Chamblee, GA, February 13, 2017 – by Trey Benton – A “possible annex area” map and a request letter has been submitted to the City of Chamblee by John Oselette, a Northlake area resident who says he represents a group of 150 – 200 others who reside in the area surrounding the Mercer University campus, including areas close to Northlake Mall. He says they want to be part of Chamblee for reasons of better services and a more certain future.
But according to Oselette, the group does not have a real feasibility study or any feasibility study for that matter, and is asking the City of Chamblee to crunch the numbers. Almost déjà vu from last year when a group of folks that were included in the failed LaVista Hills Cityhood referendum area came to Chamblee wanting to annex in, albeit the area this time around is smaller. In comparison however, the City is still being asked to figure it out for those aspiring to be “Chambleeans.”
The “possible annex area” map, a map Oselette says Republican political consultant and LaVista Hills supporter Steve Shultz helped facilitate, shows Shallowford Rd. as the southern boundary, I-85 as the western boundary, I-285 as the northern and eastern boundaries. It takes in Northlake Mall, Presidential Parkway, Mercer University and a mixture of residential and commercial areas in between. Approximately 12,000 people are included, according to Oselette.
The Post began to hear chatter about a potential Chamblee annexation about two weeks ago, chatter that led to our filing of an Open Records Request with the City a few days later. While the City has been compiling any responsive records they have, The Post learned the “petition letter” and “possible annex area” map was submitted to the City Manager, Jon Walker, on February 6th. Walker then forwarded those documents to the Chamblee Mayor and Councilmembers, Open Records show.
Oselette told The Post in an email over the weekend, discussions with Chamblee began in early January. He said on January 25th, an informational meeting with Mayor Eric Clarkson and Councilman Brian Mock took place at City Hall.
Aside from the desire to have better police and overall services for the area he lives in, Oselette says this could be the last chance his area has to be part of a City before potentially being gobbled up by Tucker, a city that does not have its own police force – a concern for Oselette. “We don’t want to be left out on an island without the services our community wants,” he told The Post.
Oselette explains there have been a growing number of car break-ins in his area. He says when he calls DeKalb Police, they don’t show up and ask for a report to be taken over the phone. He said, “We want a responsive police force. If the services were here, we would not be looking to be in a city.”
In terms of timing, Oselette says no specific timeline has been discussed, although the consensus among supporters would like to see it happen this year. “If we don’t do this now, we could lose the commercial property and viability,” Oselette added.
Because the area is so large, the 60% method of annexation is unlikely. This leaves Oselette and other Chamblee annexation supporters to lobby their State Legislators to carry a local Legislation bill, a method which provides for an election to be held to determine if the area should be annexed. Legislators we have spoken to say that is very unlikely to happen at this late date, this year.
The Post has asked several State Legislators, particularly those who are part of the DeKalb Delegation, whether they have been contacted to carry a Legislative Annexation bill. All have told us they have not been contacted as of Friday, February 10th. And, Chamblee elected officials have told us “we know as much as you do”.
According to the Thursday, February 16th Chamblee City Council Work Session Agenda, Oselette will be presenting his “case” to Councilmembers in the public meeting which will be held at the Chamblee Civic Center, located at 3540 Broad St in Chamblee. The meeting will start at 6:00 PM. The item is near the top of the agenda.
This is a developing story. Once we have more information, we’ll post it.