Renewed push for new city within DeKalb County

Local lawmakers and community members are pushing for a new city within DeKalb County

The City of North Decatur movement is an expanded version of the previously proposed City of Vista Grove that was introduced several years ago. 

"This initiative is more of a legislative initiative. We're here to help, volunteer and to support their efforts." said John Ayoub, a local attorney and the head of the cityhood movement. 

The city would have a population of about 82,000 people. The boundary for the proposed city goes from Embry Hills in North Atlanta to Avondale Estates in the South. I-85 is the western boundary and I-285 is the eastern boundary. 

"For many years there were people in these neighborhoods who kind of felt left behind by other cityhood movements that had actually been successful. Brookhaven exists now, Dunwoody, Tucker came into existence," Ayoub said. 

State Senator Sally Harrell lives within the proposed boundaries and has worked with community members for years on the cityhood movement. 

Once this legislative session is over, said she'll meet with members of each neighborhood to get their thoughts on the proposal. 

The goal is to have a bill introduced in the next legislative session. 

"There are several things that cityhood would help our enclave accomplish that were not being accomplished just being in unincorporated DeKalb County." Ayoub said. "Also at the same time, we can benefit DeKalb County. 

Ayoub and Harrell said becoming a city would mean having a seat at the table when there are regional discussions. 

The city would take over things like planning and zoning, roads, as well as parks and recreation. However, it would continue to use the DeKalb County Police Department. 

They also added, neighboring cities continue to annex unincorporated areas, so communities could become a part of a city regardless. 

"We really hope that this time, there is enough momentum. So many cities are here already and we just want to fill in the gap, really," Ayoub said. 

Both Ayoub and Harrell understand not everyone is onboard with cityhood. 

They said there will be town halls and meetings to make sure people can voice their concerns.