Sandy Springs Business Owner Battles City Over Eminent Domain Taking

Eminent Domain, Just Compensation, Private Development

In February, 2018, the Sandy Springs City Council approved a plan to take several properties pursuant to its eminent domain powers. One of the properties seized by the city government was an insurance business owned by Randy Beavers. The business owner challenged the city’s exercise of its eminent domain powers claiming that the offer of compensation for his property was not “just” and that the city illegally intends to sell the property to another private developer.

This case raises important issues that are frequently disputed in government takings. Mr. Beavers states that he received a notice last year that the city intended to confiscate his property in order to widen the road and embark on a beautification project. In accordance with the requirements for seizure of property through eminent domain, the city offered the insurance salesman $358,000. Mr. Beavers purchased the property in 2004 for $300,000 and spent $50,000 to convert the space into an office. He contends that due to the location of the office on the corner of a heavily trafficked highway, he is entitled to a much larger sum. As such, he countered the city’s offer at $2.2 million based on the costs of purchasing another office as well as the accumulated rent value of the property.

The business owner also maintains that the city’s plan to use the property for private development is not permissible. According to Mr. Beavers, the seized property is part of the City Springs project, which includes a City Hall, performing arts center, half-acre park, restaurants, retail and event venues, and residential apartment complexes. According to the city, the redevelopment plan cited by the plaintiff is a “visioning document” and the city has no concrete plans to sell the property to a private developer following acquisition.

In August, the court approved the city’s exercise of eminent domain with respect to Mr. Beaver’s property. Town representatives stated that the city acted in an accordance with land acquisition guidelines and that Mr. Beavers rejected a proposal that, in fact, exceeded the compensation amount that was submitted by the city’s appraiser. City officials maintain that Mr. Beavers has not submitted evidence justifying his demand of $2.2 million for the land. The dispute over the appraisal amount will likely be settled in a separate jury trial next year.

The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at https://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.

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