Voters Reject Atlanta-Area Cityhood Proposals

After local activists whipped up concerns about forced density to promote cityhood for three wealthy Atlanta suburbs, residents voted to remain in unincorporated Cobb County.

May 27, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of single-family homes in Atlanta, Georgia suburb

WorldTraveler_1 / Atlanta suburbs

“Voters defeated ballot referendums for three unincorporated areas that were hoping to turn into the newest cities of Cobb County, just west of Atlanta,” reports Brentin Mock in Bloomberg CityLab.

The communities of East Cobb, Los Mountain, and Vinings started agitating for cityhood after Cobb County proposed zoning reforms that, as interpreted by some, would allow for increased density and mass transit in the historically single-family neighborhoods. “Only through creating their own cities, said cityhood proponents, could they control land use to stop these developments.” The secession of three of the county’s wealthiest areas would have a significant impact on local tax revenue. “A preliminary study said that the formation of the three cities would have had a net annual impact of roughly $33 million on the county’s budget, which would have forced the county to lay off dozens of police, firefighters, and other government administrators.”

As Mock writes, “In reality, those concerns were mostly unfounded: As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners — the governing authority for the county — had introduced no plans to add density to these areas.”

Voters didn’t buy into the hysteria. “Just over half of voters, 55%, in the Vinings ballot referendum voted against the cityhood proposal (only those who live within the proposed city boundaries can vote on cityhood referendums); 57% voted against the Lost Mountain proposal and 72% rejected East Cobb cityhood.”

Buckhead, a neighborhood in the city of Atlanta, also attempted to put secession on the ballot for November 2022, but those efforts were thwarted by state leaders.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

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