Plenty of disagreements at Marietta City Council meeting
by Noreen Cochran
February 26, 2013 12:31 AM | 3214 views | 2 2 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Less than one-tenth mile of Roswell Street near the Square is the center of a hot potato contest between the city of Marietta and City Councilman Philip Goldstein.

Goldstein wants to give the land — all 4,000 square feet of it — to the city.

The city says it already owns the land – and has for five years — and used it to carve a right-turn lane onto Coryell Street, across from the National Cemetery.

They got it from its rightful owner, Emerson Development LLC, City Attorney Doug Haynie said during committee meetings Monday at City Hall.

“The city paid $350,000 for the right of way,” Haynie said. “We paved it in 2007. The lane has been in place since 2007.”

Goldstein’s company, PMG 358 Roswell Street LLC, wanted to donate the land to the city last year, Haynie said.

“I determined his LLC did not own the right of way,” Haynie said. “The city of Marietta did not vote to accept it.” Nothing has changed this year, Haynie said, except for a new tactic.

“Mr. Goldstein’s LLC is claiming title to public property,” Haynie said.

After the meeting, Goldstein wrote in an email that the purpose of the action is “to properly convey title to the strip of land from an owner of the property. The earlier deed was from an entity that did not have title to the property. It cleans it up.”

Haynie recommended the city council deny the request at its regular meeting next week.

Public Works Director Dan Conn testified under oath regarding construction of the turn lane.

Goldstein also took the oath but did not testify.

“As far as presenting evidence, I don’t have anything with me because I was not aware there was going to be a hearing,” he said.

The item was added to the Public Works committee agenda after Goldstein sent an email dated Feb. 14 to city engineer Jim Wilgus, to which Goldstein attached a survey of the property in question.

The city provided the Journal with a copy of the original deed and a revision of Goldstein’s proposed contract, updated from April 2012, to donate the land.

“The city has received a deed dated Nov. 9, 2007, from an entity, Emerson Development LLC, that did not own and has not owned the property,” the contract reads. “The property was purchased by PMG on Dec. 30, 2011, under an order of the bankruptcy court.”

At the meeting, Goldstein did ask questions of Conn, related to deeds.

“These are legal questions,” Haynie said. “I’m not sure he’s qualified to answer.”

Goldstein also asked about survey markings.

“They could be off slightly,” he said.

“They could be exact, too,” Conn said.

The council voted 6-0, with Goldstein absent from the dais during the discussion and vote, to place the denial on next week’s consent agenda.

Goldstein also ran into opposition during the personnel committee meeting, at which City Councilman Grif Chalfant proposed Andy Morris as the new representative to the Welcome Center board.

“The post is not vacant,” Goldstein said.

The city council confirmed Goldstein to the board in January and, citing conflict of interest in his possibly helping to choose the next welcome center director, voted him off earlier this month.

Goldstein cited Robert’s Rules of Order, the parliamentary procedures by which city council meetings are run.

He said the council only tried to vote him off by deleting the vote from the January minutes after Mayor Steve Tumlin vetoed all the minutes.

“Not approving the minutes doesn’t change what happened in the meeting,” Goldstein said. “The veto of a specific appointment would have to be at the same meeting.”

Haynie and Tumlin disagreed with Goldstein’s interpretation.

“Minutes are how we give the world notice of our actions,” Tumlin said. “If it’s not in the minutes, it didn’t happen.”

The committee voted 2-1, with Goldstein opposed, to move Morris’ appointment forward.

In other actions, the Public Works committee took up Tumlin’s request to consider renaming Fairground Street after Otis Brumby, Jr. Way, after the late publisher of the Journal, which is located on that street.

Tumlin said instead of changing the street name, which may be a costly and confusing adjustment to other property owners, the city could put up a commemorative marker.

“There’s an entrance at South Cobb Drive,” he said. “I think it would be a nice place to do that.”

The city council agreed unanimously to place the item on the consent agenda for the March 6 meeting.
Comments
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MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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February 28, 2013
It would appear (as in painfully obvious!) that our very own "Grinch", aka Gold$tein, is running low on issues.

Philip, have you truly no sense of propriety?
Just Sayin'....
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February 26, 2013
Good land a'livin Phil....can we go one week without some broo-ha-ha with you in the middle of it!!!!
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