Galt Porter, board member of South Cobb Alliance, the advocacy group for the Municipality of Mableton points to the proliferation of unsightly used tire stores on Veterans Memorial Highway, a major thoroughfare.
“It’s not a problem elsewhere in the county,” he said.
The proposed Cobb municipalities would have between 55,000 and 100,000 residents each.
State law requires that a proposed city offer at least four major services to incorporate. The four potential cities would take control of planning and zoning as well as two or three other services, such as code enforcement or parks and recreation.
The proposals are still in their infancy and need to overcome significant hurdles, including voter approval.
After 30 years of battle, Sandy Springs was incorporated in 2005, opening the floodgates to about 10 other Atlanta metropolitan cities to form their own governments. The incorporation movement effectively engulfed all of Fulton County.
Cobb County could be on the verge of its own divide which, for now, appears to be motivated by concerns about increasing housing density.
Census data shows that from 2010 to 2019, the number of “housing structures” with 20 or more units increased by 40%, while the number of single-family homes increased by only 5%.in the county.
The website promoting the town of Lost Mountain warns that while the Republican Commissioner representing West Cobb has fought to protect her, she is outnumbered by other council members who “do not look out for the interests of West Cobb ”.
“The writing is on the wall,” the website says. “As we have seen, overdevelopment, industrial zoning and the increase in high density housing inevitably lead to lower property values, increased road traffic, reduced green spaces and overcrowded schools. Before long, everything we know and love about West Cobb will be transformed.
Political changes cause concern
The 6th District of the United States House of Representatives, which includes parts of Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb counties, had been represented by a Republican since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was elected in 1979.
Two years ago, voters elected Lucy McBath, an African-American Democrat to the seat.
Then, in November, Cupid and two other African-American women, also Democrats, won seats on the committee.
Now, for the first time in Cobb’s history, the five-member county commission is headed by all women, three of whom are black Democrats.
The changes in the commission, along with black Democrats running successful campaigns for district attorney and sheriff races, were the most significant sweep any longtime Cobb politician can recall.
But the shift in political power has left some feeling vulnerable.
The website promoting the town of Lost Mountain warns that while the Republican Commissioner representing West Cobb has fought to protect her, she is outnumbered by other commission members who “do not look out for the interests of West Cobb ”.
Cupid recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the city’s movement and some of the feelings behind it surprised him.
The presidentadvocated for racial and social fairness and said not everyone has benefited from Cobb’s recent economic growth. She wants more affordable housing, but said it shouldn’t be in just one part of the county.
Sam Olens, former Georgia attorney general and chairperson of the Cobb Commission, said he believed the county had represented the different needs of Cobb residents well and opposed the creation of additional towns, but he acknowledged that the elections had helped to generate more interest in the city.
“With the new commissioners comes a new anxiety,” he said.
The four proposals for new cities follow a model commonly referred to as ‘Citylite’, whereby a newly created municipality assumes responsibility for limited government functions, especially those that regulate development, while leaving the administration of public safety and schools. county and school board. .
Cobb now has six towns – Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, Acworth, Powder Springs and Austell – with populations ranging from 7,200 to over 60,000.
More than 75 percent of the county’s estimated 790,000 residents live in unincorporated areas.
According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the number of housing structures in Cobb – from single-family homes to apartment buildings – increased from 286,561 to 304,843 between 2010 and 2019. While single-family homes have increased by ‘approximately 190,000 to 200,000,
The number of buildings with 20 or more apartments increased by a much higher percentage, from around 20,000 to 28,000.
Much of the increase in density is directly attributable to the move of the Atlanta Braves baseball team from Atlanta to Cobb’s Truist Park and the mixed-use development known as The Battery which surrounded. The development has added thousands of housing units, primarily apartments, condos, and townhouses to the area.
Longtime Cobb Republican Bill Byrne and former chairman of the committee from 1992 to 2003, said he opposed the Braves deal because he knew it would change the nature of development in the county. Byrne said Republicans who championed the project, which included hundreds of millions of dollars in public incentives, ultimately helped end their party’s dominance in Cobb as the new homes attracted people with political leanings different.
Today, city supporters are responding to forces set in motion too long ago to be stopped, Byrne said.
“They’re trying to preserve what they have to protect it from change,” Byrne said.
05/05/2021 – Vinings, GA – The exterior of the Old Vinings Inn located in Vinings, Wednesday May 5, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / [email protected])
Taryn Bowman, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Georgia State House in 2020, who helps lead an exploratory committee to study the town of Vinings, said she and others have continuously fought for the rezoning of an area near from the Chattahoochee River for apartments.
Cobb Town supporters say more localized control of development will not translate into higher taxes.
At a virtual town of East Cobb forum on April 14, Matt Dollar, Republican state officials who sponsored legislation to incorporate the region, said the county commission currently has a representative from district for 200,000 inhabitants. This number would drop to around 9,000 inhabitants per city council representative, according to the current proposal.
Sarah Haas, a fitness instructor, volunteer, mother of four and one of dozens of East Cobb residents on the incorporation committee, said a quote from Thomas Jefferson best summed up her motivations.
“The government closest to the people serves the people best,” she said.
George “Buddy” Darden, a Democrat residing in the town of Marietta who served as Cobb District Attorney in the 1970s, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the most recent incorporation efforts are resistance to changes that have already taken place.
“I think creating cities is a step backwards,” said Darden, who also represented the region at State House and in the US Congress. “We are no longer a suburban county. We are an urban county.
Here’s a look at the cities created in the Atlanta metro since 2005.