Sandy Springs paying $862K to settle eminent domain suit

Sandy Springs has agreed to pay an insurance agent $862,500 to settle a lawsuit arising from the city’s condemnation of his downtown office building last year.

The City Council approved a settlement with Richard R. “Randy” Beavers, owner of Randy Beavers Insurance Agency. The amount compensates Beavers $425,000 for fee simple title to his property at 135 Mount Vernon Highway, with an appraised value of $1.3 million; and $437,500 for loss and damage to his business, according to City Attorney Daniel W. Lee.

The condemnation was problematical in that Georgia law allowed the use of eminent domain only for the portion of the property to be used for a city streetscape project, yet the entire building had to come down, Lee said in a memo to the council. The city could take only a permanent demolition easement, putting “a prime piece of real estate in an unusable situation.”

The lawsuit was to go to jury trial in mid-August. Lee recommended that the city accept Beavers’ offer to settle, as “it is unknown what the outcome of the trial would be.”