Thursday, March 31, 2011
Officials say downtown property owner has yet to sign agreement allowing city crews access to land.
Despite a very public assurance that he would grant the city access to his property, downtown property owner Sam Hinton has yet to sign a temporary construction easement needed to facilitate the demolition of a derelict building on City of Dacula property. Earlier this month, after a motion to condemn his property failed, Hinton addressed the council and indicated his willingness to allow city crews to use his land to access the building. “I have no objection to you using my property if you are insistent upon tearing down that building,” Hinton said at the March 3 council meeting. The building is on one of three city-owned parcels of land adjacent to Hinton’s lot. The city’s half-acre tract was purchased in December of 2010 for $167,000 …
Friday, March 11, 2011
When is the government justified in taking land from private citizens?
In easy to understand terms, eminent domain is the power possessed by the state over all property within the state. Eminent domain is not the law per se. Eminent domain is based upon English common law which traces its roots back to the Magna Carter in 1215. The practice of condemnation begin in the colonies when unimproved land could be taken without compensation. When our U.S. Constitution was drafted, James Madison wrote the Fifth Amendment, which is essentially a Bill of Rights to protect against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure. In the case of eminent domain, it states that private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation. If you are a citizen of Dacula, you are probably well familiar with…
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Mayor casts deciding vote after council members split on resolution.
A Dacula man will get to keep his property for now after a motion to exercise eminent domain failed to pass a vote of the Dacula City Council. The property owner, Sam Hinton, has refused several purchase offers from the city. In November, the council voted to begin the legal process to condemn and take the property for use as a city park. Hinton, who asked for the public’s support in opposing the proposed condemnation, was represented at the March 3 council meeting by his attorney Denise Griffin. During the public comment period prior to the vote, Griffin described the proposed condemnation as a sin. “I believe it is a sin to take a person’s land against their will unless there is a critical need,” she said. Saying the park had very little…
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Sam Hinton says he does not want to sell his downtown lot to the City of Dacula.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Dear Editor: Since approximately 1892, when Dacula was known as Freeman, GA, my family has owned a small corner lot on Second Avenue and Wilson Street in downtown Dacula. I have no desire to sell my lot, but the politicians that run the City of Dacula say I must or the City will take it using the “power of eminent domain.” The City wants to build yet another park despite the fact that there are two parks within walking distance of downtown. Our City’s historic business district faces stagnation, even decline. Numerous empty buildings are either up for lease or for sale. The park under consideration will contain a gazebo, a ground level fountain, and paved areas. This will not stimulate the economy at all and adds even more pavement …
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
An opinion on open meetings by elected government bodies.
As we look in our rearview mirror at 2010, we have before us 2011, with all the plans, hopes and dreams of new opportunities and experiences. Some pundits are predicting that we will see an upturn in the economy this year. Locally, the news appears somewhat brighter for now. At the end of last year, a $2.1 million budget for Dacula was approved allowing for an increase in pay for city employees. However, many states, cities, and municipalities have discovered in recent years that approving a budget of estimated income and expenses proves to be a challenging experience because the projected revenue may not match the expenses. Many politicians have found themselves in a balancing act. During good economic years, it is easy to expand or grow…