Mar 29, 2022 - News

Mableton cityhood bill passes Georgia legislature

Boundaries for proposed city of Mableton

The boundaries for the proposed city of Mableton. Map: Georgia House Budget and Research Office

Mableton residents will soon be able to decide if they want to form a city. A bill calling for a referendum to incorporate the South Cobb County community passed the Senate last week and is waiting on Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature.

Why it matters: Mableton, home to more than 40,000 residents, is one of four unincorporated areas in Cobb that could become cities by the end of the year. Incorporation of Lost Mountain, East Cobb and Vinings are already on the May 24 primary ballot.

  • If signed into law, Mabelton's referendum will be placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Between the lines: State Rep. Erica Thomas, who sponsored the legislation, tells Axios that Mableton residents want more control over issues such as zoning and code enforcement.

Unlike the cityhood movements in Fulton and DeKalb counties, Cobb's effort focuses on the future, says David Shock, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University.

  • Incorporation supporters in East Cobb and Lost Mountain are concerned about potential high-density housing like apartments in those areas, Shock tells Axios.
  • The Vinings push, he said, is partly driven by fears they could be annexed by the city of Smyrna.
  • In Mableton, supporters are focused on attracting higher quality projects that could spur economic development.

What we’re watching: Shock says Cobb residents are largely happy with lower property and sales taxes and the level of service they get from the county, so they will have to determine if they want to change that arrangement.

  • If cityhood passes, Shock tells Axios that it could lead to more conflict between Cobb and the cities of Lost Mountain and East Cobb because leaders in those communities have been more critical of the county’s zoning decisions.

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