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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If you think Brookhaven should be a city, get on the bus

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As I write this, folks from Brookhaven are heading to a 3 p.m. hearing at the Gold Dome to discuss whether their Northeast Atlanta neighborhood should be able turn itself into a full-fledged city. They're coming on a big bus chartered by Brookhaven Yes!, a pro-cityhood group formed earlier this month. Hmm, I wonder what the people are likely to say when they get to the hearing.

Anyway, although I don't live anywhere near Brookhaven and even though a UGA study indicated that a new city there could be viable, I remain unconvinced that the local incorporation craze hasn't already jumped the shark. Sandy Springs had a long-standing and persuasive claim on cityhood. Dunwoody at least had enough commercial development already to qualify as an "edge city." But Brookhaven? It's simply a neighborhood, a loosely knit community at best.

The way wannabe Brookhavenites plan to make their proposed city viable is to engineer a massive land grab, creating a nearly two-mile incorporated area. (PDF) along the eastern edge of the Atlanta city limits that stretches all the way from I-285 to the north to I-85 to the south. Most of that area includes places no one considers as being in Brookhaven.

I'm about to go down to the Capitol myself to listen to some of the arguments in favor of Brookhaven-ness, but if some commenter can succinctly explain why a new city should be allowed to glom onto land that has never been previously associated with the community, I'd be mighty obliged. After all, Georgia already has too many places that don't deserve a city charter. And, yes, I'm talking to you, Avondale Estates, Mountain View and Pine Lake.

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