DeKalb county.
As the unincorporated area is now surrounded by existing cities, some pieces of it have been impacted by multiple annexations around its borders. This leaves those living in the unincorporated area at a disadvantage when it comes to choosing a path forward. In addition, as the area is impacted by regional developments such as the GDOT top-end managed toll-lane project, the surrounding city leaders have a voice at the table that the unincorporated area lacks.
For these reasons, and in recognition of the growing interest in our districts for municipalization, we have filed a cityhood bill in order to generate active discussion and input. In addition, we intend to move forward in a way that takes into consideration the impact municipalization has on the remainder of the county.
The map included with the bill does not initially include certain areas on the north and south ends of the footprint where residents have expressed interest in being annexed into existing cities. We would like citizens in these areas to have more time to consider their options and choose the approach that best suits the unique characteristics of each neighborhood.
We think it is very important for north and central DeKalb communities to engage in active conversations, and we want to hear from you. It is simply not clear that our area will remain unincorporated over the next few years so we feel it is time to be proactive in developing a plan for representation.”
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