The Sprayberry Crossing Shopping Center at 2692 Sandy Plains Road in Marietta has been the subject of local ire for many years due to the crumbling and dangerous conditions. Last year, Joe Glancy started a Facebook group for frustrated residents who were tired of seeing the property continue to decay and affect the values of surrounding properties. Members began to reach out to the owners and local officials.
In a letter dated February 15, the Cobb County Community Development Agency notified the Sprayberry Crossing Partnership and representatives Mitchell Brannen and Thomas P. Garland of Brannen Goddard that their property meets the conditions of Cobb County’s 2017 “blight tax.”
If action is not taken, the property can be subjected to a property tax up to seven times the millage rate. A property is considered blighted if it meets two of the six criteria listed in the Community Improvement Tax Incentive Program, Cobb County Code section 2-181. According to the February 15 letter, Sprayberry Crossing meets three of the criteria: unsafe or abandoned structures, repeated illegal activities on the property and being conducive to ill health or crime.
The owners have thirty days to contact the county and discuss a remediation plan.
The Sprayberry Crossing Action Facebook group has grown to more than 4,000 members. Most active members appear anxious to see elected officials step in and take action since nothing has been done for decades. However, a few members indicated their discomfort at the government stepping in on matters of private property. In one of the group discussions, Brett Bartel of Marietta said, “Their neglect is shameful,” but he went on to say that he does not support “giving consent to government for more power and authority to use coercive taxation and other means deprive the owners of their property rights.”
Glancy is concerned that the owners’ vast financial resources will allow them to fight the county and only make minimal changes. He and fellow resident Shane Spink are organizing a meeting with county and state officials. It is scheduled for March 21 at 6 p.m. in the Sprayberry High School theater. They encourage residents to attend as it will help demonstrate the importance of the issue in the community.