This is part 4 of 10 arguments against the proposed Isakson Living East Cobb rezoning proposal.
Read the earlier arguments here:
- Very similar Isakson CCRC proposal defeated in Athens, Georgia
- Would Isakson Living East Cobb be safe for its residents?
- Could Isakson Living East Cobb expand in the future?
One of the ways Isakson Living has promoted their proposal for a huge retirement community on the Tritt property (next to East Cobb Park) is by stating they would pay more than $1 million in taxes.
However, in 2005, the year after their Park Springs retirement community in Stone Mountain, GA opened, Isakson-Barnhart (the old name for Isakson Living) appealed their property taxes for Park Springs. The case went from August 2005 to November 2009, and eventually went to DeKalb County Superior Court. Isakson-Barnhart won their appeal in November 2008, which, according to court documents, lowered the assessed value of Park Springs in 2005 from nearly $41 million to $25 million, and lowered the taxes for 2005 from $539,030 to $387,325, a savings of over $150,000.
Then, Isakson-Barnhart entered a motion to have DeKalb County pay their legal costs of $474,000; this went on for another full year before Isakson-Barnhart's motion was finally dismissed in November 2009.
The broad outlines of the case can be found online at the DeKalb County Online Judicial System website (case #05CV9893). Note that Isakson-Barnhart had three different names for the Park Springs LLC during this case: 1) Stone Mountain CCRC; 2) Parkside at Stone Mountain; and finally 3) Park Springs, LLC.
Surely, this case cost DeKalb County taxpayers, not only in lost revenue from lower property taxes on the Park Springs retirement community, but also the costs of defending this case. And, had Isakson Living been successful in their motion to have DeKalb County pay their legal fees, it would have cost the DeKalb County taxpayer even more. Could the same thing happen in Cobb County?
If Isakson Living appeals their property taxes in Cobb County, will they really pay that $1 million in property taxes?
Also, Isakson Living East Cobb will be built out over 10 years, since there is not enough demand now. It will be 10 years or more before Isakson Living begins paying their full property taxes. There are funny rules about property taxes for properties under construction - they generally don't pay full taxes until construction is complete - so the long build out and multiple phases of Isakson Living East Cobb mean it will be years, if ever, before Cobb County sees $1 million a year in property taxes from this proposed development.
While we would prefer the entire Tritt property as park land, if it were developed into a subdivision, it would be completely built and sold in two or three years maximum, and begin generating property tax immediately.
If the Tritt property were to be rezoned R-15 (15,000 square foot lots), it could have a maximum of 97 houses, without any variances. 97 new houses, conservatively priced for East Cobb at $600,000 each, would generate over two-thirds of a million dollars. (40% of $600,000, minus $10,000 homestead exemption, then divided by 1,000, then multiplied by 29.96 unincorporated Cobb millage rate). In return for lost tax revenue of one-third of a million dollars, East Cobb residents would get a) far less traffic, and b) a development that does not look like a giant apartment complex.
We need everyone's help! Please let the Cobb County Planning Commissioners and Board of Commissioners know that the Tritt property should be kept low density. Please attend the May 6 and May 20 county meetings and stand up for your community.