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Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#1 Sep 12, 2010
Douglas County Sentinel
Friday September 10, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Fundamental procedures

On May 10, 2007, the city of Douglasville purchased 136.188 acres of land off Bright Star Road presumably for a city park. The price for the land was $2,315,197.19. Additionally the city paid $1,750 for a “Phase I Environmental Site Assessment” and $8,027 for a “Conceptual Master Plan.” The site assessment was to determine if there was any above ground waste disposal onsite. The master plan was to make an artists rendering of a group of ball fields and a doggie walk.

The assessment showed no hazardous waste, and the conceptual plan showed how it was possible to shoehorn 11 ball fields in between the creeks, hills and valleys on this property.

I have conducted a fairly extensive review of the city council minutes of meetings prior to the purchase and have found no reference to any discussions, debates, questions or concerns from any council member or the mayor about this project and the purchase of the land. I did however, find two references to an option on the property and one reference to instructing the city manager to advise the owner that the city will be exercising its’ option.

I also found authorization from the city council to allow the mayor to close the transaction. I find it very odd that there was no open discussion during city council meetings concerning this project. Although I realize there has been some reference in the mayors “State of the City” address, it was referred to as “a park south of I-20.” I have never understood the logic behind this project and now after reviewing the details it is even more bizarre.

Typically when one buys a large tract of property to be developed for a specific use and purpose, one goes through a “due diligence” phase to verify the price is appropriate and an extensive critical review to determine the economic feasibility, the physical impact on the surrounding property and the end cost. These are fundamental procedures prior to spending the money. I find no evidence this was ever done.

After some apparent behind the scenes discussion it was apparently determined by the mayor and the city council that this was not an economically viable project after all. I think those in the know call this a boondoggle. Mayor Thompson was interviewed by this newspaper concerning the city’s decision to abandon the project. In addition to some other words, he stated that “he does not regret buying the property.” So I guess what he said was he did not regret squandering $2,324,974.19 of tax payer money. As a taxpayer of Douglasville, I am outraged by this lack of good fiscal judgment.

Ron Wilson
Douglasville
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#2 Sep 12, 2010
Note:
Ron Wilson unsuccessfully ran for Douglasville mayor against Mickey Thompson in 2007.
He is the chairman of the Development Authority of Douglas County and the owner of a telecommunications business.

The minutes he mentioned that he has reviewed would not show any discussion that might have been held in committee meetings or in executive session.
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#3 Sep 12, 2010
The parcel in question is parcel # 01250250106 located at 3677 Bright Star Rd, which appears to be outside of the city limits and is not contiguous to the city.
It is next to Bright Star Methodist Church, the Bright Star Estates subdivision, the Pleasant Valley Acres subdivision and the Birchwood Estates dubdivision.

The 2010 county assessment on this property $1,225,700.

You can see it here:

http://gis.co.douglas.ga.us/start.aspx
miajoon

Douglasville, GA

#4 Sep 12, 2010
Why would the City consider a city park outside the city?

What is the point of renovating Hunter Park if a new park is to be developed within 2 miles?
no trouble with the truth

Douglasville, GA

#5 Sep 12, 2010
Maybe it would enlighten us if the owner of the property was revealed and the relationship, if any, to the city of D'ville purchasers.
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#6 Sep 12, 2010
no trouble with the truth wrote:
Maybe it would enlighten us if the owner of the property was revealed and the relationship, if any, to the city of D'ville purchasers.
The city bought the property from Canopy Poperties, LLC. Anyone know who that is?(Aug. 2007 for $2,315,197)

Canopy Properties, LLC bought the property from PEC Development Group I, Inc. in November 2005 for $1,050,000. Anyone know who PEC Development Group is?

So, in just 21 months, Canopy had a 120% return on their investment.
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#7 Sep 12, 2010
Canopy Properties, LLC does own one other parcel in Douglas County. 01880250017 a house an 5 acres off of N. Baggett Rd.
They acquired this property in March 2008 via quit claim deed from Robert Vansant.

They Vansants founded Douglasville. Are they Canopy Properties? Anyone know?
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#8 Sep 12, 2010
Not Ron wrote:
Canopy Properties, LLC does own one other parcel in Douglas County. 01880250017 a house an 5 acres off of N. Baggett Rd.
They acquired this property in March 2008 via quit claim deed from Robert Vansant.
They Vansants founded Douglasville. Are they Canopy Properties? Anyone know?
This same N. Baggett Rd. property seems to be surrounded by other properties that are also either owned by Vansants or are owned by entities that acquired the properties via quit claims from the Vansants.

