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City may pursue parking study
Condemnation among options for empty lots
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Before city officials begin plans for a downtown parking and commons area in Dawsonville’s historic district, Mayor Joe Lane Cox said they’ll need to “prove a need for it.”


In a special called meeting, the Dawsonville City Council may vote tonight on whether to conduct a parking study. The matter would be handled by the city’s designated engineering contractor.


Clouding the issue is the city’s possible condemnation of the two lots at Shoal Creek Road and Hwy. 9, which are being leased to the county for courthouse parking.


The condemnation has not been finalized, and the property owner has asked the city council to look at other options.


City Attorney Dana Miles said that under state law it is “our duty to at least investigate those alternatives.”


“We’re going to do that,” he said. “And if there’s a better alternative, then we’re going to regroup and go in another direction.”


City officials have said the feedback they’ve received from the community is that there is a need for more parking and a commons area downtown.


According to Miles, property owner Jeffery Coe of Marietta and former property owner K.K. Turner of Dawsonville met with city officials last week.


“The bottom line is, they’re wanting to see what the various alternatives are,” Miles said.


Turner declined to comment for the most part, but did say that he, Coe and the city were “trying to work something out.”


On Jan. 18, the council voted 4-0 to offer Coe an appraised amount for the lots, which the county leases for parking but won’t need after the new courthouse opens in the fall.


Municipalities may use the power of eminent domain to transfer property to the government for public use.


It’s not the first time local government has tried to condemn the lots.


In July 2008, Dawson County pursued condemnation to make way for the new courthouse.


County Commissioner Mike Berg said leaders chose not to pursue the matter after talks with the property owners.


Today’s called meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at city hall, 415 Hwy. 53 East, Dawsonville.