The property, located off Battlefield Parkway between Dietz Road and Dyers Bridge Road has an estimated land value of over $4.1 million.
Northwest Georgia Bank in Ringgold obtained the property through a foreclosure. Plans to sell the property have been subject to the availability of Sunday alcohol sales, according to bank executive vice president Kerry Riley.
“I am very disappointed they would do that,” said Fort Oglethorpe mayor Lynn Long about the decision to push the de-annexation bill through the legislature. “No one, not Weldon or Mullis, contacted the mayor’s office or had the courtesy to ask how the city felt about this.”
Efforts to de-annex the property from the city began in February. City council members did not approve the de-annexation request at the Feb. 11 meeting, prompting the bank to pursue legislative action. Long drafted a letter to lawmakers asking them not to introduce local legislation to de-annex property. The mayor’s reasoning for the request was because the question of Sunday alcohol sales inevitably will be on the November ballot, he said.
Weldon plans to introduce the bill to the House on March 20.
“I wish there had been some patience,” Long said. “I understand where everybody is coming from. They want to make a profit. But they cannot develop a site and have it completed before November anyway.”
Long has waited for the March 19 special election to pose the referendum for Sunday alcohol sales to the council. He believes another council member will be the deciding force to pass the question on to the voters in the November election.
“We are duty-bound to promote the best interests of the citizens of Catoosa County, which includes the local economy,” says the letter signed by Weldon and Mullis. “Inextricably tied to the best interest of the local economy is the creation of a positive business environment that will provide employment and opportunity for the citizens of the local area.”
The letter further states that the de-annexation creates opportunities and is in line with the choice of Catoosa County citizens in the November 2012 referendum. Ringgold and Catoosa County citizens approved the referendum for Sunday alcohol sales in the last election. Citizens of Fort Oglethorpe rejected the referendum for Sunday alcohol sales in November 2011 with 594 voters (55 percent) saying “no” and 487 voters (45 percent) saying “yes.”
“As the mayor I want to see the citizens happy and businesses happy,” Long said.
In the future, Long said, the council could decide to annex the property back into the city. As for now, the Catoosa County commission has agreed to annex the property into the county pending legislative approval.