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Council Approves New Smyrna Districts

The reapportionment is needed to even out the districts' populations following the 2010 Census.

Some Smyrna residents may be voting in new districts in the next election if a new district map proposed by city officials is approved at the state and federal levels.

The city council approved the new map after its first public hearing on Monday night. No resident spoke during the public hearing. Council members will have a second public hearing and vote on Dec. 17.

The reapportionment is necessary due to growth in the last 10 years, particularly in Ward 7, where Councilman Ron Fennel said the population now exceeds 12,000, which is 5,000 more than the populations in the city's other six districts. Under the new map, he would lose approximately 40% of his district's population.

"That means I'm going to lose well over 5,000 people," Fennel said Monday night. "That means neighborhoods that are important to me and to the city of Smyrna. While it's frustrating, it's a reality. Smyrna is growing."

The map was developed by the council collectively as a team, Fennel said.

"We're all working for the benefit of Smyrna," he said.

In fact, the cooperation and collaboration was something mentioned by most council members.

"We didn't have any infighting on the council," Councilman Wade Lnenicka. "Everyone was oriented in the same direction."

Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz said that she's heard what she calls horror stories about reapportionment from her husband, who is an attorney.

"This was a very professional and collegiate process," she said.

The only district that won't see much change is Ward 1, City Manager Eric Taylor said. Ward 2 will reunite some areas, and Ward 3 will extend farther to the south, incorporating parts of the current 4th and 5th wards. The proposed Ward 4 will move to the west, and a natural boundary created by the East-West Connector will separate it and Ward 7. And, changes to Ward 6 will see it encompassing more of the Forest Hills neighborhood.

"I'm losing a lot of friends in Forest Hills, but I'm gaining a lot of friends," said Councilman Charles Welch, who represents Ward 4.

Once approved by the council, the new district map will be sent to the state legislature and federal Justice Department for approval. It is slated to go into effect for the next election in 2015.

In other business, the council:

