Sandy Springs City Council on Sept. 6 authorized using eminent domain to take a property needed for a City Springs parking lot if the owner won’t sell.

The empty lot at 170 Hilderbrand Drive is owned by Milton-based W.B. Holdings Hilderbrand LLC, according to Fulton County property records, and its registered agent is Adam Orkin, according to the city.

City Attorney Wendell Willard said the owner rejected a $300,000 purchase offer. The city won’t necessarily use eminent domain, but the council authorized its use as leverage in negotiations. No representative of the owner appeared to be present at the council meeting, but Willard said the owner was aware of the eminent domain vote.

The city has used eminent domain before as one way of acquiring property around its public-private City Springs development on Roswell Road at Johnson Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Highway. The 170 Hilderbrand lot is where the city wants to build a surface parking lot to serve City Springs.

“This is the last remaining parcel that is needed for the project,” Willard said.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

12 replies on “Sandy Springs OK’s eminent domain for Hilderbrand parcel”

  1. So, if they can’t “negotiate” to buy the land, they will just take it now. The use of eminent domain to steal this owner’s land is beyond outrageous and all Sandy Springs citizens should be on guard for this abuse of power. The property in question seems to be worth far more than 300k as it’s located in a prime section of Sandy Springs. A million dollars seems like a much more appropriate offer.

    How dare this government flex it’s muscles on a private citizen so they can build more shopping and office spaces which creates more traffic in an already overly congested city that is also about to be pummelled by Braves traffic. City leaders should be recalled if they proceed with eminent domain.

  2. Marko – I agree with you. For authorizing the use of eminent domain for the Hildebrand parcel as well as other reasons I will be voting against Sandy Springs incumbents.

  3. Eminent domain has been used by governments for decades to acquire property for public use. Its not stealing since both parties present their case before a judge or jury. Each case is based on property appraisals that consider highest and best use for the property and comparable sales to reach a conclusion. Many are the cases where the government loses and pays more, sometimes much more, than its appraised value. I’m sure negotiations will continue and the owner will do fine. That said, I do agree with your concern over increased traffic on the 1950’s Dunwoody/Sandy Springs two-lane streets.

    1. “Acquire” is a nice way of saying ‘stolen.’ What do you call it when you own something and someone else takes it from you without your permission? I call that theft. You can try and justify it by saying that it’s been happening for years and it’s ‘legal’, but I would counter with saying that the government has been stealing for years. Yes, it is stealing. Just the same as taking someone else’s property without their permission. Even if the court’s okay this theft, how does that not make it theft? In this country we are supposed to have the right to refusal by other entities that want our property but we don’t want to give it to them. How is this different? Sandy Springs is taking private property for the use of a shopping center parking lot. They don’t need another parking lot. They can’t handle the traffic they have now and calling the theft legal doesn’t make it right.

  4. I am also disgusted by the unbridled over-development in Sandy Springs. The headlines in the AJC over the weekend noted that we are in a severe drought. Yet, Atlanta and SS continue to develop mega projects that will move thousands more people into our area who will need water and other utilities. Please vote out the current “mob” at City Hall.

  5. When ancient, outdated, tiny carport-only houses nestled deep in Mountaire Springs are selling at lightning speed for 340-450k, paying 300k for a prime lot fronting a major road is unethical and un-American. This property is worth twice that, especially given that the double zero property just sold its 1.3 acres for $3.3 million or so at a far far crappier location with ginormous ingress/egress issues that make it a nightmare of a parcel.

    Gabriel Sterling who is now running for state house has said that he’s opposed to eminent domain. Will he make a strong motion opposing this one? Or will it be a symbolic 5-1 “safe” vote like the Ashton Woods apartments?

  6. The use of eminent domain to acquire someone’s property for a parking lot is obscene and does not provide Sandy Springs residents with a “public benefit” sufficient enough to warrant the use of eminent domain to force a sale. They aren’t building a school or a road or any other structure we really need, they just decided to get a little greedy and spend other people’s money because they can. Sandy Springs government continues to resemble the Fulton County bureaucrats we formed a city to be rid of. Gabe Sterling’s principled stand against eminent domain is only principled if he is calling out his fellow council members and the mayor for this abuse. Otherwise it is just a symbolic safe vote. This is a city in need of a good broom in our next election. It may be too late but this condo association running the city and the City Manager are well past there sell by dates. Time for a clean sweep or we will soon have no city left.

    1. Funny you mention Gabe Sterling, because according to the AJC’s article on this issue it was a 6-0 vote to use eminent domain. I wrote Mr. Sterling and Mr. DeJulio an email denouncing their actions and asking them to explain themselves. Gabe Sterling needs to explain himself since he has previously gone on record as being against the use of eminent domain but I’m still holding my breath waiting for a response from either one. Let’s see if they respond to a subpoena. Your assessment of Mr. Sterling seems to be spot-on Old Spartan. Time for a big broom.

  7. How about every body stop building those ugly mcmansions. It is disproportional to the city, and has already destroyed established ranch house neighborhoods in sandy springs. Do you guys not realize this?

  8. How about every body stop building those ugly large houses and mcmansions. It is disproportional to the city, and has already destroyed established ranch house neighborhoods in sandy springs. Do you guys not realize this?

Comments are closed.