Mike Jacobs
Mike Jacobs

A DeKalb lawmaker is proposing legislation he says will give some north DeKalb residents the chance to be annexed into Dunwoody or Chamblee.

Rep. Mike Jacobs, who lives in the area, said residents of the Murphey Candler and Silver Lake communities have told him they would like to be annexed into a neighboring city, so he proposed a bill allowing residents of an “unincorporated peninsula” between cities to seek annexation.

“I realize some people are adamantly opposed, but based on the feedback I’m getting, I don’t believe they represent the vast majority of people in this area,” Jacobs said. “Most people in this area are willing to consider some sort of municipal option.”

Indeed, some residents of the area say they see little support for annexation among their neighborhoods.

“The people in this area don’t see any advantage to this,” said Sandy Murray, vice president of the Ashford Alliance, an umbrella organization that represents about two dozen homeowners groups. “What we see is places like Dunwoody just want our parks and our lakes.”

Members of the alliance board have started a letter-writing campaign to state lawmakers asking that Jacobs’ bill be held up until they can poll their members to see what they want, Murray said.

Jacobs’ proposal defines “unincorporated peninsula” as an area smaller than 15 square miles that shares ¾ of its boundaries with cities. The legislation says that within five years of the creation of a new city that creates such a peninsula, residents of the unincorporated area may seek to be annexed.

“The key that is important to remember is that with respect to annexation, it takes two to tango,” Jacobs said. “You have to have a city willing to annex and a community [wanting annexation]. There’s not a scenario where an annexation would occur against anyone’s will.”

Some residents say the proposal needs more time to gel.

“The area he’s talking about is bigger than the cities of Chamblee and Doraville combined,” said Jim Eyre, vice president of the Ashford Park Civic Association. “I think his intentions are probably good, but I think he still has some fine-tuning to do.”

Tom Taylor

Jacobs rewrote his proposal after his initial version, introduced by him and Rep. Tom Taylor of Dunwoody, drew significant opposition from some members of the community. The initial draft would have allowed the city of Dunwoody to annex areas within four miles of its boundary.

Taylor said the proposal was intended as a “place holder” that could be replaced by subsequent drafts. Jacobs, Taylor said, “wanted a vehicle in place” should discussions reach the point that legislation was needed to allow annexations into Dunwoody or Chamblee. “It’s like putting batteries away before the hurricane,” Taylor said.

Jacobs said his new proposal would apply whenever a new city is created. “When you create a new city and it creates an area surrounded by cities, those folks will get a five-year right to decide, ‘Do we want to remain unincorporated or do we want to be annexed?’” he said.

Jacobs says his intention is give residents in his communities a choice.

“Dorothy and Toto can’t travel down the Yellow Brick Road if there’s no Yellow Brick Road,” Jacobs said.

View DeKalb annexations in a larger map

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.