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08 October 2014

Union City Has Made It Clear, Pointer Ridge & Pinetree Should Not Join the City of South Fulton

Along Flat Shoals Road, in unincorporated south Fulton County, sits two subdivisions where more than 3,600 registered voters make their home.

The Pinetree and Pointer Ridge subdivisions are two of Flat Shoals' oldest communities, existing for over thirty years.

Both communities witnessed their fair share of change over time; from seeing a townhome development built on the former site of a Pike Family Nurseries, to observing their local Winn-Dixie and A&P stores replaced with Kroger and Wal-Mart shopping centers. Now Pointer Ridge and Pinetree are being asked to change their form of governance. The 3,600 registered voters who live in those two communities are being asked by elected officials and other activists to incorporate and become part of the proposed city of South Fulton.

However, recent actions by the neighboring city of Union City indicate that joining Union City is a better choice than creating a new city.

(Union City, shown in blue, shares borders with the Pointer Ridge [SC29A] and Pinetree [SC11B] communities. Image courtesy Fulton County GIS.)
Union City is quite literally a stone's throw from Pinetree and Pointer Ridge. The Union City limits (shown right in blue) stops at the entrance of Pointer Ridge (voting precinct SC29A). A short ride further down Flat Shoals Road brings you to Kimberly Mill Road, and the entrance of Pinetree (voting precinct SC11B).

For months now, residents in Pinetree and Pointer Ridge watched as Union City authorized the construction of industrial distribution warehouses less than a five minute drive from their homes.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported, in December 2013, "Procter & Gamble will occupy a more than 1-million-square-foot building to be developed at Interstate 85 and Flat Shoals Road in Union City, according to people with knowledge of the project."

The Procter & Gamble project is nearly complete, but the two subdivisions affected most by this big industrial development were not included in the decision-making process.

Despite being the neighbors of the new Procter & Gamble warehouses, Pointer Ridge and Pinetree were not consulted.

Neither community needed to be consulted because neither one is actually in the City of Union City. None of the 3,600-plus registered voters of Pinetree and Pointer Ridge pay taxes to Union City. None of the 3,600-plus registered voters of these communities elect the Union City Mayor or City Council Members. Neither one of these two communities has a say in the affairs of Union City, because they are not Union City residents.

And . . . the type of industrial development that encroaches upon established residential neighborhoods will only continue if Pointer Ridge and Pinetree joins the proposed city of South Fulton. Including these two communities in the new city will be the same as remaining unincorporated.

Much like the Fulton County Commission could do nothing to stop Union City from approving the construction of the Procter & Gamble facility, the South Fulton City Council will be hogtied in the same manner.

Joining the City of Union City is the only common sense solution for Pinetree and Pointer Ridge residents seeking to protect their quality of life.

If the 3,600 registered voters of Pointer Ridge and Pinetree became full taxpaying residents of Union City, they could push district-voting in Union City, and demand the General Assembly draw city council maps that includes a seat dedicated to Pinetree and Pointer Ridge. If those 3,600 voters joined Union City, they could demand seats on the planning and zoning boards. If those good people that I call neighbors and friends joined Union City, we could rally together and demand Procter & Gamble be a good corporate citizen in our two communities.

Seven years ago, I helped lead the efforts to create the proposed city of South Fulton. You can still find my name on the campaign finance documents for the Citizens for the City of South Fulton committee. While I wish the city of South Fulton had been established in 2007, current circumstances prevent me from saying my community should be in the new city now.

Union City's actions has made it clear. Pointer Ridge and Pinetree should reject the new city of South Fulton in favor of annexation into the City of Union City.