So, if Canopy is a Vansant family vehicle, why would the City buy property from them at a price more than double what they had paid for it less than two years prior, with a story that they wanted to build a park there when it is not even near the city limits???
Not Ron Either

Marietta, GA

#9 Sep 12, 2010
From The Georgia Secetary of State Web's Site

Business Name History

----------

Name Name Type
CANOPY PROPERTIES, LLC Current Name

----------

Limited Liability Company - Domestic - Information

Control No.: 0574857
Status: Active/Noncompliance

Entity Creation Date: 11/9/2005

Jurisdiction: GA
Principal Office Address: 75 Fourteenth Street, Suite 2710
The Tower Above The Four Seasons
Atlanta GA 30309
Last Annual Registration Filed Date: 3/31/2009
Last Annual Registration Filed: 2009

----------

Registered Agent

Agent Name: Graham, Christopher T.
Office Address: 75 Fourteenth Street, Suite 2710
The Tower Above The Four Seasons
Atlanta GA 30309
Agent County: Fulton
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#10 Sep 12, 2010
Not Ron Either wrote:
From The Georgia Secetary of State Web's Site
Business Name History
----------
Name Name Type
CANOPY PROPERTIES, LLC Current Name
----------
Limited Liability Company - Domestic - Information
Control No.: 0574857
Status: Active/Noncompliance
Entity Creation Date: 11/9/2005
Jurisdiction: GA
Principal Office Address: 75 Fourteenth Street, Suite 2710
The Tower Above The Four Seasons
Atlanta GA 30309
Last Annual Registration Filed Date: 3/31/2009
Last Annual Registration Filed: 2009
----------
Registered Agent
Agent Name: Graham, Christopher T.
Office Address: 75 Fourteenth Street, Suite 2710
The Tower Above The Four Seasons
Atlanta GA 30309
Agent County: Fulton
Interesting that they were created at the same time they bought the parcel that they later sold to the city.
Not much other info there except for the lawyer's name and address.

Since: Sep 09

Douglasville, GA

#11 Sep 12, 2010
Not Ron wrote:
<quoted text>
This same N. Baggett Rd. property seems to be surrounded by other properties that are also either owned by Vansants or are owned by entities that acquired the properties via quit claims from the Vansants.
So, if Canopy is a Vansant family vehicle, why would the City buy property from them at a price more than double what they had paid for it less than two years prior, with a story that they wanted to build a park there when it is not even near the city limits???
Maybe the powers in charge are planning to incorporate the property into the city limits much like they did part of Lithis Springs in order to make money from taxes. I have my doubts that parks or ball fields will be built.... stores and restaurants aremore profitable to the city.
mmm15937

Powder Springs, GA

#12 Sep 12, 2010
Maybe they could build another mall at that location. Since the first one has done so much to improve the county just think what two could do.
Better yet the city could build a bunch of section 8 apartments there and make money off the federal government.

Since: Sep 09

Douglasville, GA

#13 Sep 12, 2010
mmm15937 wrote:
Maybe they could build another mall at that location. Since the first one has done so much to improve the county just think what two could do.
Better yet the city could build a bunch of section 8 apartments there and make money off the federal government.
Oh please don't give them any ideas......they are just greedy and dumb enough to do just that! LOL
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#14 Sep 12, 2010
Dont Tread On Me 1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Maybe the powers in charge are planning to incorporate the property into the city limits much like they did part of Lithis Springs in order to make money from taxes. I have my doubts that parks or ball fields will be built.... stores and restaurants aremore profitable to the city.
But to annex the land, it would have to be adjacent to the city limits. In the past they have gotten around that by using the interstate or a state park in between. Looking at the map, I don't see how they could achieve that here unless they use something like a sewer line or some other utility easement.
tsm

Douglasville, GA

#15 Sep 12, 2010
The mayor has pledged 50 acres of the land to GA Highlands College for their eventual campus. I'll let you all make your own judgements on that one. I've been pretty vocal about where I think it should go.
Tax and Spend

New York, NY

#16 Sep 13, 2010
The land on Bright Star is the land that a developer wanted to have rezoned to a high density residential subdivision. The developer initially got the rezoning and purchased the land. The rezoning was based on some kind of "grandfathering" issue to allow the high density residential as I believe that the land is in the Dog River Water Basin (??) which requires three acres per house.

After the developer got the zoning they wanted a citizens group filed a law suit challenging this "grandfather" rezoning and won. I believe that this happened during the Rita Rainwater era. With the zoning restricted to 1 house per 3 acres the developer decided that he could not economically build houses at that location. Effectively the developer was stuck with the land. That is until the City came to the rescue:

As part of the 2002 SPLOST the City was supposed to do parks improvement. They did some work at Jesse Davis Park and made a master plan for Hunter Park. I think that they even spent a few bucks putting in a "park" that is right on the railroad track in downtown. For some reason, the City never moved forward with the master plan for Hunter Park (until 2010).

For some other ridiculous reason, the City decided that it owed its citizens that lived south of I-20 a Park, so it purchased the land from the developer. Ignoring the fact that the land was not only not in the City but as noted above, not adjacent to it either so it could not be annexed. Additionally, a City citizen would probably live closer to Hunter Park than to the land in question.

