Riverwalk hearing set for Monday
by Nikki Wiley
December 28, 2013 09:29 PM | 2171 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Naysayers of a tax break proposed for a wealthy developer’s $103 million apartment and office development have another chance to speak Monday.

Cobb Superior Court Senior Judge Michael Stoddard postponed hearing objections to a bond the Development Authority of Cobb County wants to issue after the Cobb County School District filed an official objection Dec. 16.

A second hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in Courtroom 2000 at Cobb Superior Court.

The school system is worried about the financial impact the proposed property tax break could have on Cobb’s schools which are already facing an $80 million deficit.

The Development Authority bond would grant a 10-year graduated tax abatement to real estate mogul John Williams’ Riverwalk development proposed for Cumberland near the new Atlanta Braves stadium.

It’s proposed to contain 236 for-lease condos, 14 three-story townhome apartments and a 10-story office tower.

The project didn’t meet the county’s requirements of creating 25 jobs and contributing $500,000 to the tax digest, but the Development Authority, which is chaired by Vinings Bank executive Clark Hungerford, husband of Cheryl Hungerford, a deputy superintendent for the school district, is moving ahead anyway with the tax incentive.

Todd Hatcher, attorney for Cobb schools, doubts the court will consider arguments from the school system Monday, reserving that for a later hearing, but said the hearing gives a chance for any other individuals or groups

against the bond to voice their concerns.

Tom Charron, Cobb Superior Court administrator, said he was not aware of any official objections filed by a party other than Cobb schools.

A third hearing is set for Jan. 10, and that’s when Hatcher said the school district will most likely lay out its arguments.

Cobb schools Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and Chairman Randy Scamihorn have both raised concerns about how the tax break could cost the school system as much as $8 million over 10 years.

The two parcels that make up the 7 acres of undeveloped land are currently valued at about $6.1 million for tax purposes, according to the Cobb County Tax Commissioner’s website. That raw land generated $46,433 for the Cobb School District in 2013 and $26,803 for the county.

If developed into a $100 million project, the site would pump more than 15 times that amount annually into county coffers, with $436,400 generated for the county and another $756,000 for Cobb schools, according to estimates provided by the county finance office.

Want to go?

* What: Hearing on tax break for $103 million Riverwalk development before Cobb Superior Court Senior Judge Michael Stoddard

* Where: Courtroom 2000, Cobb Superior Court

* When: 10 a.m. Monday

* Who: Those with objections to the tax break deal

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