Who Has the Rights to Northlake? (The REAL City Question)

REMINDER: On June 19, 2013 at 03:11 PM Cheryl Miller posted an original blog post about the possible city of Northlake. But, at the time, there were no takers. Will the state reopen this idea as they look for compromise?

City map, edited from Medlock's version to include Tucker and Northlake notations.  June 2013.  Isn't the real question here "who has the rights to Northlake?" and do they want to form a new city?
City map, edited from Medlock's version to include Tucker and Northlake notations. June 2013. Isn't the real question here "who has the rights to Northlake?" and do they want to form a new city?

The recent indictments against DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis have undoubtedly re-ignited the slowly cooling embers of the cityhood fires.  The Lakeside City Alliance has been awaiting the final tally of its fundraising efforts to claim victory in the race to raise $30K for a feasibility study.   Briarcliff is not far behind them, recently announcing they have hit the $16K mark for a study of the same area, given a few extra inches on a map in one direction and sparing an inch in the other.  Tucker is taking on the role of the Tortoise in this race, believing in the fable where slow and steady wins the race.  

Upon borrowing a map that was put out by the Medlock neighborhood in support of the Briarcliff group, I added a rough rendering of the boundaries suggested by the Tucker Together group.  I am not intending to infringe on anyone's copyrights here so I'm hoping that the nice folks from Medlock will not mind.

For starters, take a look at the one thing that all three of the city proposals have in common.  It's highlighted in yellow.  The Northlake Shopping District, mainly the Northlake Mall and nearby Northlake Festival area, is in the center of the page and will likely prove to be a central necessity to the viability of any city in this area.  Why is this revelation so significant?  Well, I'll tell you ... because whoever gets to claim the Northlake area as their own will get to be a city.  All other proposals will most likely fail as they will not have the commercial base to support them.

So, as our legislators try to sort all of these proposals out next year, perhaps it will be a much easier task for them than I originally expected.  All they have to do is determine which of these proposals represents the citizens with the greatest claim to the Northlake area.  After all, it is the spending of consumers at these stores that has elevated the commercial land value to the point where any city would be viable in the first place.  Whoever spends their money in this area should be the ones allowed to benefit from the money generated from the sales in that area.

Let me be very clear that I have no Earthly idea which of the cities would win in a contest like I'm suggesting.  I suspect it could be Tucker, but I honestly do not know.  But, I think it sounds fair that the people who spend their money in an area should be able to determine whether or not they want a city to be based on the commercial tax base they have largely been responsible for creating.  

Perhaps Simon Properties would be willing to share some of their consumer data with our state delegates or maybe the feasibility study group can write this question into their analysis.  What is important for any of the city groups to understand is that they are basing their cities on the assumption that the current spending in the Northlake area will either stay the same or improve after a city is formed.  

I, for one, am not so sure that is a safe assumption.  the LCA group has created quite a bit of controversy with its approach to city map drawing that initially cut into a large chunk of what has traditionally been known as Tucker.  If Tucker residents are unable to have a voice or a vote in the formation of a city based on a commercial district their spending habits have largely supported, I would be a little concerned that those spending habits could change drastically after the city is formed.  

We are all creatures of habit, but I think Tucker residents are smarter than what they are given credit for.  Leave them out but choose to include the stores they frequent?  They might just change their shopping habits and choose to support the locally owned shops in their own area near Main Street Tucker before opting to spend their money inside a city that deemed them to be "unworthy."  

And, what if it turns out that the areas in question all spend their money equally at Northlake?  Would a giant city encompassing the entire area be a possibility?  Would it make sense for a large, sprawling city to be formed from the beginning, combining these many varieties of suburbs into their own supercluster?  If so, what would happen to the rest of DeKalb?  How would our schools be impacted?  

Or, should the idea of a city of Northlake be given new consideration?  A small city center and already established suburbs around it might be an idea worth considering, if one was truly interested in the various possibilities for success here.  

I don't know about you, but none of these conversations have left me with a closer feeling of community.  Instead, I've felt more of a division occurring with all this city talk.  It used to be "us" (the people) and now we have conversations about what "they" are trying to do or what "we" should do in return.  But, "they" is an undefined group of people who probably feel exactly like the rest of us do:  Confused, frustrated and a bit worn down by all these political games.  And, all of this talk comes at a time when we really need our legislators to focus on things that might actually benefit us, not just ideas that will only create more jobs for them.

If we cannot agree on these issues now, does anyone have confidence that a city council made up of members of our areas would be any more productive than, say, our county school board when we were able to elect our own representatives?  Does anyone really want to repeat that mistake?  The divisions on the school board rendered it basically ineffective to the point that the governor had to replace the elected members with ones who were appointed.  Are we confident that the mistakes that led to this problem of competing interests would not resurface all over again or even become worse when dealing with all the issues that a city must consider?

Take a look at the map and let me know what you think.  And, feel free to join the discussion group we have established on Facebook for more details:  http://www.facebook.com/SaveTuckerFromLakesideCity

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Longerthanu March 09, 2014 at 03:33 PM
No, the Census Bureau reports are not linked to zip codes. The bureau has its own maps. It uses its CDP designation to compile Tucker data. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/1377652.html
Joe Maifeld March 09, 2014 at 04:50 PM
@ Gagal, who were your uncles? My God Parents also sold their home/land were the mall stands to the developers, as a child, we would go visit to play in the barn and ride horses, mom would always say the we were going to Tucker to visit them!
Joe Maifeld March 09, 2014 at 04:51 PM
....and did anyone know the LaVista Rd. used to be called Emory-Tucker Rd.?
Donald Hipps March 11, 2014 at 07:23 AM
My address is Tucker; but I prefer remaining in unincorporated Dekalb County. I don't want to pay city taxes!!!
wle atlanta II March 11, 2014 at 09:11 AM
i lived in chamblee, total taxes were lower than dekalb. they take out some county taxes - the city may charge less for the same thing.


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