Hundreds of DeKalb residents packed Briarcliff United Methodist Church on Aug. 24 to hear advocates state the case for a new city to be called LaVista Hills.
During the two-plus-hour meeting held by the LaVista Hills Alliance, proponents criticized DeKalb County’s government as corrupt or distant and regularly pointed to the neighboring cities of Brookhaven and Dunwoody as examples of what small governments could accomplish.
They argued a city would have a government closer and more responsive to residents than the county government and could provide better police protection, road maintenance and zoning.
LaVista Alliance member Ben Shackleford also told the more than 350 resid
ents at the meeting that starting a city would give the central DeKalb area its own identity.
“We stand a good chance of falling behind or falling further behind,” he said. “Mercedes Benz is in Sandy Springs. I don’t think they even considered this area. Building an identity is important. Buckhead has one. … Decatur has one. Why shouldn’t we?”
Opponents to the proposed city passed out flyers outside the meeting that argued that residents should “fix DeKalb first.”
“We are strongest together and do not need another layer of government,” the flyer from DeKalb Strong said. It labeled as “untrue” the claims by proponents of the new city that it would improve police protection, provide better services and create an identity.
Residents of the area go to the polls Nov. 3 to vote on whether to create the new city.
Oak Grove resident Ben Overcash said sentiment in his neighborhood appeared fairly evenly divided on the proposal. “It’s mixed,” he said.
But he said he found the presentations during the meeting had swayed him to more strongly endorse cityhood.
“I came [to the meeting] neutral to slightly favorable. I think I’m more convinced after tonight,” Overcash said.