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Posted by on September 13, 2011.

Dunwoody Council discusses rules for buying park property

With voters poised to weigh in on a parks bond referendum in November, the Dunwoody City Council is now debating the specifics of how it would acquire park land if the referendum is approved.

At the Sept. 12 city council meeting, City Manager Warren Hutmacher presented the council with documents that outline procedures for buying park land if voters approve the referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot that would allow the city borrow up to $33 million to buy land for future parks.

“This is not a priority list,” Hutmacher said. “It’s just saying here are all the general criteria for land that we would go after potentially.”

City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser had several concerns about the documents, especially the portion that says, “If the city determines that the land cannot be used for its intended purpose, the city may dispose of the property in a manner consistent with Georgia law.”

“The last thing I want is the city (determining) land cannot be used for its intended purposes,” Bonser said.

Hutmacher said Georgia law already allows city to sell property and put the money back in to the parks fund. He suggested the council might prefer removing the clause that allows the city to resell the property.

“It certainly would be a last case scenario and would be a very rare instance where we would do that,” he said.

Dunwoody resident Bob Lundsten told the council during the public comment period that he thought the clause was a dangerous loophole.

He said he is worried that money for parks would be used to buy up low-income properties in the city and prevent the future development of multi-family housing.

“I have some concern that this park money is an opportunity for the city of Dunwoody to go out and control redevelopment in this city,” Lundsten said. “The first issue that comes up all the time is if we buy X piece of property, we can eliminate the apartments ….You don’t re-engineer the demographics of the city under the guise of park funds.”

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