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Lakeside Alliance Should Stay Out of Century Center

A Dresden East Civic Association member said he does not want the major commercial area annexed into a proposed city of Lakeside and calls it a "land grab."

To the Lakeside City Alliance,

Most of us in the proposed area to be annexed by Chamblee understand the frustrations that are driving the Lakeside City Alliance to attempt to study "whether the formation of a new city is both necessary and feasible to provide local control to our community."

However, I am concerned not enough "study" went into delineating the preliminary boundaries of a city of Lakeside beyond arbitrarily following lines enclosing ripe commercial properties on an existing map. Not much thought seems to be given to the areas that make up the communities that are split apart by the intended boundaries of Lakeside. Complaints were made at the Wednesday night meeting on Feb. 13 that the Northlake boundaries split apart traditional neighborhood communities in various areas of the map.

Our community of neighborhoods that are the Dresden East Civic Association/Clairmont Terrace area have a close relationship with the commercial properties in our midst. The principals with Highwoods Properties in Atlanta – which manages most of the buildings in Century Center – are accessible to residents in the area and work with them on neighborhood matters. Slade Brogdon of Highwoods has been meeting this month with neighborhood residents to discuss a large new building project in Century Center. Highwoods holds a picnic and fair at least once a year in Century Center. Many employees of the Highwoods tenants (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FBI, GBI, etc.) live in the DECA/Clairmont Terrace community. Century Center's history is ours. It is an integral component of our neighborhood, and Highwoods treats us as neighbors, and we think of them and their tenants as neighbors. (Disclaimer: I do not speak for DECA.)

Trying to appropriate Sam's and Century Center while lopping off the residential areas that are an organic part of the Century Center neighborhood community smacks of a "land grab" motivated purely by avarice. It does not convey the sense of forming a city that consists of a community of smaller, local communities working together nor of advancing the goal to "provide local control to our community." Attempting to confiscate these commercial properties, which are an essential constituent of our community, exceeds the bounds of reason and conscience.

On Wednesday night, you alluded to communities consisting of similar interests. We have interests tied to Century Center. Many people who work in Century Center live in our neighborhoods. We attend events sponsored by the Century Center property managers that extend over a large part of the campus. Century Center buildings are nearly in some of our backyards, and some of our houses are almost in theirs – close enough to see someone on the other side, maybe recognize them and wave.

The question was asked Wednesday night why residential neighborhoods around Sam's and Century Center were not included on the proposed Lakeside map with those commercial properties. You misspoke when you said the DECA area made it clear when they voted down the Chamblee annexation they did not want annexation or incorporation. The loss was by a mere 34 votes. It was hardly a landslide, and there were alleged irregularities at the polls – not to mention it was on the presidential ballot. People not interested or informed about Chamblee annexation were voting. Many were apartment dwellers with no stake in the outcome of the annexation vote who came only to vote for the president. An unknown number of the voters was swayed by a negative campaign through which a coalition of late night establishments blanketed the area because they wanted to avoid the more stringent ordinances of Chamblee and continue under the very lax enforcement of DeKalb County.

I do not want to be part of a city on the other side of the interstate. That would not be any better than being governed from Decatur as we are now. I do not want to take part in an experiment in cityhood.

I do not want to remain in unincorporated DeKalb County. I want to live in Chamblee. I admire how the city of Chamblee works, how it is governed, the concern its leaders have for its residents. Chamblee leaders have a vision for not just development but better development. The planning department is being reorganized for more effectiveness. Stormwater ordinances are being rewritten. Information about the proposed University Triangle CID is being disseminated to city residents. We must be annexed by Chamblee intact with Sam's and Century Center as well as with the other businesses in the I-85/Clairmont triangle. They are part of our community, and we have lost patience with attempted land grabs at them taking place in our community.

What do people on the other side of the interstate know about Century Center? Just that it could be a cash cow for them. Well, it is not tied to them in any way. There are no "similar interests." It is part of our community and history. Leave it and us alone in peace.

Pat Thomas
Dresden East Civic Association member

Tom Doolittle February 26, 2013 at 08:48 PM
There's a reason Aliance said the map was in play. I believe the new working map has honored DECA's request. This is probably smart polically due to the partnership working between North Briarcliff on the East side (lots of 'lots"). Pissing off on DECA means pissing on the partners likely. I'm sure North Briar will bring the results of its city-making conference to the attention of Alliance--hopefully between them, they'll establish some rules of engagement.
Enuff Govt Already February 26, 2013 at 09:01 PM
DECA voted NOT to join Chamblee.
Amy Parker April 22, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Again the LCA has managed to piss people off. They seem incapable of learning from their initial start that they need to include the entire unincorporated area of DeKalb County north of the logical division of Highway 78. LCA "does not identify" with DECA and the demographic on "the other side" of 85. Cheer up DECA, it's not as bad as Randy tries to make it. They don't identify with Emory either. A city will not be permitted to leave orphan slivers of neighborhoods, IIRC from reading about the current laws. LCA leaves too many slivers. The City of Briarcliff was a more inclusive plan. LCA got off on the wrong foot and has been too busy shooting themselves in the other one to fix this mess.

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