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Preparing for Tues 4/22 Briarcliff Meeting

Preface: This communication was sent to Briarcliff email subscribers on Tuesday, 4/15/14. Subscribe and get email updates from Briarcliff by visiting our contact us page and subscribing to our email newsletter list.

Recap Meeting Tues 4-22 teaser 2

In just seven days Briarcliff will have its first public meeting (Tues 4/22 at 7pm). This message is a reminder of the event and an opportunity to set expectations for the meeting.

In this meeting we’ll look at what happened in the past legislative session and look at WHY no cities passed and what must change in order to be successful both at the legislative and voter referendum level.

Passing a Voter Referendum:
It is important to note that getting through the legislative session is only half the challenge. Past conflicts between proposed cityhood groups combined with conflicts between proposed cities and existing cities put a strain on the process. It is likely this can be solved, but solved with WHAT? Common sense dictates that getting a city through the legislature that residents can vote on is a hollow victory if the voters don’t ultimately approve the new city.

We want voters to do more than vote “yes” for a new city. We want voters to be enthusiastic about the opportunity for a new city.

Doing it the Right Way:
Now is the time to do cityhood the right way. What is the right way? That’s part of the dialogue we need to have as a community. We’ve got some ideas, but we want to hear from you. What are the themes that hold our community together? What goals do we want to solve? What does the map look like? What is the name of the city?

None of these answers are in stone right now. This is why it is important to take the time to get involved.

You’re Invited: Recap Meeting
Briarcliff United Methodist Church
4105 Briarcliff Rd NE
Tues, 4/22 at 7pm

We look forward to seeing past supporters and volunteers at this recap meeting. We welcome new people and those curious about the cityhood process.

Keith Hanks
Member of the Executive Board
Resident of Decatur, 30033, Unincorporated DeKalb County

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Lessons Learned & Next Steps

Preface: This communication was sent to Briarcliff email subscribers on Tuesday, 3/18/14. The day after Sen. Millar withdrew the Lakeside bill (SB 270). This essentially ended cityhood in this legislative session. Subscribe and get email updates from Briarcliff by visiting our contact us page and subscribing to our email newsletter list.

Lessons Learned and Next Steps - Patch

On Tuesday, 3/18/14 we start the day as a divided community. All the problems you’ve expressed and that your neighbors have expressed remain unchanged. This is not the time to walk away.

With Senator Millar withdrawing Lakeside’s bill (SB 270) it appears that cityhood will not happen in DeKalb County this year. Those that supported and advocated for Lakeside, Briarcliff and Tucker spent thousands of hours working to improve our community. This work should AND WILL be celebrated in the coming weeks.

The mission of the City of Briarcliff Initiative was to see through the creation of Briarcliff. That remains the mission. Before the end of this decade the voters will likely vote in a solution to DeKalb cityhood. Get this wrong and DeKalb will continue its slide. If we get this right — our area prospers — we lift up DeKalb and the surrounding communities.

What we cannot do as residents is sit idle, expecting things to be done for us. We have many knowledgeable people on the community, experts on various snippets of what is needed to make a great community. We need these experts to volunteer a little bit of time to ensure the community is molded the right way.

You’re Invited – Cityhood Recap Event:

In the coming weeks we will be hosting an event that reviews what happened in the cityhood process, both with Briarcliff and cityhood overall. We’ll discuss the good, the bad, and the lessons that will allow cityhood for central DeKalb. We cannot let retrenchment occur. We will be personally inviting leadership from Lakeside and Tucker and will celebrate the hard work they put in to improve the community. We may not agree 100% on the tactical approach of cityhood, but we universally agree that cityhood can and should be part of the solution to reforming DeKalb.

Introducing “Briarcliff Version 2.0

Loosely speaking Briarcliff as you know it is over. Internally we’ve referred to this as “Briarcliff Version 1.0.” We produced the most financially strong cityhood plan. We produced the most inclusive plan and did it without cherry picking. In many ways we see Briarcliff Version 1.0 as the best cityhood plan that was never considered. We had our hearing at the Capitol and like the other cityhood plans we didn’t make it through. Briarcliff Version 2.0 starts now.

