State approves spending $28.7 million for Oaky Woods land

The State Properties Commission on Monday unanimously approved spending $28.7 million in taxpayer money on 10,015 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in Middle Georgia.

The panel’s vote follows last week’s 11-6 decision by the Georgia Natural Resources Board to buy the land from Oaky Woods Properties LLC.

Some Natural Resources Board members said the price is too high at $2,874 per acre. In comparison, Oaky Woods Properties bought it for $1,600 an acre.

Proponents, however, say the state needs to protect the tract from developers. It is home to black bears, endangered plant species and unique prairies and the land is popular among campers, fishermen and bird watchers.

Oaky Woods Properties had planned to develop the tract with shops, offices and up to 35,000 homes before the real estate market plummeted.

“Since 2003, the state has conserved over 200,000 acres through purchases, donations and easements,” Bert Brantley, a spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue, said in a prepared statement after the Natural Resources Board’s vote Wednesday. “The conservation of Oaky Woods is a terrific addition to the state’s portfolio.”

The State Properties Commission on Monday unanimously approved spending $28.7 million in taxpayer money on 10,015 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in Middle Georgia.

The panel’s vote follows last week’s 11-6 decision by the Georgia Natural Resources Board to buy the land from Oaky Woods Properties LLC.

Some of Natural Resources Board members said the price is too high at $2,874

The State Properties Commission on Monday unanimously approved spending $28.7 million in taxpayer money on 10,015 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in Middle Georgia.

The panel’s vote follows last week’s 11-6 decision by the Georgia Natural Resources Board to buy the land from Oaky Woods Properties LLC.

Some of Natural Resources Board members said the price is too high at $2,874 per acre. In comparison, Oaky Woods Properties bought it for $1,600 an acre.

Proponents, however, say the state needs to protect the tract from developers. It is home to black bears, endangered plant species and unique prairies and the land is popular among campers, fishermen and bird watchers.

Oaky Woods Properties had planned to develop the tract with shops, offices and up to 35,000 homes before the real estate market plummeted.

per acre. In comparison, Oaky Woods Properties bought it for $1,600 an acre.

Proponents, however, say the state needs to protect the tract from developers. It is home to black bears, endangered plant species and unique prairies and the land is popular among campers, fishermen and bird watchers.

Oaky Woods Properties had planned to develop the tract with shops, offices and up to 35,000 homes before the real estate market plummeted.

12 comments Add your comment

Us vs Us

December 13th, 2010
11:43 am

Makes perfect sense … now excuse me while I drive a 16p nail in my forehead.

DES

December 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

Old Sonny is screwing us again!!! Will this crap ever end? What a piece of work that idiot is. Georgia has never had a bigger crook in the Governors mansion. Plus now we gonna get the raw Deal taking over. Hold onto your wallet folks it may be more of the same.

Base

December 13th, 2010
1:06 pm

The state is billions short but we can use taxpayers money to buy useless land in Sonny’s backyard.

oaky 1

December 13th, 2010
1:14 pm

This is a great aquisition for the state and over time the state will make money off the deal through timber sales and using the land as wetland mitigation for other state road construction projects. Naturally, the wildlife is a huge bonus and since the property wont be developed, we will be assured that great wildlife habitat will survive into the future for everyone to enjoy.

Crooklyn

December 13th, 2010
1:18 pm

That’s right Sonny boy. Layoff teachers and increase class size a recipe for a successful landscaper…….

Crooklyn

December 13th, 2010
1:19 pm

Sonny Acres……

Us vs Us

December 13th, 2010
1:37 pm

Oaky1 – how much did you make off the deal?

oaky 1

December 13th, 2010
2:12 pm

not one penny

Us vs Us

December 13th, 2010
2:55 pm

Look, I’m all for preserving natural habitats and wildlife, but there is no way that price should be paid. This smacks of a “you wash my back I’ll wash yours” deal and the fact that it’s going down while we’re about to take the hatched to k-12 and Hope is indefensible. The Governor should play hardball with the developers and offer market rates, not their asking price. No-one’s property values have increased 4-fold since 2007 and to think this parcel has is preposterous.

To take an extreme “fiscal conservative view” why are my tax dollars being spent to secure a property that will not benefit me in any way shape or form? Also, if there really is ROI in the form of future timber sales why not let the “free market”‘ do so? GA just spent Federal stimulus dollars to keep various agencies afloat, yet we have $30mil laying around to buy this land? Ever loan someone $50 because they said they were hard up only to find out they purchased a new flatscreen the week before? Same deal here IMHO. Fiscal conservatives indeed.

Marc

December 13th, 2010
4:09 pm

How many people here showed up at the meeting today to voice their opposition to this purchase at this price?
In fact how many people from anywhere in the state showed up?
It seems we sit on our behinds at home in front of the computer, gripe about things and don’t have the gumption to actually get out and do something about what is going on.
Me included.
We need to change to effect any real change.

Voxpop

December 13th, 2010
5:35 pm

There is a saying that says people get the government they deserve. In this case the the electorate of GA has elected and reelect people that pad their pockets on the tax payers back. In most other states this would be investigated as a criminal act. In Georgia it is business as usual for the good old boys network.
I’ll be writing a letter to the Attorney Generals office to investigate this matter but I’m guessing it will fall on deaf ears. In the meantime I suggest others do the same or contact their state representatives or national media.

Kathleen Neighbor

December 14th, 2010
9:38 am

@ Marc — I actually did call the SPC office to register my disapproval of this deal and to urge the members of the commission to do the right thing. I also inquired as to the opportunities for public input at the meeting itself. I was told that the SPC’s legal counsel had advised that it would be at the discretion of the SPC chairman — Sonny Perdue — whether or not to allow public comment. Given that I work for a living and the meeting took place at 10AM Monday morning, I couldn’t take the morning off to drive down to the Capitol building only to be told that I wouldn’t be able to speak.
The SPC office did release phone numbers of the SPC members. If you’re angry about this and feel you deserve an explanation from the folks who abdicated their duty to act in the best interest of the state, feel free to give them a call and ask why they all voted for this rotten deal.

Sonny Perdue, Chairman — 404.656.1776 (Office of Constituent Services)
Greg Griffin, Vice-Chairman 404.656.2133
Brian Kemp, Board Secretary 404.656.2881
Tommy Hill, Board Member 404.656.2168
Michael Mandl, Citizen Member 404.727.6018
David Homrich, Citizen Member 404.367.2110
Dr. George Snelling, Citizen Member 706.868.7171 (Washington Road Self Storage)