A judge has ruled in the city of Sandy Springs’ favor in a case held up for nearly a year and involving three billboards on land the city purchased two years ago across the street from the new City Springs complex.
“The city won on all counts,” city spokeswoman Sharon Kraun said in a Nov. 27 email.
The city bought four lots at or near the Mount Vernon Highway/Johnson Ferry Road/Roswell Road intersection, which Sandy Springs aims to redevelop into a compressed-grid improvement project that is expected to cost up to $31.6 million.
But those plans remained on hold until Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams would rule on a settlement in a lawsuit in which the city paid $4.8 million for the four parcels to Adam Orkin, the man who also owns the billboards under the business W.B. Holdings-Triangle LLC.
Since 2015 the city had tried to purchase the property from Orkin and after using condemnation proceedings the following year as a leverage tool, eventually came to a settlement agreement. The settlement, City Attorney Dan Lee said, included everything except the billboards, based on an amendment to extend their lease.
Adams’ decision came after the Neighbor left messages at both Orkin’s and her office Nov. 20 and 21, respectively, seeking comment on the case. The Neighbor reported on the case after Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul mentioned it at the end of the Sandy Springs City Council’s Nov. 19 meeting at City Springs.
“I’m putting the city attorney on the spot,” Mayor Rusty Paul said. “I’m getting a lot of questions about the property on the east side of Roswell Road, this wasteland. (Residents ask) why the city is not cleaning that up. … The trial part of the litigation has been over for quite some time (since Dec. 19).”
At the meeting Lee said, “Of all the things I get asked about in Sandy Springs, the billboards issue is the number one issue. … Not to be trite, but to pay $5 million for something and not be able to use it is a major problem.”