Atlanta's annexation of Emory moves forward

It was another step forward Thursday night in the annexation move of Emory University into the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta Zoning Review Board took public comment on the plan.

"We have a group of neighbors who made an effort to come to support our concerns," said Cynthia Tauxe as she pointed to numerous opponents in the crowd.

She and others are against the proposed annexation of Emory University, the headquarters for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and other institutions and businesses by the city of Atlanta.

Some residents are concerned the annexation could destroy what they love most of their Neighborhood.

"We would like to be sure that our historic district guidelines are followed there's no assurance of that," said Tauxe.

The night's meeting was a path to clear up zoning issues. In essence, the board was considering numerous zoning adaptions that seemed to mirror zoning already in place.

It's one of the steps needed for Atlanta to annex the diverse institutions and businesses enveloped by the 744 acres involved.

Some concerns raised at the meeting and previously include more traffic congestion, increased risk for sewage spills, a potential impact on public schools and concerns over green space and waterways.

"We don't really need more houses. I mean Atlanta is pretty bereft of green space as we already know. And you'd like to preserve what's there? I'd like to preserve what's there," said opponent Joni Winston.

A repeated concern of opponents was a lack of face to face talks from Emory and others involved.

Proponents for Emory, the CDC, and others maintain numerous meetings have already occurred and that it's time to move forward.

"Our decision to annex is one we do not take lightly, we view it as a hundred year decision," said David Payne who spoke in favor of the annexation.

DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader advised the board of a legal move the county has taken.

"DeKalb County has filed a formal objection to the annexation of the Emory Parcels and will be participating in arbitration with the city of Atlanta," said Rader.

The Commissioner asked the Zoning Board to defer any decision until arbitration between DeKalb County and the city is complete. But after a short discussion, the board unanimously approved the Emory annexation proposal.

The annexation proposal goes to a committee before heading to the City Council. It has been scheduled to appear before the council in early September.