We’ll discuss more about Briarcliff Version 2.0 at the recap event. Here’s a preview. Cityhood for our area presents some unique challenges via the fact that we are not a naturally united community. We are community of small neighborhoods, HOAs and school districts. We all chose to move to unincorporated DeKalb for one reason or another and many of us have been disappointed with status quo, and a lack for meaningful county reform.


Keith Hanks
Member of the Executive Board
Resident of Decatur, 30033, Unincorporated DeKalb County

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Lakeside Won’t Publish Its Map

Why won’t Lakeside and Tucker publish their agreed upon map?

Updated Lakeside - Tucker Map

Since Lakeside and Tucker don’t want to share their map presented at yesterday’s House Meeting at the Capitol, we’ll share it for them. Watermark in the top means it is an official map. Here are some notables:

  • Northlake (inside the perimeter) will be continue to be patrolled by DeKalb County “shared police.” Tucker does not plan to create a police department at this time. This means when you dial 911 you’ll continue to be put on hold. Expect 20+ minute response times if you’re shopping in the area should something go wrong.
  • Anyone to the SOUTH of Lakeside’s border will not get a vote on cityhood. If you are not included in an existing cityhood annexation plan you are essentially being left to fend for yourself.
  • Crucial commercial real estate needed to fund a city at I-85 & North Druid Hills (Executive Park & Loehmann’s Plaza are left behind). There are many theories for this including a potential desire for Brookhaven to annex this area in the future. Why this area is left off of Lakeside’s map continues to be a mystery.
  • Lakeside’s northeast border appears odd with a long strip being proposed Tucker

This is not transparency. This is what makes people cynical of government. Cityhood is a major event that impacts tens of thousands of people.

☏☏ Please Call These Legislators & Provide Feedback ☏☏
Gov. Nathan Deal 404-656-1776
Speaker of the House David Ralston 404-656-5020
Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones 404-656-5072
Rep Amy Carter 404-656-6801
Rep John Meadows 404-656-5141
Rep Buzz Brockway 404-656-0188
Rep Mary Margaret Oliver 404-656-0265
Rep Darlene Taylor 404-656-0178
Rep Tyrone Brooks 404-656-6372
Rep Barry Fleming 404-656-0152
Rep Hugh Floyd 404-656-0314
Rep Mark Hamilton 404-656-5132
Rep Dustin Hightower 404-656-0152
Rep Culver Kidd 404-656-0202
Rep Alisha Thomas Morgan 404-656-0109
Rep Howard Mosby 404-656-0287
Rep Larry O’Neal 404-656-5052
Rep Alan Powell 404-463-3793
Rep Jay Powell 404-656-7855
Rep Bruce Williamson 404-656-0152

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Briarcliff Hearing with House Governmental Affairs Committee – Thurs 3/6/14 (1pm, please arrive early)


BREAKING: Updated room, updated time… politics can change by the hour and that’s what we’re seeing. Both are tomorrow (Thursday, 3/6/14) in the Coverdell Legislative Building. Briarcliff at 1pm, Lakeside at 2pm.

We suspect this is the last time/room change. Briarcliff & Lakeside hearing to happen on the same day and moved up an hour.

Coverdell Legislative Building
18 Capitol Square SW
Room 606 (updated)
Atlanta, GA 30334

Talk to your neighbors and friends about attending. This is YOUR CHANCE and time is running out.

There will be Lakeside, Tucker, Briarcliff and other anti-cityhood people all in the room. Please plan to be there around 12:00pm. Briarcliff folks will have badges on.

Highest Priority for Briarcliff Supporters:

  • Consider attending the Briarcliff meeting at the Capitol (Thurs 3/6 at 1pm) and voicing support for Briarcliff. You’ll likely have 1-2 minutes for comment.
  • Consider attending the Lakeside meeting at the Capitol (Thurs 3/6 at 2pm) and voicing support for Briarcliff as your preferred city. Expect 1-2 minutes for comment.