Well either the City came to its senses or simply lied about the reason to purchase the land - you decide - and went back to the Hunter Park improvements that are now underway.

Currently, the City is holding the land (or 50 acres of it as noted above) for the possibility of the Cub Foods College moving to it in the future.

$2.3 million dollars of the Citizens Money wasted !!!

Like Louis XVI says in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1 "It's good to be the King!"
ChaCha

United States

#17 Sep 13, 2010
Tax and Spend wrote:
Well either the City came to its senses or simply lied about the reason to purchase the land - you decide
I decided; it was all a big fat lie.

Since: Aug 10

Douglas County Ga

#18 Sep 13, 2010
mmm15937 wrote:
Maybe they could build another mall at that location. Since the first one has done so much to improve the county just think what two could do.
Better yet the city could build a bunch of section 8 apartments there and make money off the federal government.
Do not give Mickey Thompson and crew any ideas, because they'd end up doing it. Ughhhh that's all we need are MORE section 8 apartments in town.
Not Ron

Douglasville, GA

#19 Sep 13, 2010
Tax and Spend wrote:
The land on Bright Star is the land that a developer wanted to have rezoned to a high density residential subdivision. The developer initially got the rezoning and purchased the land. The rezoning was based on some kind of "grandfathering" issue to allow the high density residential as I believe that the land is in the Dog River Water Basin (??) which requires three acres per house.
After the developer got the zoning they wanted a citizens group filed a law suit challenging this "grandfather" rezoning and won. I believe that this happened during the Rita Rainwater era. With the zoning restricted to 1 house per 3 acres the developer decided that he could not economically build houses at that location. Effectively the developer was stuck with the land. That is until the City came to the rescue:
As part of the 2002 SPLOST the City was supposed to do parks improvement. They did some work at Jesse Davis Park and made a master plan for Hunter Park. I think that they even spent a few bucks putting in a "park" that is right on the railroad track in downtown. For some reason, the City never moved forward with the master plan for Hunter Park (until 2010).
For some other ridiculous reason, the City decided that it owed its citizens that lived south of I-20 a Park, so it purchased the land from the developer. Ignoring the fact that the land was not only not in the City but as noted above, not adjacent to it either so it could not be annexed. Additionally, a City citizen would probably live closer to Hunter Park than to the land in question.
Well either the City came to its senses or simply lied about the reason to purchase the land - you decide - and went back to the Hunter Park improvements that are now underway.
Currently, the City is holding the land (or 50 acres of it as noted above) for the possibility of the Cub Foods College moving to it in the future.
$2.3 million dollars of the Citizens Money wasted !!!
Like Louis XVI says in Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1 "It's good to be the King!"
Wow thanks for the info.
Do you know anything about the developer or why the city would bail them out?
Smithers

Douglasville, GA

#20 Sep 13, 2010
Not Ron wrote:
Douglas County Sentinel
Friday September 10, 2010
Letters to the Editor
Fundamental procedures
On May 10, 2007, the city of Douglasville purchased 136.188 acres of land off Bright Star Road presumably for a city park. The price for the land was $2,315,197.19. Additionally the city paid $1,750 for a “Phase I Environmental Site Assessment” and $8,027 for a “Conceptual Master Plan.” The site assessment was to determine if there was any above ground waste disposal onsite. The master plan was to make an artists rendering of a group of ball fields and a doggie walk.
The assessment showed no hazardous waste, and the conceptual plan showed how it was possible to shoehorn 11 ball fields in between the creeks, hills and valleys on this property.
I have conducted a fairly extensive review of the city council minutes of meetings prior to the purchase and have found no reference to any discussions, debates, questions or concerns from any council member or the mayor about this project and the purchase of the land. I did however, find two references to an option on the property and one reference to instructing the city manager to advise the owner that the city will be exercising its’ option.
I also found authorization from the city council to allow the mayor to close the transaction. I find it very odd that there was no open discussion during city council meetings concerning this project. Although I realize there has been some reference in the mayors “State of the City” address, it was referred to as “a park south of I-20.” I have never understood the logic behind this project and now after reviewing the details it is even more bizarre.
Typically when one buys a large tract of property to be developed for a specific use and purpose, one goes through a “due diligence” phase to verify the price is appropriate and an extensive critical review to determine the economic feasibility, the physical impact on the surrounding property and the end cost. These are fundamental procedures prior to spending the money. I find no evidence this was ever done.
After some apparent behind the scenes discussion it was apparently determined by the mayor and the city council that this was not an economically viable project after all. I think those in the know call this a boondoggle. Mayor Thompson was interviewed by this newspaper concerning the city’s decision to abandon the project. In addition to some other words, he stated that “he does not regret buying the property.” So I guess what he said was he did not regret squandering $2,324,974.19 of tax payer money. As a taxpayer of Douglasville, I am outraged by this lack of good fiscal judgment.
Ron Wilson
Douglasville
Of course the money was wasted, this is Douglas County after all

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