breaking news

Deadly crash shuts down I-285 East in Sandy Springs

DeKalb: Bill creating city of Greenhaven moves forward in House

A bill that would allow a referendum on the creation of the city of Greenhaven received a favorable committee vote for the first time in four years.

The House Governmental Affairs Committee approved House Bill 644 on Tuesday in an 11-6 vote. In order for the measure to stay alive, it needs to be approved on the House floor on Wednesday, the last day for bills to move from one chamber to the other — that is, to cross over — and still have a clear path to becoming law this year.

Those who spoke in support of the bill said it’s time to allow south DeKalb County voters to decide whether they want to create the state’s second largest city, after Atlanta, with a population of about 300,000.

“We have worked at this for four years,” said Kathryn Rice, the most visible advocate for Greenhaven. “We are the only people in DeKalb County that have not had once chance to vote on cityhood.”

Nearly 30 people spoke on the bill, most of them opposed. Some complained that a feasibility study used to justify the new city is outdated.

“It’s not a civil rights issue,” said Claudette Leak, a member of Concerned Citizens in Opposition to Greenhaven. “It’s a fiscal issue about the pocketbooks and taxes and taxpayers who are going to be living in this newly created city.”

Before the vote, the committee signed off on an amendment filed by Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, that restricted any current members of the General Assembly from running for office in Greenhaven for 10 years. Taylor’s amendment also reduced the salaries for Greenhaven’s six council members from $25,000 a year to $12,000 and the mayor would earn $16,000 annually instead of $35,000.

“This should be public service; it should not be a job,” Taylor said, noting that the amounts were in line with other DeKalb cities like Brookhaven and Dunwoody.

A separate amendment filed by Rep. Bee Nguyen, D-Atlanta, failed. It would have raised the threshold for voter approval for Greenhaven from a simple majority to 57.5 percent. Nguyen said part of her district would fall in the new city and every email she has received is against the proposal.

She noted that the House signed off on the same higher threshold for a bill related to creating the city of Sharon Springs in Forsyth County. That measure is pending with the Senate.

Rep. Ed Rynders, the Albany Republican who chairs the Governmental Affairs Committee, said Nguyen’s amendment had the end result of making it harder for Greenhaven to be approved. He was among those who voted it down. Rynders said Greenhaven advocates had met all the requirements for their issue to be put on the ballot.

-- Staff writer Mark Niesse contributed to this report.


The AJC's Tia Mitchell keeps you updated on the latest happenings in DeKalb County government and politics. You'll find more on, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in DeKalb politics. Subscribe to

In other DeKalb news:

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets
Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets

In a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, President Donald Trump criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey, CNN reported. Trump suggested partisan bias, wondering on Twitter why the Mueller team had “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary...
BREAKING: Deadly crash shuts down I-285 East in Sandy Springs
BREAKING: Deadly crash shuts down I-285 East in Sandy Springs

A deadly crash has I-285 East shut down in Sandy Springs. Few details have been released about the accident reported just before 9:20 a.m. Sunday at Roswell Road, Sandy Springs police Sgt. Sam Worsham said. Eastbound traffic is being diverted onto Riverdale Road. Take Powers Ferry Road as an alternate, according to the WSB 24-hour...
JUST IN: Tanker truck crash leads to hospital evacuation, oxygen leak
JUST IN: Tanker truck crash leads to hospital evacuation, oxygen leak

A tanker truck filled with oxygen crashed early Sunday and is leaking oxygen on a road in Lumpkin County. The crash is forcing officials to evacuate a hospital and close a section of road near Crown Mountain Drive and Mountain Drive, according to the Lumpkin sheriff’s office. Authorities are also recommending everyone within one-third of...
MMA fighter wins bout when opponent knocks himself out
MMA fighter wins bout when opponent knocks himself out

Caleb Williams did not have exert too much energy during his MMA match against Matt McCook on Saturday. McCook did all the work, inadvertently knocking himself out with a face plant after a hip toss went awry, Bleacher Report reported. The two fighters were competing at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Williams...
Argument leads to deadly shooting in DeKalb County
Argument leads to deadly shooting in DeKalb County

DeKalb County police are investigating a shooting that killed one person and injured another at a gas station. The shooter was taken into custody without incident, police told Channel 2 Action News. The incident happened when an altercation between two people escalated into a shooting about 8:30 p.m. Saturday at a QuikTrip on Panola Road. An officer...
More Stories