BlogIn the LoopNews

GDOT Assesses Oconee Farmland at Commercial Rate

Doug Dickens, president of Dickens Farms Inc., told the Georgia Department of Transportation that it should assess his 102 acres on Mars Hill Road not as agricultural land, as it is zoned, but as the site of the large residential and commercial development he said he plans for the property.

The state ultimately accepted his argument, giving him a partial median cut that was not part of the original design and paying him $32,000 for 0.312 acres of permanent easement and 0.501 of construction easement.

That was 2.7 times the $11,800 recommended compensation for the acreage.

Dickens agreed to give the $32,000 back to the state to pay for construction of the partial median cut and to give the state a small, unspecified additional easement when the state said it needed that additional easement for the partial median cut.

Dickens suggested to GDOT negotiator Matt A. Johnson during the process that he had the support of the county commissioners and particularly of BOC Chairman Melvin Davis, and nothing in the negotiation record indicates that Johnson doubted that assertion.

Though Dickens accepted the state’s $32,000 and the state’s plans for a partial median cut, he now is asking for a change in the design to allow for a full median cut.

The board of commissioners has agreed to spend $5,000 to make the case to the state for that full median cut on top of the $5,000 already obligated for design work already completed for the full median cut.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.