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Oakwood man hoping for less taxing rezoning category

POSTED: April 23, 2009 11:27 p.m.
PEGGY ATTAWAY/The Times

Ten acres of property, owned by Dean Reed, is being considered for rezoning back to its original agricultural status in Oakwood.

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OAKWOOD — Dean Reed can’t blame a business for not wanting to build during the bad recession, but he isn’t up for paying more in taxes either.

The 74-year-old Flat Creek Road resident is trying to get his property rezoned back to agricultural/residential, its original designation, from commercial, which he says is costing him more in taxes.

The Oakwood Planning Commission so far has obliged, recommending the change at its Monday meeting. The matter now goes before Oakwood City Council on May 11.

At one time, Reed and his son, Randall, "had a deal with a local business to build a retail business on their property if they would annex and get commercial zoning from Oakwood," said City Planner Larry Sparks.

The rezoning and annexation passed in December 2007, but the development went sour and the Reeds "have not been able to work out another deal," he added.

A printing operation had been planned on the 10-acre site just east of McEver Road, said Dean Reed, a lifelong Oakwood resident.

"With this economy so bad ... I would have backed out, too," he added.

Reed, retired from General Motors’ Doraville plant and a grading business he ran, said he sees the economy picking up eventually and the land eventually selling.

"It might not sell in my lifetime," he said.

For now, though, he is happy just to shed a higher tax bill.

Don Elrod, assistant tax appraiser for Hall County, said that "commercial property is much more valuable than agricultural or residential property."

He said he has gotten a call from another resident in a similar situation. The resident said he has had his property on the market for a couple of years.

"I (told him), ‘If you get that rezoned back as all (agricultural), we can lower the value,’" Elrod said.

The disparity in values "depends on what part of the county (the land) is in," he added.

Sparks said that city officials have studied Reed’s request hard, suggesting that such reverse rezonings can’t be granted freely.

"We justified this as a hardship case," he said. "We even waived the rezoning fee to help do this."



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