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Gainesville wants DOT to buy right of way at busy corner

POSTED: March 16, 2014 11:28 p.m.

“For sale” signs at a property overlooking one of Gainesville’s busiest intersections have more than caught the city’s attention.

At Mayor Danny Dunagan’s urging, a road-planning group has asked the Georgia Department of Transportation to explore acquiring right of way on the lot, which sits off Ga. 60/Queen City Parkway and Ga. 369/Jesse Jewell Parkway.

The city has long eyed the intersection for improvements. It served as Gainesville’s only project among nine that Hall County listed as part of the failed transportation sales tax vote in July 2012.

“It’s in bad shape,” Dunagan said at a meeting Tuesday of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s decision-making policy committee.

The MPO is Hall’s lead transportation planning agency.

Dunagan said he approached the DOT a couple of months ago about potential right-of-way acquisition before the property gets developed.

“That would sure save a lot of money in the long run,” he said. “We don’t have anywhere else to go in that intersection except right there.”

And as things stand, the property “is creating some (interest) for retail,” the mayor said.

Dunagan said the DOT advised him to go through the policy committee, which comprises top area elected officials, for a recommendation.

Trying to get the right of way acquired before the property is developed “just makes good sense for the taxpayers and everybody,” Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs said.

Srikanth Yamala, the MPO’s director, said the agency also would “follow up” with the DOT on the matter.

Intersection improvements at Jesse Jewell and John Morrow Parkway, which picks up where Queen City stops at Jesse Jewell, are on the MPO’s long-range plan, formerly known as the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The project, estimated at nearly $2.8 million, would be done between 2018 and 2030.

An update of the 2040 plan is expected to start this year and be completed by August 2015.

The real estate firm selling the property has advertised it as part of a two-lot package at $575,000.

Brent Hoffman of Berkshire Hathaway couldn’t be reached for comment, but his website promotes the site as “perhaps the best undeveloped corner in Northeast Georgia."


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