Rep. Elena Parent

The debate over whether to start a city of Brookhaven retains the power to draw a crowd.

More than 150 residents turned out at Oglethorpe University on June 29 for the third community meeting offering public discussion about whether neighborhoods in north DeKalb County should start a new city, join Chamblee or Dunwoody, or stay as they are in unincorporated DeKalb County.

The meeting was called by Rep. Elena Parent, who represents a portion of the area being studied for a possible new city, and featured presentations by representatives of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association.

The first two community meetings were called by Rep. Mike Jacobs, who represents a different part of the area and who, along with Rep. Tom Taylor of Dunwoody, introduced legislation during the recent session of the General Assembly allowing creation of a new city in the area. A nonprofit group called Citizens for North DeKalb now is raising money to study the feasibility of a new city in the area.

Much of the crowd at the June 29 meeting seemed to side against the new city. Members of the  crowd applauded speakers who questioned the need to create a new city or join an existing one.

“I’m getting older and stingier,” said resident Eddie Ehlert. “Without the feasibility study showing a dramatic improvement [by creating a new city], right now I’d have to say no.”

But Sen. Fran Millar of Dunwoody, one of a number of local officials at the meeting, said the purpose of the proposed legislation was to explore the idea.

“There’s no plot here. There’s no conspiracy,” Millar said. “It’s something to look at. There’s a whole bunch of options out there.”

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.