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DECEMBER 2020 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
Community | 9
City transfers property near Pernoshal park for home development
BY MATT BRUCE
The City Council conveyed city-owned
property near the Park at Pernoshal Court
to an Atlanta-based developer on Nov. 9-
In doing so, officials addressed claims
that the city has improperly paid proper
ty taxes on the 7.5 acres of land it hand
ed over to John Wieland Homes, the home
builder behind a master-planned redevel
According to city officials, the compa
ny has owned the property since 2018, and
paid the property taxes ever since.
Dunwoody partnered with John
Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods in
2011 for Project Renaissance, an urban re
development plan poised to revitalize 35
acres of land in the city’s Georgetown area
with new housing.
Wieland built 68 homes on 16 acres just
west of Shallowford Road as part of the
agreement and has now turned its sights
on a gated community with 35 homes to
be built on 19 acres next door to Pernoshal
Park. The subdivision, dubbed The En
clave at Dunwoody Park, is advertised as
part of the John Wieland Collection and of
fers 4- and 5-bedroom brick homes start
ing at §700,000.
But according to city officials, the de
veloper couldn’t begin building those
homes until the city officially deeded the
property to them.
The council did just that, unanimously
approving a quitclaim deed that granted
three contiguous parcels to John Wieland
Collection. The three properties are: 5.7
acres at 4575 North Shallowford Road;
5.4 acres at 1959 Pernoshal Court; and 3.2
acres at 2030 Pernoshal Court.
“It’s a little confusing because this
should’ve happened five, six years ago.
This cleans up the ownership record so ev
erything is clear.”
DeKalb County Property Appraiser re
cords show the city acquired two of the
parcels in 2012 and took ownership of the
third in 2013.
Ownership for the smallest parcel,
about 3.2 acres, quickly shifted to the city’s
Urban Redevelopment Agency shortly af
ter the city purchased it in 2012. The URA
is the panel that has overseen Project Re
The other parcel the city purchased in
2012 is 5.4 acres of largely undevelopable
land, much of which will be used as a pas
sive conservation area. That property was
deeded to a JW Collection subsidiary in
December 2018, the property appraiser’s
Pernoshal Park is situated on the third
5.7-acre parcel, which straddles North
Shallowford Road. The property for the
public park was transferred back to the
JW Collection plans to build the gated
residential community on 7.5 acres that
encompases all of the 3-acre parcel and
portions of the two others, city. Econom
ic Development Director Michael Starling
said in a Nov. 10 interview.
According to a Nov. 9 memo from Star
ling, the developer purchased the proper
ty from the URA in 2018 and the URA con
veyed it to Wieland’s company via two
limited warranty deeds.
But the city was still the listed owner
on record for all three parcels and DeKalb
County has continued to tax the city for
the property. According to county Tax
Commission records, the city paid near
ly $48,000 in property taxes for the par
cels over the past three years. The most re
cent such payment from the city on Sept.
30 was $15,897.
Starling said JW Collection actually
paid the taxes for 2020, 2019 and the por
tion of 2018 for which the company owned
the property. He said residents emailed
city officials, asking if the city had been
mistakenly paying property taxes.
During the council meeting, Mayor
Lynn Deutsch addressed the emails, one
of which was shared with the Reporter.
In the message, a resident alleged the city
was still paying the taxes dating back to
2012 and would be handing the property
away to JW Collection without any com
pensation for the tax payments.
Starling said that his team checked the
tax rolls and property records and found
that was not the case.
“When these properties were pur
chased originally, the finance team de
termined that they were not going to be
used for governmental purposes,” he ex
plained. “So they decided at that time that
they were taxable. So we were going to be
paying taxes on it regardless of whether
this deed had been done correctly in the
past or not.”
Deutsch acknowledged the assess
ments shown on the Tax Commission
website, and agreed that the city paid
property taxes up until 2018, when JW
Collection took ownership.
“Are we paying property taxes or is
Wieland paying us back for the property
taxes?” Deutsch asked Starling.
“Wieland has paid the property taxes
and they are receiving the bills from this
year as well as from now on,” Starling re
JW Collection has already started de
veloping on the acreage, installing res
idential roads, street lighting and oth
er infrastructure. But the developer must
record a final plat for the subdivision be
fore it begins construction of the homes
planned there. That couldn’t be done un
til the property was properly conveyed
from the URA to correctly acknowledge
the chain of ownership.
Now the tax rolls will correctly list the
developer as owner of the property, ac
cording to city officials.
“Starting with the next one, the names
of the bill should show up in Wieland’s
name instead of ours,” said Assistant City
Manager Jay Viniclci. “Historically, they’re
always going to be in our [name] for those
years. They paid those three years...and
that’s where it stands now. This quitclaim
deed reflects the previous and the initial
purchase. It clears that part up so that the
change is correct.”
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