Sandy Springs City Council during its June 18 meeting authorized the purchase of two similar pieces of property on Roswell Road, but the purchase prices are different.

The methods of obtaining the property also differ. The city will buy one .29 acre parcel at 6204 Roswell Road from Dorothy K. Steinheimer for $1.2 million. City Council authorized the use of eminent domain to acquire a nearby .29 acre parcel at 6224 Roswell Road from George Cotsakis Jr. for $440,000.

City Attorney Wendell Willard said the purchase prices were based on independent property appraisals obtained by the city.

“We relied on an independent appraiser to make a determination,” Willard said.

Buckhead residents might be familiar with the Cotsakis family. Cotsakis’ father, George Cotsakis, represented Buckhead on the Atlanta City Council from 1955 to 1975. Cotsakis declined comment  on June 19. Attempts to reach Steinheimer were unsuccessful.

Fulton County appraisers determined both parcels are worth approximately the same amount. County property records show the property at 6204 Roswell Road appraised for $630,300. The property at 6224 appraised for $642,500.

Both properties face Roswell Road, where Sandy Springs hopes to place its future city hall. The city council is beginning its downtown revitalization effort, a decade-long project that will reshape the area around the intersection of Roswell Road and I-285.

Property tax records are a factor considered in most appraisals, but independent appraisers also calculate value using other methods like comparing characteristics to recent sales of comparable property.

Willard said the county property appraisals are notoriously unreliable.

“It’s not one always based on the true fair market value of the property,” Willard said. “That’s why whenever we do a purchase of the property we’re requiring there be an independent appraisal of the property.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com