Cobb to settle civil suit over compensation for property for the Windy Hill and Terrell Mill Road connector

Road construction equipmentRoad construction equipment (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Cobb County is in the process of settling a civil lawsuit over compensation for land the county condemned for the Windy Hill Road – Terrell Mill Road connector project.

The negotiated settlement was approved at the meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners this morning.

The owner of the property was Arlington Park Marietta, LLC, and the owner was represented by land use and zoning attorney Kevin Moore. Another major stakeholder in the property was CBRE Multifamily Capital.

The first court filing in the case was on January 3, 2019, when Cobb County started the condemnation proceeding to acquire the land under eminent domain, which is typically what a government uses to take land needed for transportation improvements.

The county had determined that $10,351,000 was “just and adequate compensation” for the property, but the owners of the property disputed that figure and filed an appeal.

It was filed in the Cobb County Superior Court courtroom of Judge Robert Flournoy III.

After the amount determined by the county was deposited with the court, the property owners asked for and were granted a draw-down.

Arlington Park Marietta was granted $759,131.80. and CBRE Multifamily Capital was granted $9,591,868.20 on January 23. The companies retained their right to proceed with the appeal of the compensation.

Legal counsel for the two parties negotiated a settlement, and the Board of Commissioners were presented with the terms of the agreement in executive session Monday August 10, 2020. Executive sessions are non-public meetings often used to discuss real estate matters.

At this morning’s regular meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners the settlement was added to the consent agenda as a “non-agenda item,” and with BOC approval of the consent agenda, the following recommendation was approved:

To authorize settlement of Cobb County v. Arlington Park Marietta, LLC, et al, Civil Action File No. 19-1-00061-40, Cobb County Superior Court, pursuant to the direction and within the terms as discussed in Executive Session on August 10, 2020, and authorize counsel to prepare and execute any necessary documentsfor the purposes of settling ongoing litigation.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed during the meeting, but the agenda documents stated that the funds were available in the project budget.

The project is funded by the 2016 SPLOST.

The Windy Hill Road Terrell Mill Road Connector is described on the Cobb DOT projects list as follows:

The project consists of a new thoroughfare between Windy Hill Road and Terrell Mill Road. This project will serve as a reliever for Powers Ferry Road by absorbing traffic normally traveling that route to and from Windy Hill Road and Terrell Mill Road. This project provides another route for traffic to access the I-75 Northwest Corridor Express Lanes, and the multi-use trail will provide a new trail connection to the Bob Callan Trail System.

The road will begin at the intersection of Spectrum Circle/Interstate North Parkway and Windy Hill Road and continue north, connecting at the current Bentley Road and Terrell Mill Road intersection.  This will be a new four-lane road with a raised center median and will include sidewalk and a multi-use trail. The total project is approximately 0.70 miles in length. Construction for this project is scheduled to begin in March 2020.

The ongoing legal negotiations did not affect the schedule for the project.

The Courier spoke with Michael Francis, the Engineering Division Manager for the Cobb DOT, and he told us the work on the project began in March.

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