BREAKING: Task Force for the Homeless Eminent Domain Feasibility Study Sought (UPDATE 1)
UPDATE 1: The legislation actually passed Committee, according to Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9), who was the only nay vote. (see below for more.)
(APN) ATLANTA — Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2) has introduced legislation to begin the process of studying the feasibility of the City of Atlanta acquiring two properties, including 475 Peachtree, where the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless currently houses hundreds of homeless men and women, possibly through eminent domain.
Hall introduced the legislation as a personal paper at the November 16, 2015 Full Council Meeting.
Today, Wednesday, December 02, 2015, the City Council of Atlanta’s Finance/Executive Committee considered the paper, 15-O-1549. The Committee voted to approve the paper, with Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9), the only nay vote.
The legislation would create a feasibility study to look at possibly using the properties for police and fire purposes.
The caption reads as follows:
“AN ORDINANCE BY COUNCILMEMBER KWANZA HALL AUTHORIZING THE CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER OR HIS DESIGNEE, ON BEHALF OF THE ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ATLANTA FIRE RESCUE DEPARTMENT, TO OBTAIN AN APPRAISAL, TITLE REPORT, AND SURVEY, IF NEEDED, TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PROPERTY FOR POLICE AND FIRE USES; TO AUTHORIZE POTENTIAL NEGOTIATIONS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SEC. 2-1541 OF THE CITY CODE OF ORDINANCES, FOR THE ACQUISITION OF FEE SIMPLE TITLE TO PROPERTY LOCATED AT 475 PEACHTREE… AND 463 PEACHTREE STREET; FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING A POLICE AND FIRE FACILITY; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”
The legislation states that, should the feasibility study conclude that the properties should be used for police and fire purposes, that the City would try to negotiate with the property owners to purchase said properties.
If the negotiations fail, the legislation states that “further authorization will be obtained from the Atlanta City Council to take the necessary steps to condemn the Properties pursuant to the Special Master Method, O.C.G.A. § 22-2-100 et seq. or other condemnation method, as may be appropriate, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §22-2-1, et seq.”
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, the title to 475 Peachtree Street is still in question, as the Supreme Court of Georgia recently ruled that the Task Force has viable wrongful foreclosure claims against PFS Solutions, the purported owner of the building.
PFS appears to have participated in a conspiracy to deprive the Task Force of funding and force it into foreclosure.
“It’s a premature piece of legislation, considering the legal issues that are going on
at this time, and in light of other [proposed fire and safety] projects that have gone through the process that have been waiting to be funded,” Moore told APN.
“I just didn’t see the reason for us do it,” Moore said.
During the Committee Meeting, Councilman Howard Shook (District 7) raised the concern that he has been asking for a fire station in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood for some time, and that this other fire station should get in line.
Shook’s comments bolster the notion that the City is not pursuing this legislation on account of public safety priorities.
The presence of a homeless shelter appears to have become an impediment to the City’s plans to redevelop the site of the former Civic Center.
A spokesman for Weingarten Realty Investors, which has an agreement with the City of Atlanta to buy the Civic Center property, has said the company is concerned about the “situation” involving the Task Force.
Asked about his thoughts on the nearby Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter, Bill Coats, a Vice President for Weingarten, told Saporta Report: “It’s something we think is going to be resolved. Obviously we would prefer if that were a better situation.”
Previously, Mayor Kasim Reed had stated his intention to pursue condemnation of the Task Force, in a speech to the business community.
“How do you purchase something, the title to which hasn’t been decided yet?” Anita Beaty, Executive Director of the Task Force, asked, in an interview with APN.
“I think this is some sort of political posturing. There’s a lot to be done legally [to condemn a property for public purposes], and it’s very costly,” Beaty said.
“And we’re likely gonna win in court, we think,” Beaty said.
“I’m particularly unhappy with Kwanza Hall. Kwanza Hall will have a difficult time with getting the support of progressives in Atlanta in his run for Mayor,” Beaty said.
APN was not able to immediately reach Hall.
UPDATE 1: The legislation actually passed Committee, according to Councilwoman Felicia Moore (District 9), who was the only nay vote. A previous version of this article stated that the legislation was held.
Moore told APN that she also believed the paper was going to be held, but that when she left the meeting and came back, she learned it had already been voted upon. Moore said she asked for the vote to be reconsidered so that her nay vote could be recorded, and it was.
The legislation will now appear at the Full Council Meeting on Monday, December 07, 2015, under the Finance/Executive Committee report.