Getting to the Capitol:
We’ll let you know details (date / time / room). Expect the meeting to be in the Coverdell Legislative Building (next to the Capitol on Capitol Square SW). Here’s an aerial image of where the building is (in green) and nearby parking lots (in blue)

Capitol Parking3

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Hearing at Capitol. We Need Your Help!!

The House will likely hold hearings on Lakeside and Briarcliff. These are 60-minute meetings and Tucker had their meeting last week. If you want Briarcliff to become a reality, or are against Lakeside, NOW is the time!!

Write to Reps

We need several things (in order of priority)

  1. Consider attending the Briarcliff meeting at the Capitol and voicing support for Briarcliff. You’ll likely have 1-2 minutes for comment.
  2. Consider attending the Lakeside meeting at the Capitol and voicing support for Briarcliff as your preferred city. Expect 1-2 minutes for comment.
  3. Email the reps below. This folks NEED to hear from you either by contacting them directly. Ideally hearing from you in person at the hearing. Again, we hope you can attend the meeting.

Sample message provided at the bottom of this post. Please use or edit accordingly.


Reps to Email:


— <begin sample email> —

Email Subject: Please Support Briarcliff!!


Dear Representative,

I am a resident of unincorporated DeKalb County. I am writing to show my support for Briarcliff as my preferred city. I am urging you to vote to allow Briarcliff to continue the legislative process.

Briarcliff presents the best solution to cityhood and solves cityhood for inside the perimeter while being respectful to the outside the perimeter community of Tucker and other existing cities.

I realize you face a hard decision from other cityhood groups, Lakeside specifically inside the perimeter. I hope you look at the overall picture for the future of DeKalb, including that one city does not solve cityhood for everyone. It leaves people behind inside the perimeter and ruins the history of communities outside the perimeter such as Tucker.

Please help residents like me by continuing to give Briarcliff a voice.




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Question: Does Crossover Day Affect Briarcliff?

No. Crossover day does not impact Briarcliff. The Lakeside bill (SB 270) originated in the Senate now comes over to the House. Neither Briarcliff or Tucker language originated in the Senate — they were both legislatively born in the House. The House has many options in front of them, including substituting the Senate Lakeside bill for Tucker (outside the perimeter) and/or Briarcliff (inside the perimeter). If this happens a joint committee will be tasked with reconciling.

What’s Next for Briarcliff?
Briarcliff will spend the week meeting with various legislators. The Briarcliff map, public at the Thursday 2/27 Town Hall, is in review with legislative officials for a few potential additions of areas that could potentially be included. Briarcliff readies for its hearing and encourages supporters to attend and speak on Briarcliff’s behalf.

Updated “February 2014 Draft” version.

Updated “February 2014 Draft” version.

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Briarcliff Hearing with House Governmental Affairs Committee

Capitol Parking

Three hearings are scheduled to occur within the House Governmental Affairs Committee. The first hearing, Tucker was held on Thursday, 2/27/14 in the Coverdell Legislative Building (across from the Capitol). In the next two weeks expect two 60-minute hearings for Briarcliff and Lakeside. Hoping to bring as many supporters to the Capitol as possible!

We’ll update you once we have the hearing date confirmed.

Briarcliff Thurs 2/27 at the Capitol:
On Thursday 2/27 Briarcliff attended the Tucker hearing within the House Governmental Affairs Committee. No vote on Tucker occurred on that day from the committee. There were 14 speakers taking a “Pro Tucker” position and Briarcliff spoke 2nd. Briarcliff expressed a belief that Tucker and Briarcliff are positioned to lift up the area and make the I-85 / I-285 corridor more attractive to residents and businesses. Briarcliff also expressed that the two cities could be good neighbors, including a belief that a border resolution could be achieved within the session.


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Updated Map “February 2014 Draft”

Below is an updated map. This was presented publicly by Rep. Oliver at the Thurs 2/27 Town Hall event. Thumbnail view includes some additional markers. A high resolution version is available.

