MARIETTA — The Marietta City Council unanimously condemned two properties associated with City Councilman Philip Goldstein at its Wednesday night meeting.
The Council condemned 91 S. Marietta Parkway, a parking lot owned by Goldstein on the South Loop, and 72 Waverly Way, a parking lot owned by Goldstein’s father, Herbert, near the South Loop, to make way for a trail between Kennesaw Mountain and the Chattahoochee River.
Philip Goldstein abstained from the 6-0 vote.
The Council directed City Attorney Daniel White “to take any and all action necessary to acquire such property by virtue of eminent domain, including the right to file any appeals in such case.”
While the vote was not subject to a discussion during public session, White said after the meeting the matter is routine and not a result of a dispute.
“Georgia law requires if the city is acquiring property from a Council member, then it has to go through the condemnation process,” he said.
White said the only question the City Council wrestled with during Monday’s executive session on the matter was that of whether the ruling applied to the senior Goldstein’s property.
Because the younger Goldstein is acting as the real estate agent, the answer was yes.
“If another family member was the agent, I don’t think we’d be talking about it,” White said.
During the unscheduled speakers’ portion at the end of the meeting, Councilman Goldstein asked the council for more information before the condemnations were made final.
“In the letter that I received on these, there are certain things that were talked about. One is the survey, resetting pins, and the other is whether it’s a permanent easement,” he said. “There are some questions that need to be answered. I would like some responses.”
The councilman also asked if his father’s property could be excused from condemnation, as negotiations regarding it “should be relatively simple to solve.”
“If the issue is dealing with me, I have two other siblings here who can deal with this,” Goldstein said. “I’d like to ask whether prior to condemnation being filed if it can be worked out.”
The property’s price is unknown at this point.
City Manager Bill Bruton said Cobb County Superior Court sets the amount, which White said depends on appraisals, which he has not seen yet.
“Whether we acquire property voluntarily or through condemnation, we have to pay adequate compensation,” White said.
City Councilman Anthony Coleman said Tuesday the properties are adjacent to the upcoming multiuse trail between Kennesaw Mountain and the Chattahoochee River, a $750,000 SPLOST 2005 project, which includes a bridge to be built over the South Loop near the Square.
Coleman said securing the easements to the properties is important for the project to proceed.
“We’ve got to have right of way,” Coleman said. “The multiuse trail is already designed to go in that area.”
City Engineer Jim Wilgus said after the meeting the two properties are among the 52 parcels of right of way needed for the project, of which only 30 have been acquired.
“There’s 10 more in progress,” he said about negotiations.
The city faces an April deadline by which it must certify to the Georgia Department of Transportation that all parcels have been secured.
“Since it’s GDOT money, we have to follow federal procedure,” Wilgus said. “It’s very detailed.”
If the deadline is missed, Wilgus said, the city would “have to move the project.”
The project is scheduled to be put out to bid June, have contracts signed and construction begin in September and finish in 2014.
“It will take a year to build,” Wilgus said.
Bruton said while the purchase price may be negotiated later, the city can begin using its easements before the sale is final.
“It can take a year or two to process through a condemnation,” he said. “That protects the rights of the property owners.”