Friday, September 2, 2011

Park It

Please quit with the "we need more green space" blather. It is unadulterated crap. And we probably don't even need the baseball fields we have let alone any more so let's just cut to the chase.

The Mr. Hyde side of the City seems consumed by lust over other people's money and getting their chance to spend it. A city councilman was quoted in the AJC referring not only to the pre-committed purchase but others as well saying, "With $27 million left [...] we can go shopping." Wow! Did someone elect a pre-pubescent teenage girl to city council and does she think she's at the mall with daddy's credit card?

Our version of Dr. Jekyll in the land grab debate argues this is a buyer's market, and we should act before the situation changes though it doesn't look like it will for some time. Acting soon doesn't mean you cannot or should not negotiate a better price nor does it mean that every bit of property is a good buy. And Bill Grant, who knows a thing or two about buying up Dunwoody property, has suggested that as the "only buyer" Dunwoody could negotiate a better price and shouldn't rush into anything. While he does have a vested interest in the availability of undeveloped property in Dunwoody, he also has a point. 

But timing the market is not the real issue at hand. A high ranking city official was once quoted by one of his friends as saying "We formed the city too late. Too many apartments are already here." Well, maybe, and maybe not.

Clearly the Pipe Farm purchase was to prevent the completion of an already in-progress apartment complex. The Shallowford Hospital property is most appropriate for high density housing rather than upscale dining, technology incubators, Rodeo Drive retail, or even parks. But god and voting taxpayers willing, Dunwoody will take that off the market as well.

Now is a perfect time to put it to a vote. Homeowners, even in Dunwoody, cannot quickly turn their property and certainly not at the price they want. Imagine if they could. Wouldn't any sane homeowner sell, move out and up, to an area where prices have not held up, and get a bigger, newer home and better schools? Since they cannot or will not move, paying to build a moat, albeit a green space moat, is suddenly an attractive alternative, even given you would be instituting a tax that will never go away and eliminating other sources of revenue.

So the referendum for purchasing property presents a simple question to folks in Dunwoody:
"How much will you pay to keep those other people out"?