Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Update: ALG meeting with Barton & Blackmon neighbors

The area in question sits on a slice of land between North Decatur Rd. and Scott Blvd.
From Hans Williams, MANA Zoning Co-Chair:
Notes from meeting with Atlanta Land Group:  10-16-12 
• Atlanta Land Group (AGL) is investigating the 17-acre neighborhood between Scott Blvd and N. Decatur road
• ALG would work on behalf of the homeowners to broker a deal with a developer, who in turn would deal with commercial retailers.
• ALG is working with North Decatur Baptist Church in the sale of their land.
• ALG is seeking to represent the Barton Way and Blackmon neighbors as a collective, and admits that a few homeowners holding out can prevent any deal from taking place. ALG's deals with homeowners are contingent on both everyone agreeing to sell and the land being rezoned.
• ALG is primarily interested in the residential properties.  If a potential developer is interested in including the commercial properties behind the residential neighborhood, those could be included, but it is the residential properties that represent the highest developable value.  The commercial properties are irregular in shape and not conducive to the standardization most commercial retailers demand.
• ALG has confidence in being able to find developers and retailers who are interested in the properties, and that a deal could go through if the residents were willing.
• ALG will spend the next week to ten days talking with residents one on one, gathering feedback and gauging interest.  Then they will send out an email and let the homeowners know what the general consensus they are hearing is.  If there is consensus from the homeowners to move forward, and they have a verbal agreement from the enough home owners, they will have everyone sign a listing agreement.  A listing agreement will allow ALG to represent the homeowners for a set number of days (90 to 100).  During that time they will broker a deal with a potential developer, otherwise the deal will not happen.
• Once a deal has been brokered and a contract is signed by all homeowners, it will still take time before closing.  It could take 12 to 14 months from when the community is first contacted until closing.  And the sale is still contingent on the development passing the rezoning process.
• This neighborhood is a desirable neighborhood.  Retailers are seeking to move into more in-town neighborhoods with established population bases.  The location near Suburban Plaza and the City of Decatur makes this area very attractive.
Most of the questions revolved around how likely this was to actually happen.  There was definitely a mix of reactions from “This is about my home, not just money” to “It is all about money.”  I did not notice any real negativity towards the idea of this deal happening, only concern that homeowners can remain whole and skepticism that this will be successful.  A few homeowners at the meeting have been through this before, and expressed concern over the inevitable conflicts such a deal, successful or not, brings to the neighborhood.
The meeting was mostly limited to residents who are directly affected; in addition to the MANA zoning co-chair,  a representative from Commissioner Rader's office was also present.

MANA supports the homeowners' right to decide whatever is best for their families. The MANA zoning team will continue to monitor potential developments.