  • Adopted the revised Personnel Policy EMP 12-0 Pay Plan;
  • Voted to appropriate $40,000 from the Hotel Motel Tax Fund for The History Workshop to research the history of the Cox Civil War Collection, create display cases and install the final product;
  • Removed an public hearing regarding pet grooming and boarding services from the agenda;
  • And, tabled a vote on an item that would replace the Noise Regulation from the city's Code of Ordinances.
Ron Fennel December 04, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Two minor corrections: the northern border of the seventh ward will be the Silver Comet Trail, not the E-W Connector and the next election is November 2015. Residents will continue to be represented by the Council person elected in the 2011 elections until then. Ron Fennel, Ward 7
Wallace S December 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM
is there a link to the proposed map?
Anita Norman December 04, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Where can we find a map of the new districts?
Lissa M. December 04, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Tear down the apartments & don't build anymore! Then maybe all of the families will be able to send their children to school in Smyrna past preschool age.
226 December 04, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I thought all the naysayers were screaming that the city shouldn't be buying those aparment complexes? Also, the city has had a moritorium for several years on apartment construction.
Observer December 04, 2012 at 09:51 PM
The city had a moratorium until it approved the apartments that are part of the Belmont Hills development. You can now expect every developer to threaten to sue the city if their apartment development is not similarly approved. The city should also refrain from buying properties that have nothing to do with government buildings or parks, etc. Once that can of worms is open then you have a situation ripe for abuse. What happens when a city official designates an area of the community as blighted, when really they mean that they "don't like those type of people?" Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. - incorrectly attributed to G. Washington, but nevertheless sums up the need for restraint on the actions of government.
Erik Fernald December 05, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Not sure how there are "horror stories" related to moving from one district to another. I would like to hear of the actual carnage that resulted in a person going from ward 7 to 6.
30080 December 05, 2012 at 02:11 PM
It doesn't matter which ward you're in or who your councilman is. It's same song, different verse.
Brian December 06, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Ron, the area at the intersection of E/W and South Cobb Drive being District 007, not 006. It is almost connected to District 007 and more closely effects District 007. Whereas this area is far away from 006. Not many people live there (Lois Point and a couple others), so I don't think it would shake things up population-wise. I live in an neighborhood off Camp Highland and don't want to lose our influence over that area when it impacts us so greatly.
Brian December 06, 2012 at 05:35 AM
My child just started at Nickajack and most parents seem pretty involved and from affluent households. So don't generalize. I'm not sure what school you are talking about.
Brian December 06, 2012 at 05:36 AM
I don't agree. You can't have a "one size fits all" approach to the city. Let's use Belmont and Jonquil village. Belmont Hills and Jonquil Village are two completely different areas. Jonquil is in a much more centrally located residential area whereas Belmont is closer to the fringes of the city. Furthermore, Belmont Hills is keeping much more with its original design, whereas Jonquil was attempted to be re-designed as a strip mall with an apartment next to it. That's hardly mixed-use. Additionally, Belmont Hills plans to use an experienced company to manage the apartments. So I don't think any investor can make a "well you let them do it" argument for most cases. FUD makes way for clearer thinking, at least when you actually think clearly.
Brian December 06, 2012 at 05:41 AM
I'm not aware of anything switching from 7 to 6. Do you mean 7 to 4?
30080 December 06, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Hey Brian, Nickajack ranked # 747 of 1161 ('11-'12 ranking). Forsyth has 5 elementary schools in the top 20. Most affluent zips in Atlanta are intown, Buckhead, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Cuming, Dunwoody, Duluth, Alpharetta & Suwanee. Smyrna is a low income, working class city with school rankings to reflect this. There are pockets of middle class neighborhoods, but far from the definition of affluence.
anryms December 06, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I more interested in hearing how much truth there is that they are trying to put a WALMART GROCERY STORE on the Jonquil site. Sad if its true that Publix is out now. How can east cobb have a Fresh Market, Trader Joes, Whole Foods all within a 2 or 3 mile stretch on Johnson Ferry yet we cant seem to get one just one of those retailers to the Jonquil site.
226 December 07, 2012 at 08:53 PM
And what are the rankings of the PUBLIC schools in Buckhead Roswell Sandy Springs and Dunwoody?
Smyrnan December 08, 2012 at 01:56 PM
We now know about the change in Wards but why no report on Derrick Williams. Apparently he strangled his wife/girlfriend to death on Old Spring Road and fled. The Smyrna Police said he was armed and dangerous. WSB reported on it Thursday night.
Angela Chao (Editor) December 08, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Regarding the incident on Old Spring Road, Patch has contacted the Smyrna Police Department Friday, and is waiting for a response. We'll be updating our readers as soon as we receive any update from the police. Thanks.
Brian December 11, 2012 at 04:34 AM
30080, that's rankings in terms of test scores. Not rankings.
Brian December 11, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I'm not sure where you get your information. :-) Why is your name 30080 if you know so little about Smyrna? Plus your idea of Smyrna and places like Forsyth is skewed. Smyrna is a middle-class city with pockets of working class areas and pockets of upper-class area. You can't compare Smyrna to some place like Forsyth county which was built in the last 10 years since Forsyth doesn't have any of the poor pockets. Smyrna is a city and has a mix of wealthy and poor areas. However, the land value in Forsyth county is very low, and it is just more suburban. It isn't more affluent or the land value would be higher. But it's not. Plus, you're wrong on the # of schools. There are ranks of 1-1189. However, many schools are tied for #1 in terms of test scores. As far as rankings, test scores are not a good way to rank schools. In fact, it can even be a sign that a school is too focused on test scores and not enough on academics Additionally, to show why test scores are not the best indicator, King Springs is ranked higher in test score even though demographically it is nearly identical to Nickajack in the same school system with the same curriculum. There really isn't much of a difference between the education you get at Nickajack and King Springs or for that matter throughout most of Cobb County. Additionally, on tests, Kings Springs scored higher than some East Cobb schools. Obviously, the Kings Springs is more affluent than those East Cobb schools.
Brian December 11, 2012 at 05:13 AM
I'm looking at the crime map, and Dunwoody has a LOT more crime than Smyrna (ignoring Perimeter Center, which is off the charts). I'm not sure how you can say it's more affluent. You seem to be very biased and focus on some factors and not others.
MA Evans December 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
It looks like you never got that update from the police. http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/21087710/article-Man-sought-in-wife%E2%80%99s-strangulation?instance=home_top_bullets
Brian December 14, 2012 at 09:52 AM
There's an Aldi's on Spring Rd. Aldi owns Trader Joe's. It's not likely Aldi is going to compete with itself. They rarely do that.

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