The extensive map of the town of East Cobb includes the districts of Pope and Lassiter

East Cobb Cityhood committee chief David Birdwell unveils a revised map of the proposed city at a town hall meeting on Monday. (ECN photos by Wendy Parker)

Many of the familiar talking points about the town of East Cobb were raised Monday night at a town hall at Wheeler High School.

The same is true of many of the objections to a town in East Cobb that were also heard for many months.

What was new at the meeting hosted by the Committee for Cityhood in East Cobb was the proposed map for a town in East Cobb that would be larger than the original and include the Pope and Lassiter High School attendance areas.

Members of the city committee said they had just received the card earlier Monday from the state legislative office that sets the limits.

The overhaul comes several months after a lobbying effort that also included citizens of the Sprayberry High School community, which for now is being left out.

“It could be added now or by annexation,” said city leader David Birdwell.

The original map included most of the unincorporated Cobbs in the Cobb 2 Commission District east of I-75. This covered Walton and most of the Wheeler use areas, but only part of the Pope and Lassiter areas and had a population of almost 90,000.

State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick City Map of East Cobb
State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick

The new population figure was not immediately available, but it could make a potential city of East Cobb the second largest metro city in Atlanta.

‘Wait and watch’

The map is part of legislation sponsored at the end of the 2019 session by State Representative Matt Dollar (R-East Cobb), and which must be passed in 2020 for a referendum to be called in the fall next.

(Read the invoice here.)

Among the more than 100 people in attendance at the Wheeler Auditorium was State. Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, a Republican from East Cobb who is a key player in the process.

State law requires that city bills have local sponsors in each chamber of the legislature. Kirkpatrick and State Representative Sharon Cooper, who were also present on Monday, said they had not formed an opinion on the town of East Cobb.

City of East Cobb Legislation
The original proposed East Cobb town plan.

Kirkpatrick said Cobb East News she has received a lot of anti-cityhood sentiment from voters and wants to give pro-cityhood forces a chance to “make their case”.

Her point of view, she said for the moment, is “wait and see”. During town hall, she said she would conduct polls towards the end of the year and said she continued to welcome comments from citizens no matter what they think of the matter.

The city committee also retained two prominent lobbyists for the 2020 legislative session.

When a citizen asked Kirkpatrick where Dollar was, she said he was out of the country and would be back on Tuesday.

The crowd got noisy at times during a question and answer period. The questions should have been written on index cards, but some shouted questions or made statements, often in opposition to the city.

New city map from EC
TThe revised map would include the northeast corner of East Cobb.

Others were concerned about how the town of East Cobb would affect public schools. When Birdwell repeatedly said there would be no effect on schools, including Cobb’s senior tax exemption, some citizens interrupted anyway.

According to Georgian law, new towns cannot create school districts. School districts stay in towns like Marietta, which have had them for many years.

We’ll have more of Monday’s reunion and other city news after a forum Tuesday between Birdwell and Bill Simon of the East Cobb Alliance, which opposes the city.

This forum will take place during an East Cobb Business Association luncheon.

And as soon as we have a better map of the proposed boundaries of the revised town of East Cobb, we’ll post it here as well. Birdwell said the state legislative office may take some time to make it accessible to the public.

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