It’s been described as a paradise in the ghetto.
And after a technical snafu, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will reconsider Panola Slope Resort, a proposed resort that would include an upscale seafood restaurant, a steakhouse and a tapas restaurant. Plans also call for a “barcade”—a restaurant/bar with various simulation and virtual reality games.
Plans for the 10.15-acre project describe 24 furnished villas that will be marketed to vacationers, conventioneers, family reunions and those seeking a staycation option. The proposed resort, which would be developed by the APD Solutions neighborhood revitalization firm, is expected to create 150 jobs with an average income of more than $50,000.
It was approved by the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 16, 2014, but commissioners discovered, after news outlets dug into the plans, that their vote was invalid.
During the board’s Feb. 10 meeting, Commissioner Jeff Rader asked commissioners to vote on a measure “acknowledging the invalidity of the Dec. 16 vote.”
“This item springs from our discovery and the confirmation by the county attorney that actions to approve those two…items pertaining to Panola Slope development were invalid due to noncompliance,” Rader said.
“Since neither the district commissioner nor the super district commissioner serving the location voted in favor of the action, it must return to the agenda,” Rader said.
The commission seat for District 5, where the proposed development is located, has been vacant for more than a year as its elected commissioner Lee May fills in as interim county CEO. Super District Commissioner Stan Watson, who is being paid as a consultant by the property’s developer, APD Solutions, recused himself for the vote.
Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton said she wasn’t sure whether the process is necessary.
“If it’s invalid, are we supposed to take this step?”
“There could be several ways that you could get to where you need to be with this item,” said county attorney O. V. Brantley. “There’s nothing wrong with the way you’re doing it now, but basically, the item needs to be back on your agenda.
“The failure for district commissioner or the super district commissioner to vote, in my opinion, rendered your vote void. It’s as if it did not happen,” Brantley said. “All we’re trying to do is get it back on the agenda so it can come back up so it can be heard at the appropriate time when there is a District 5 commissioner who can consider it.”
Commissioner Nancy Jester, for whom the December 2014 meeting was her second as a commissioner, said she appreciates “the opportunity for the commission to speak again on this since the attention this has garnered and also the confusion at that particular meeting.
“There was some confusion about the ownership of the property,” she said. “How was that allowed to happen? Where did we not get the proper advice regarding that vote? There’s some confusion as to what was represented at that meeting. In any case I appreciate the opportunity for clarity on this.”
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