Brookhaven, GA, July 2, 2017 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven Councilmembers approved a resolution Thursday permitting City Attorney Chris Balch to “bring such action as may be necessary to secure, in fee simple, real property located within the City of Brookhaven for public purposes and/or roadways as authorized under Georgia Law – 1793 Briarwood Road.” More simply put, Brookhaven will use their powers of Eminent Domain to secure 19-acres along Briarwood Rd. for use as a trail head for the Peachtree Creek Greenway.
“The Council expressly finds that the acquisition of this property serves the public interest, or that the property will be utilized for public purposes and/or public transportation purposes, and is an appropriate use of the City’s power of eminent domain,” says the resolution that was passed unanimously June 29th.
According to the City of Brookhaven, negotiations to purchase the 19-acre tract through normal methods for a fair price have stalled. The City says they are willing to pay $340,000 for the land, based on a City appraisal. The land owner, however, rejected the City offer and made a counter-proposal of $2,300,000.
With their mind set on owning this property, Brookhaven will ask a Judge to decide the fair market price the City will pay the owner when they take ownership. By law, the City of Brookhaven will be required to compensate the current owners for a fair market value for the property. The City says more than 83% of this tract is located in a floodplain and unbuildable.
The Peachtree Creek Greenway group said on Tuesday they support the City of Brookhaven’s decision to utilize Eminent Domain in this instance.
The first phase is expected to cost $9 million, which the hotel/motel tax is expected to be used to service a 20-year revenue bond. City estimates indicate the annual amount available for construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway from an increase in the hotel/motel tax rate to 8 percent, will be about $650,000 annually.