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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Proposal would split Mableton in half

By Taylor Croft - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,


State Rep. David Wilkerson, the leading proponent for removing portions of the new city of Mableton, has proposed an initial map for a redrawn city that would essentially cut it in half.

A map showing the proposed de-annexation would remove everything north of Veterans Memorial Highway from the city, including all four mayoral candidates’ residences and the historic Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.

It also would cut off a significant portion of the city’s tax base, if the proposal is approved.

Wilkerson’s proposed map includes removing the areas that voted against cityhood in the November election — and the northwest corner of the new city, which voted in favor of cityhood but has either Marietta or Powder Springs addresses.

No legislation has been officially introduced yet. Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs) said he hopes his map will be a starting point for the other legislators to include or remove the areas they represent, and legislation will be based on that.

“It’s really up to the legislators. I mean, I’m not going to decide what they want for the area,” Wilkerson said. “They’ve got to respond to their constituents.”

Credit: Provided by David Wilkerson

Another map, also sent out by Wilkerson, removes a small residential area in the northern part of the city in Rep. Michael Smith’s district, which Wilkerson said Smith requested be removed from the city boundaries.

Wilkerson has been the leading voice at the state Capitol for residents in Mableton who have been advocating for de-annexation since the cityhood referendum was approved in November. Many residents have expressed concerns and frustration over how the cityhood movement was managed in the lead-up to the November election, and some have said they did not know they were within the city’s boundaries.

Christie Lynn, a resident who helped advocate for de-annexation, said she hopes the other lawmakers come to the table to find a compromise. If not, she wants to see the map move forward anyway.

“It represents the area of citizens who voted against cityhood. And yes, that is about half of the city,” Lynn said.

Mableton residents voted 53% to 47% in favor of cityhood, a difference of just under 1,500 votes.

The map is expected to evolve as lawmakers negotiate a plan to appease the residents who are pushing to get out of the new city without disenfranchising the voters who want to stay in, which Rep. Terry Cummings (D-Mableton) has said is one of her concerns. She represents most of Mableton and has not said whether she will support de-annexation legislation.

Cummings did not respond to requests for comment.

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Lynn said she has tried to work with Cummings several times but has not received a response.

“That’s sort of an opening offer, right? This is the area that we’re requesting to be de-annexed,” Lynn said. “If (Cummings) doesn’t say otherwise, we’ll assume that she agrees with that area of de-annexation and that will be the map that is requested to be de-annexed.”

The Georgia Municipal Association does not take positions on local legislation, including municipal de-annexations. However, its general counsel Rusi Patel said previously that a de-annexation in Mableton could present serious challenges for the new city, particularly if the city’s boundaries would differ dramatically from the feasibility study that was based on the proposed city’s tax base.

The tentative deadline by which local legislation must be introduced is this Thursday, meaning lawmakers will need to introduce the bill soon for it to succeed this session.

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