Council Approves Use of Eminent Domain, Rezoning
Council approved a measure to acquire 955 Concord Road by any lawful means, even eminent domain. This is the only remaining property the city needs to acquire before it can begin SPLOST improvements to Concord Road in September.
At its meeting last night Smyrna City Council voted 5-2 to begin the process of acquiring the last lot for redevelopment for the Concord Road SPLOST Project by eminent domain if necessary. Susan Wilkinson, Ward 5, and Ron Fennel, Ward 7, cast the two dissenting votes.
The City only needs to acquire one more lot at 955 Concord Road before it can begin SPLOST improvements to the corridor in September. Ward 5 Councilman Charles "Corkey" Welch told Smyrna-Vinings Patch Sunday that the city is considering eminent domain as an option for acquiring the property and that it needs to take this action now as the eminent domain process can take up to six months to complete.
But Fennel said he doesn’t think eminent domain should be an option in this case.
“I’m a property rights advocate,” he said. “I’m not in favor of eminent domain as a solution. It is the last resort and I want to retain it as that last right.
Wilkinson cited similar reasons for opposing the measure. She also voted against another agenda item; the rezoning of a two lots on Medlin Street from commercial to residential.
The developer spoke before Council and said he plans to build two single-family residences on the lots. Originally residential, these lots were zoned for commercial use in 2008 for development of a parking lot that would have supported a nearby mixed-use development. The developer asked Council to approve a measure to convert it back to residential zoning.
“What I am opposed to is that there were six lots there together that were zoned commercial,” she said. “By changing one back to residential and putting two houses on it it’s going to effect the rest of them and I think the whole block needs to be developed together at the same time. Otherwise when you start doing that sized house on smaller lots you get more driveways, more concrete and then you also have more runoff.”
The rezoning measure passed 6-1.
Council also unanimously passed a service agreement with Granicus Inc., a service that will allow for live streaming of City Council meetings. In reading the background of the agreement, City Administrator Eric Taylor said it would also catalogue the meetings online and allow citizens to watch past meetings at any time.
Melleny Pritchett, Ward 1 Council Representative, thanked the Vision Committee for recommending the program.
“No taxpayer dollars are being used in this special records management fund,” she said. “We’re taking the money from the special records fund of $94,000 and change to purchase all this, the equipment and the service contract. And that’s very special because it’s not tax payer dollars that we’re using, but the taxpayers will definitely benefit.
Wade Lnenicka, Ward 6 Council Representative, said the service should be up and running in the next three to four months.