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The City That Was Meant to Be... NORTHLAKE

The crowd that gathered at the Rehoboth Baptist Church yesterday evening, Oct. 7, had several key topics held over from their previous meeting and they were looking for answers.  Fortunately, a lot of the questions did have reasonable answers, such as the very positive reports that the community heard from the North/Central Precinct of the DeKalb Police Department.

It turns out, regardless of what the proposed city organizers would want you to believe, crime is actually down in this area of the county, by nearly 30% year to date across the board.  And, the neighborhoods who were represented were told that it was their involvement and tips that led to significant arrests over the past few months.  Breaking and entering automobiles remains a very large problem in the vicinity of Northlake Mall, but common sense precautions such as not leaving valuables in plain view, locking  your doors and rolling up the windows were all suggested to anyone concerned about  becoming a potential victim.  But, even these crimes have been dramatically reduced, nearly 300% in the past year, thanks to the North / Central precinct.

You may have heard the city proponents and others who have complained about the hotel/motel activity going on near the Lawrenceville Highway and 285 intersections?  Well, an undercover cop was able to rent a room, keep tabs on the comings and goings of those who frequent these locations and made multiple arrests.  They are monitoring the locations closely and have the support of the business owners.

 The Planning and Development Department was represented by none other than Director Andrew Baker, and his presence was much appreciated.  Mr. Baker said that he received a lot of questions regarding the improvement and infrastructure projects that residents have noticed are taking place both to the North and South, while the Central DeKalb area appears to be left off the list.  People reported having never received new asphalt since they first moved into their homes more than 40 years ago!   Mr. Baker spoke about the development and said that these types of plans take time to develop and they do not happen overnight.   In the case of the Northlake area, he said, you are looking at a plan that has taken nearly 10 years, due in part to the recession, to come to fruition.

He mentioned several groups who worked to make it happen:  The Northlake Community Alliance (with members that have included some of the very same people whom we have now become very familiar with because they are the faces of the Lakeside City Alliance!) and the Tucker Main Street Business Alliance along with the Tucker Civic Group.  Interestingly enough, these "Tucker" groups in more recent years seem to have a very large number of people in the leadership group who do not reside in Tucker, or at least not on the DeKalb side of Tucker.  The leaders, or business owners, actually live in either Gwinnett County or in the Smoke Rise area of Stone Mountain, GA.

So, keep that in mind as you continue to read about these groups and their participation in the process that has likely played a large  part in where we are today.  Northlake is actually an area that should truly be considered if any new cities are going to be formed because it is the only possible location in our immediate area that could sustain a city.  Cities are very expensive and require a lot of money from its commercial and industrial areas.  Cities do not typically take on a lot of residential because they do not usually butt  right up against one another.  In fact, there used to be a law that prohibited that from taking place, but we must be completely ignoring it.

However, the new cities that have formed recently appear to be fitting together like nice, neat little puzzle pieces into what can only be described as a "grid" pattern.  The further down the chain, however, that these grids are developed, the less affluent the residents are, generally speaking.  Same with the  businesses - more Mom and Pop shops are open in areas where the big development has not completely taken everything over.  But, here is the problem... the people who were the driving forces behind the plan when it was started more than 10 years ago are no longer as fond of the idea of helping the area grow because some of them tried to run for political office and did not win.

So, now that the economy is improving and the plans are being fired back up, those folks want to stay involved in the plans but as citizens instead of as civic leaders.  And, they want to shift the balance of power, the center of activity and the money associated with the plans away from those whom they  feel are responsible for their inability to gain elective office.  In other words, the Democrats.  Specifically, there is a political battle for Northlake and it is pitting would - be politicians  Steve Schultz and Kevin Levitas against currently elected politicians Scott Holcomb, Elena Parent and Jason Carter.  So, the Republicans in the area (Fran Millar, Mike Jacobs and Tom Taylor) are more than willing to help our their buddies who want to start up new cities based on the plans that the county has already drawn up and started to implement because they believe they should have been in charge all along.   And, if your little segment of the populations is not fully in favor of this plan, they will cut you out altogether.

But, these plans that were made in good faith long ago are still good plans.  They just don't cover as large of a space as the city advocates for Lakeside/Briarcliff and Tucker want to include.  And,  they don't reach all the way into Oak Grove NOR do they reach into Smoke Rise.

This is the REAL map that should have been circulated for Northlake.  It is the one that was included in a packet Andrew Baker made copies of for everyone to review at the meeting.  

HERE, Central DeKalb, is the Northlake Region, as planned:  

Maybe this will stop the bickering and fighting.

Save Tucker! made this simple call a LONG time ago when we said that "whoever gets the rights to Northlake will get to have their city."  Unfortunately, that article was removed from the Tucker Patch, but we will find our copy and post it.

Why is this so important?  Because you have people trying to start cities who KNEW what the plan was for Northlake because they were in GOVERNMENT positions or very close to those who were elected to represent the public.  They have used INSIDE INFORMATION (an ethics violation) to give certain politicians and quite possibly their corporate backers the information they needed in order to suppress the voices of the REAL community that was planned long ago for this area.  This is the community that was zoned for Henderson High School and Shamrock High School, both of which were closed at the discretion of the former, corrupt school board with their Lakeside High School champion, Paul Womack, helping get that done.

And, they set out to attack the reputation of those associated with Save Tucker! because, lo' and behold ... SAVE TUCKER! leaders and early supporters ALL LIVE IN THE ORIGINAL NORTHLAKE STUDY AREA!  

The stories that have been told about a "North DeKalb Study Group" may be true, but only because they grew out of this "Northlake Study Group" when the folks involved with Northlake got greedy and tried to find a way to keep all the money to themselves.  And, with Smoke Rise residents running the Main Street Tucker businesses, it isn't too hard to see how a gentleman's agreement could have been reached between "Tucker" and "Lakeside."  But, the problem is NEITHER of them have the rights to Northlake.

And no one who lives  here now wants to be forced into a plan that was created a decade ago.  We need a NEW Northlake  Group.  We need  a new coalition of volunteers who will work with the county to see the development ideas to fruition and make sure that we are not moving on a backward path ... one that expected the T-SPLOST to pass and therefore it includes TONS of high density housing that our area simply cannot support.  It has TONS of people crammed into a small area and that is NOT what the people who live here and own property here want at all.


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