COBB COUNTY, Ga. — This week Gov. Brian Kemp signed one bill into law that will provide for a referendum on a new Cobb County city in May. Meanwhile, two other bills for new Cobb cities are progressing through the Georgia Senate, while a fourth remains in the Georgia House.
For a county that only has six officially incorporated cities currently, four new ones would present quite the new landscape.
It can be kind of hard to track how all this is going, so here's a quick look at the four cityhood bills and where they currently stand:
- Bill: H.B. 841
- Where it stands: This bill has been passed by both the Georgia House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday. Those who would live in the new city of East Cobb will get to vote on whether to establish the city in a referendum on May 24, which in Georgia is primary day. If it passes, they would vote on city government, such as a mayor and city council, in November.
- Where it is: A broad swath of land to the east of Marietta that would butt-up against the Fulton County border, with Roswell to the northeast and Sandy Springs to the southeast. Roswell Road would run east-to-west and Johnson Ferry Road would run north-to-south through the middle of the city.
- Bill: H.B. 826
- Where it stands: The bill was passed by the Senate by substitute (meaning with an amendment) on Thursday, 33-19. It will now go back to the House to approve the amendment (this also happened with East Cobb) and, in the likely event that happens, then go to the governor to be signed into law. A vote on making Lost Mountain into a city would take place on May 24 as well.
- Where it is: Lost Mountain would incorporate much of the current expanse of northwest Cobb, with a long western border along the Paulding County line, bordered by Macland Road to the south and mostly, though not precisely, following Barrett Parkway to the southeast and Stilesboro Road/Old Stilesboro Road to the northeast. Dallas Highway would run east-west through the city, which with a population north of 70,000 would be Cobb's largest.
- Bill: H.B. 840
- Where it stands: The Senate Rules Committee on Thursday added it to the Rules Calendar for next Tuesday, Feb. 22, meaning it will be put up for a floor debate and then a full Senate vote.
- Where it is: Vinings is a community on Cobb's southeast border with Fulton County, wedged between the Chattahoochee River and I-285. It is technically a census-designated place, but in many ways it is already considered a more or less de facto independent city, with the longstanding history and character of a small town.
- Bill: H.B. 839
- Where it stands: This bill was actually introduced last year and assigned to the Governmental Affairs Committee. It was given a second House read in January, roughly eight months after its first read. It has not had any action since though and, unlike the other bills, appears to be stalled. Its lack of momentum is noteworthy because, along with Austell, Mableton would be the only other city in Cobb County in which Black people make up the largest percentage of residents, while the other three cities under consideration would be majority white.
- Where it is: Like Vinings, Mableton is a longstanding community that more or less already has the look and feel of an independent town. A census-designated place, Mableton borders Austell to the west and runs as far east as the Chattahoochee, generally wedged north-south between the East-West Connector and I-20, with Six Flags Over Georgia just across I-20 on its southeast tip.