All cityhood movements alive at Georgia General Assembly

WEB012515 ajc cityhoodAll proposed new cities in metro Atlanta will be given an opportunity by the Georgia General Assembly to become a reality, but some communities will have a better chance of incorporation than others.

The proposed cities of Tucker, LaVista Hills and South Fulton appeared to be furthest along in the process following the first meeting of the House Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday, making them front-runners in the race for greater local control of their government. Cityhood efforts for Stonecrest, Sharon Springs and Greenhaven (formerly known as South DeKalb) will also get a look by state lawmakers once their legislation is introduced.

“Maybe we’ll pass them all; maybe the train will crash and none will get through,” said Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, the committee’s vice chairman.

If the General Assembly approves the proposals, residents in those areas would then vote on whether to approve forming cities. Brockway said he wants to give voters that opportunity.

“I’m optimistic,” said Michelle Penkava of Tucker 2015. “The processes are still in place to allow us to move forward.”

The House Governmental Affairs Committee passed rules requiring a complete description of borders in cityhood legislation, the completion of a feasibility study before the beginning of next year’s legislative session and boundaries that don’t overlap with other cities. The rules said cities with conflicting borders can proceed as long as those lines weren’t drawn solely to block the consideration of another proposal.

Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Albany, said he wants to adhere to the rules but there may be exceptions made on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s fair to say we’ll consider any bills that are referred to the committee,” said Rynders, the committee’s chairman. “We want to be flexible.”

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