Putting aside the concept of property ownership rights allowing property owners to do what they wish with their property as long as it legal, I’m glad that Atlanta voters may have an opportunity to vote on the ongoing and controversial proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. I also believe that if the residents of Atlanta have the opportunity to express their opposition, the residents of DeKalb County who live in close proximity to the proposed center should also have an opportunity to vote on its construction.
According to organizers and spokespersons of the group Stop Cop City, more than 116,000 people signed a petition requesting that city of Atlanta residents be given the opportunity to vote on the issue. However, an attorney claims that because petitioners failed to meet an Aug. 21 deadline for submission of the signed petition that, by law, the Atlanta city clerk’s office can’t accept the signatures for the purpose of validation of the signatures.
The proposed facility would be funded partially by taxpayers in Atlanta and Fulton County and would be built on land that is owned by the city of Atlanta but located within the borders of DeKalb County.
If the decision of whether to move forward with the planned construction is to be based on the support, or lack thereof, of the community, the issue should be placed on ballots throughout Fulton and DeKalb counties.
If the will of the people indicates there is more support than opposition to the project or if it indicates more of a desire for the facility to not be constructed, these results should be taken into consideration but should not be the determining factor.
No matter the outcome, however, I believe that unless there are already laws on the books prohibiting construction of such a project, the owners of the land should be allowed to do whatever they like as long as they are not harming anyone.