A state senator from Avondale Estates still hopes to annex a portion of unincorporated land west of the city’s gateway to clean up blighted areas and some businesses.
State Rep. Stephanie Benfield said she plans to speak this month with DeKalb County’s delegation of House members to put the issue to a vote in this session. Her proposal would essentially extend Decatur’s borders east along College Avenue, absorbing about 10 properties, and Avondale Estates’ boundaries westward, taking about 20 properties, she said.
Sam’s Crossing would become the boundary between the two.
Benfield, who said she’s been trying to pass the annexation since 1999, said she has the support of several delegation members and requires only 10 supporters to bring the issue to a vote on the House floor. Among those supporters are Michele Henson, Mary Margaret Oliver and Stacey Abrams, she said.
“Those businesses along there – not all of them but enough of them for it to be a concern – need cleaning up,” she said. “The citizens of Avondale have really gotten energized and want to see something happen.”
The issue was pressed last year and ended after a large number of business owners protested the plan. Benfield said she’s open to hearing the business community’s concerns but remains unimpressed with their efforts to clean up the College Avenue corridor between Decatur and Avondale Estates over the last decade.
“I’m frustrated. I’m certainly listening to their concerns. I’m certainly not turning a deaf ear,” she said.
Benfield said she plans to present her case to the delegation in the Legislative Office Building in Atlanta on Feb. 1. She added that she expects a contingent of business owners to attend her presentation and protest the plan.
“We’re going to give them their time to let the delegation know their views,” she said.