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Avondale Estates to use eminent domain for portion of Avila property

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Avondale Estates to use eminent domain for portion of Avila property

Photo is a screenshot of Google Maps.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission approved a resolution at a special called meeting on Monday, June 21, to declare the city’s intent to use eminent domain to acquire the property at 147 Oak Street for public road or other transportation purposes. 

The property is owned by 278 Oak Holdings, LLC, according to the resolution

The property is owned by Avila Real Estate. The property was purchased by Avila in 2014 and they are working toward designing the land, which is anticipated to be multifamily rental, for sale townhomes and other uses, according to the Avila Real Estate website

The city, however, plans to use eminent domain to acquire 0.355 acres of the 13-acre parcel and not the full 13 acres. The 0.355 acres was appraised at $560,000 to be paid to the property owner by the city. 

The property is needed for the town green project and a portion of the road that will connect Washington and Parry Streets.

“This acquisition would allow us to construct the road on the north side of the park between Lake and Oak [Streets], not the full Washington-Parry connector,” City Manager Patrick Bryant told Decaturish. “But it’s part of that, but it’s just a little piece.”

The city has adopted a street grid and this project is part of that, Commissioner Dee Merriam said, adding this was an appropriate action for the city to take.

Other commissioners agreed.

“I just believe this is in the best long term interest of the city of Avondale Estates,” Commissioner Lisa Shortell said. 

Christian Torgrimson, the attorney for the property owner, attended the meeting virtually through Zoom and expressed her concerns about the resolution. 

“We think the passage of the resolution authorizing use of eminent domain condemnation proceedings is premature at this point for a couple of reasons,” Torgrimson said. 

She claimed that the property owner has not received the required level of disclosure of information from the city that goes with the offer that explains the basis of the offer and how the city reached the $560,000 amount. 

“The owner also has not been provided a sufficient level of information as to the project itself and the component parts of the taking,” Torgrimson said. 

She added that yesterday she did receive some of the disclosures that had been requested but that more detailed information was needed to fully assess the offer and be given the opportunity to negotiate without the pressure of the condemnation resolution hanging over the proceedings. 

She hopes to continue working with the city to reach a resolution. 

Bryant said the city has provided all the information required by law.

“We have provided the property owner with all information required by law as well as additional information that they specifically requested,” Bryant told Decaturish. “We will continue to share information and negotiate in good faith with the owner with a goal of acquiring the needed right of way property by a voluntary sale.”

The City Commission did ultimately pass the resolution unanimously, although Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher was not in attendance.

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