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Talks for downtown property continuing
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Plans for a downtown parking and commons area in the historic district have been put on hold while Dawsonville officials negotiate with the owner of two lots at Shoal Creek Road and Hwy. 9.

The city has threatened to condemn the land, and voted 4-0 in a May 23 meeting to give the property owner a two-week deadline.

“At this point, we really haven’t held their feet to the fire,” said Mayor Pro-Tem James Grogan.

Grogan suggested the council give the owner until the first week of June to get back with the city regarding plans for the property.

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

It’s a matter the city has been dealing with for about four months.

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

During the May 23 meeting, City Attorney Dana Miles said he still had not heard back from Coe’s lawyer.

“They had expressed that they’d like to work out something that could be mutually beneficial to the city and its residents from a parking perspective, something that would still allow them to keep the site,” Miles said.

“It’s sort of a stymied situation. If they won’t tell us what they want, my recommendation to the council is that you have the city engineer design what we need.”

The councilmen agreed to give Coe about two more weeks to respond.

If he fails to do so, the city will “obtain the property as needed.”

Citing community feedback, city officials have pushed for more parking and a commons area in downtown.

Engineer Ben Turnipseed presented findings to the city council during an April 4 meeting.

Turnipseed said the study consisted of an evaluation of the number of employees and the capacities of restaurants and stores downtown.

He said there are only about 39 parking spaces on public right of way and about 111 people employed by downtown merchants.