This version may change in the next 1-2 weeks as Briarcliff confirms maximum coverage is achieved to give as many people a vote on cityhood as possible.

Updated “February 2014 Draft” version.

Updated “February 2014 Draft” version.

View a larger version (3.5 mb PDF)

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Town Hall Meeting at Hawthorne Elem. – 6:30P tonight

Hawthorne Elementary School

Reminder, tonight (Thurs 2/27) there is a town hall meeting scheduled at Hawthorne Elementary School (2535 Caladium Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30345). Meeting is from 6:30pm – 8:00pm. It is sponsored by Reps. Scott Holcomb, Mary Margaret Oliver and Michele Henson. It will cover updates that have occurred throughout the legislative session, including the topic of cityhood.

Our Facebook Page
For breaking updates consider liking Briarcliff’s Facebook page,

Briarcliff Makes Sense
Briarcliff is a bipartisan group that takes the best ideas of Democrats and Republicans. We believe cities can and should be part of the reform process for DeKalb County.


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Briarcliff Statement on HB 665 Cityhood Map

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (HD-82) will present an updated Briarcliff map to the Georgia Legislature that includes deferment to published annexations of existing cities.

Hand drawn "February 2014 Draft"

Hand drawn “February 2014 Draft”

Feb. 20, 2014 – ATLANTA — The City of Briarcliff Initiative announces the release of an updated version of the Briarcliff map. “February 2014 Draft” is available on Briarcliff’s Facebook page, and shows hand drawn lines. Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (HD-82) will present a formal version of this map to the Legislature. Briarcliff has chosen to defer to the published annexation plans of existing cities, in keeping with the city’s core belief that everyone should have a chance to vote on whether they want to be in a city.

The changes to Briarcliff’s map occurs where the proposed City of Briarcliff approaches the existing cities of Decatur, Avondale Estates and Clarkston, each of which have published annexation plans that include unincorporated areas of DeKalb County that also overlapped previous Briarcliff previous maps. The leaders of those cities, legislators representing those cities, and the DeKalb Municipal Association requested that Briarcliff’s proposal not overlap with those plans. After careful deliberation, the Executive Board of the City of Briarcliff Initiative voted to defer to the announced plans of those cities.

Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver comments, “We’re making progress. More people are working together. We have opportunities this session to reach an agreement with our neighbors and move forward.”

“We believe that strong cities, both existing and new, are in the best interest of the residents and of DeKalb County as a whole. As many residents of unincorporated DeKalb as possible should be given the opportunity to vote on cityhood, either in a new city referendum or in an annexation vote,” says Allen Venet, President of City of Briarcliff Initiative. “The legislative process remains very fluid, and residents of the affected neighborhoods should continue to express their preferences to their local city and state legislators. We want to be good neighbors; we offer to those cites the opportunity to have referendums in those areas for potential annexations. In the future, any neighborhood voting against annexation to those cities or otherwise declining to be annexed might be annexed into a City of Briarcliff, if that is their choice. Briarcliff’s Board recognizes that we have many supporters in the areas in within the annexation plans, and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for their support.”

Within “February 2014 Draft” map the updated green border reflects what the revised City of Briarcliff proposal looks like. Briarcliff still includes all of the Medlock, Mason Mill, and Druid Hills neighborhoods as well as Emory University and the CDC. Interstate I-85 and I-285 remain consistent boundaries and are unchanged. Druid Hills and Lakeside high schools and their middle schools remain in the proposed city.

Briarcliff remains the city with the best integrity in its community boundary and its economic base. The cityhood group is confident it will be reflected in its government — if citizens are given the chance by the Legislature.

Breaking news and other cityhood updates can be found on Briarcliff’s Facebook page,

About City of Briarcliff Initiative:
The City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc. is a non-profit corporation chartered under the laws of the state of Georgia. The group seeks to enable residents to form a new city government in central DeKalb County that would serve all people within the community and promote the health, welfare, and safety of the general public.


Media Contact:
Keith Hanks
City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc.

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