A gated country club near Atlanta wanted to secede from its city because residents wanted a Cheesecake Factory, denying claims that it was because a Black mayor was elected.
A measure in Henry County failed after it didn’t get enough votes during the 2018 midterm elections last week that would have seen half of the residents of Stockbridge leave to form a new town called Eagle’s Landing.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3,473 people voted to secede, while 4,545 were against the measure.
Plans to leave came up after Stockbridge not only elected a Black mayor but an all-Black city council, per CityLab.
If enacted, real estate owned by the wealthiest taxpayers in the city would have left the city, “leaving behind a smaller, mostly African American population with fewer resources to pay for Stockbridge city services,” per CityLab.
Vikki Consiglio, the chair of the Committee for the City of Eagle’s Landing told CityLab that the decision to put the measure on the ballot wasn’t because of racism, but because people wanted a Cheesecake Factory in the town.
“I serve on the Henry County zoning board and so I kept seeing all of these places like Bojangles, Waffle Houses, dollar stores, and all this going up in our county,” she said. “And I was like, why can’t we get a Cheesecake Factory, or a P.F. Chang’s or a Houston’s? We have areas that have high incomes, so what’s the deal?”
Consiglio claims that the Cheesecake factory considered building a location in the town, but dropped its plans because of the median household income, which sits near $55,000.
“It came up to, you know, form a city because that’s the only way you’re going to do it,” said Consiglio. “And if this could happen, we’d have more control of our area, and we’d get to see what comes in here. We’d get to control zoning. We’d get to control code enforcement. Then we can hopefully hold the carrot out and say we want a Cheesecake Factory.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.