For more than a decade Joe Gargiulo has been fighting against having his business annexed into the city limits of Avondale Estates.
“I’ve got nothing against the city of Avondale Estates,” said Gargiulo, president of Candler Investment Group. “I just choose not to be in it.
That choice was made for Gargiulo and other property and business owners earlier this year when the Georgia General Assembly approved the annexation of approximately 14 acres of property in unincorporated DeKalb County.
“I’ve lived in DeKalb County since 1962,” said Gargiulo, owner of eight acres in the annexed area. “If I wanted to be in Avondale Estates I would have bought in Avondale Estates.”
“There’s no reason for me to be in Avondale Estates. I am not getting one iota for being in Avondale Estates. I’m just getting higher taxes.”
Gargiulo said he is pleased with the water, sanitation, fire and police he receives from DeKalb County. He said the many vacant buildings prove that “people don’t want to be in Avondale Estates.”
“It all boils down to one thing: money,” Gargiulo said. “We’re all in business to make money. Now I have less money to feed my family because I’m paying higher taxes.”
On May 29, the Avondale City Council voted to set the zoning for its new 23 parcels as central business district.
Avondale Estates Mayor Ed Rieker said the annexed property is “kind of a middle area between Decatur and Avondale Estates.”
“We look at the corridor as a gateway to the city,” Rieker said.
Now that zoning has been set, city officials will begin the second phase of the zoning process, which will be to develop ideas about the best uses for the area. That process takes about a year, Rieker said.
“Citizens are grateful to the folks at the [state] Capitol for getting this process done,” Rieker said. “And we absolutely welcome the businesses into the city,” Rieker said.
The city has two luncheons planned in June for business owners and property owners to introduce them to the city and the services it offers, Rieker said.
Bonnie Kallenberg, owner of Finders Keepers Consignments and vice president of the Avondale Estates Business Association, said she “couldn’t be happier” about the new zoning and annexation, which is expected to be official July 1.
“It’s been a long fight over many years,” Kallenberg said.
“We need to clean up that corridor,” she said. “If we want Avondale Estates to move forward, we’ve got to clean up that area.”
Now that the area is in Avondale Estates, there will be better police protection, streetscaping and traffic control, said Kallenberg, who has had two cars run through her two of her buildings.