Developer may sue the city over its role in Oakhurst Dog Park controversy

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 19, 2015
Jay Weaver, a founding partner with Weaver Capital Partners, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, speak to Oakhurst residents during a Dec. 1 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Jay Weaver, a founding partner with Weaver Capital Partners, and Ken Collins, CFO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, speak to Oakhurst residents during a Dec. 1 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Jay Weaver, a founding partner of developer Weaver Capital Partners, says the city of Decatur improperly meddled in his purchase of property from the Boys and Girls Club in Oakhurst.

The city’s involvement may be grounds for a lawsuit against the city after City Commissioners on May 18 rejected his request to subdivide a lot he was under contract to buy. That half acre of property is part of the Oakhurst Dog Park, which the city leases from the Boys and Girls Club for $1 a year. Weaver’s plan to build homes on part of the dog park incensed residents who use it. They spoke for more than hour during the May 18 meeting, asking commissioners to vote against the developer’s request.

It’s a controversy that began in December when Weaver began reaching out to residents. A few months later, things became more complicated when the city reaffirmed its interest in buying the entire Boys and Girls Club site, with or without the dog park property. The city has been interested in buying the property for years. Weaver countered that he could buy the property and sell it back to the city of Decatur. During the May 18 meeting, Weaver said he thought the city’s involvement was inappropriate, considering the city’s Planning Commission and City Commission had the power of approval over his request.

“To this point we do not know how many conversations have been held between the two groups,” Weaver said, meaning the city and the Boys and Girls Club. “Even one would not have been appropriate in our opinion.”

Decaturish asked Mayor Jim Baskett whether he thought the city’s actions were proper. He said the city had received a letter from Weaver’s attorney outlining his client’s concerns about the case.

“We’re gonna get sued by Mr. Weaver,” Baskett said. ” … There’s little anybody can say to you. The discussions between the city and Boys and Girls Club were not inappropriate.”

Baskett said given the city’s longstanding interest in buying the property, city leaders were confused that the Boys and Girls Club instead tried to sell it to a private developer.

“Why they didn’t come to us is beyond us,” he said.

Weaver said he hasn’t made a decision about whether to file a lawsuit. He said his attorney’s letter was required by law to give him the right to file a lawsuit in the future.

“If I don’t notify them before the meeting of last night, I have no rights moving forward,” Weaver said. “I’ve not said I’m going to sue them. I need to certify my rights. I’m just protecting my rights. My attorney prepared a letter and we sent it to them with a statement that said here’s the law, this is what it states in order to protect my rights and make sure you’re given this notice.”

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Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Tony Sullivan

    Seems like the Boys and Girls Club should raise the rent. $800 per month seems fair for the trouble the free loaders have caused.

    • Eric Burgess

      Which freeloaders would that be, exactly? As far as I know, the overwhelming majority of dog park visitors are Decatur taxpayers.

      • Tony Sullivan

        Oh your right, I forgot the tax payers of Decatur pay a collective $1 a year.

        • Eric Burgess

          You probably also forgot that the B&G club’s original purchase of the land from the city was so far below market value as to be essentially a gift.

          You know, I actually have no problem with the idea of raising the rent to something reflective of market value. I just object to the “freeloaders” language.

          • Andrew

            This line of argument — that the sale price of the B&G Club land represented some sort of largesse on the part of the city — really needs to be retired. At the time of the sale, Oakhurst was well into such a downward spiral that, not so long thereafter, you could buy a home here for a dollar.

            A dollar.

            The truth is, the B&G Club paid a fair and reasonable price for hugely devalued land that the city had insufficient resources to manage and maintain, investing in Oakhurst at a time when few others would. Considering the neighborhood’s deep need for social services at the time, the “gift” was theirs.

          • Eric Burgess

            Fair enough. It’s really this characterization of dog park users as “freeloaders” or selfish that is getting under my skin. Or the suggestion that we (dog parkers) should raise money to buy the park ourselves, as if we don’t pay taxes already.

            At the time of the sale to B&G, dogs were allowed on the Oakhurst Park baseball fields. In conjunction with prohibiting dogs from the athletic fields, the dog park was created. There has always been a place for dogs and their owners to go, and for the good of the community, there always needs to be.

            Saying that dog owners should foot the bill ourselves is like saying only parents should pay school taxes. Even if you don’t have kids, good schools make Oakhurst a better place to live. Likewise for the dog park.

          • Andrew

            I don’t disagree and agreed with the commission’s decision to deny the subdivision on the stated grounds. I thought there were reasonable arguments about storm water runoff and community impacts to justify it. But I continue to believe that the suggestion that the Club got some sort of “deal of the century” when they bought the land is disingenuous BS designed to exploit the fact that most present residents weren’t around then and don’t know the history. The Save the Park effort should have nipped that angle in the bud. It didn’t do them any favors.

    • FreeWHO??

      Sound like the city of Decatur needs to charge $1000 per month for the ongoing maintenance of the property that CoD taxpayers PAY for. the $1 is a token to allow public funds for that.

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