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Chamblee, Embry Hills revive annexation proposal for Embry Hills, Mercer University area

Annexation and new cities Chamblee DeKalb County Trending

Chamblee, Embry Hills revive annexation proposal for Embry Hills, Mercer University area

Chamblee city Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated. 

Chamblee, GA — Mayor Brian Mock and the Embry Hills Civic Association will host two town hall listening sessions this month with residents of the Embry Hills area to discuss a revived annexation proposal to bring these areas into the city of Chamblee.

Here is the meeting schedule:

– Monday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Chamblee Tucker Christian Fellowship, located at 3147 Chamblee Tucker Road.

– Monday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at Chamblee City Hall, located at 3518 Broad Street.

“While all area citizens are welcome at both, the first session will be geared towards those seeking annexation into the city, while the second will be more informational towards existing Chamblee citizens,” a press release from the city says.

The Embry Hills Civic Association sent an announcement to residents that says that many residents in the impacted area have expressed support for an alternate annexation method after a previous attempt failed.

During a special called meeting on Oct. 31, the Chamblee City Council accepted an annexation petition from Mercer University’s Atlanta campus and surrounding office park, as well as the Embry Hills neighborhood and Belaire Circle. The application was seeking annexation through the state’s 60% method, where a petition has to be signed by 60% of the voters and 60% of property owners by acreage in the proposed area seeking to be added to an existing city. The city of Chamblee later announced on Dec. 11, 2023, that the petition had been withdrawn after “technical deficiencies” came to light.

Now, it seems the city of Chamblee is preparing to ask for an annexation through a legislative referendum. A representative of the Embry Hills Civic Association said that the request for a legislative annexation isn’t being advocated by the association, but is supported by residents affected by the potential annexation. The announcement from the civic association says the town hall on Monday will be an opportunity for the community to meet with city leaders and state representatives to discuss annexation via a legislative referendum.

State Sen. Sally Harrell, State Reps, Scott Holcomb and Long Tran, and Chamblee Mayor Brian Mock will be at the town hall to discuss the topic and answer questions.

If the initial petition had been approved, it would have added about 3,500 residents to the city and increased the total population to over 33,500 people, according to a press release. The city will send its annexation requests to DeKalb County and outline its plan to provide services to the proposed annexation area.

The December withdrawal of the annexation petition followed an investigative report by Decaturish contributor Sara Amis that revealed that the petition may turn out to have similar problems as the ill-fated Brookhaven annexation effort earlier this year.

Brookhaven’s annexation effort was plagued with questions about the validity of the affidavits presented as part of the petition, and the petition was ultimately withdrawn following investigative reporting by Amis published in Decaturish. Four affidavits submitted as part of the Chamblee annexation petition appear to have been altered, our investigation found.

DeKalb County officials also raised concerns about the Brookhaven annexation effort and refused to place an annexation referendum on the ballot in November last year. County commissioners asked the DeKalb Legislative Delegation to consider revising the 60% annexation method to create a minimum time restriction for annexation petitions.

The county commissioners suggested that the time restriction put some parameters around when additional annexation applications can be requested after failing in a previous attempt. Commissioners also asked the legislators to look into the process of hiring a consultant to manage annexation efforts.

“As several folks know, back in 2023 we had two failed annexations, one with the city of Brookhaven, one with the city of Chamblee. A great deal of resources went into those annexation campaigns,” DeKalb Commissioner Michelle Long Spears said during the Jan. 29 legislative delegation meeting.

Brookhaven and Chamblee hired the same political consulting firm, Rosetta Stone Communications, to help with gathering signatures for annexation petitions.

“Our ask for [the delegation]…is to look into the approach that they used in hiring an outside firm to lead an annexation effort,” Spears said. “The dollars are spent outside the boundaries of the city. In total, between Chamblee and Brookhaven, we believe about half a million dollars was spent in the hiring of this firm.”

Here is the full message from the Embry Hills Civic Association about the upcoming meetings:

Dear Neighbors,

Given the feedback following the recent effort to satisfy annexation under the 60% method, many residents residing in the impacted footprint have expressed support for an alternate method.

Embry Hills Civic Association has been asked to host a community engagement event where residents will have the opportunity to interact with Chamblee City leadership and State Representatives to discuss annexation to the City of Chamblee via a legislative referendum (ballot) in the coming months. During this event our district state representatives Salley Harrell (State Senate), Scott Holcomb (House of Representatives), Long Tran (House of Representatives) and Mayor Brian Mock (City of Chamblee) will be on hand to have an open discussion about this option and take your questions.

Please join us Monday, February 12, 6:30 pm at the Chamblee Tucker Christian Fellowship, 3147 Chamblee Tucker Rd, at the intersection of Alton and Chamblee Tucker Rd.

The community’s participation at this meeting is essential.

Editor and Publisher Dan Whisenhunt and Writer Sara Amis contributed to this story.

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