JUST WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE JDA LOOKING OUT FOR?
November 28, 2015
The Newton County Planning Commission met last Tuesday night and recommended denial of a request for changes to the Stanton Springs master plan that would relocate and expand land designated for residential development. Read the article here:
Alan Verner, Chair of the JDA, got up and spoke FOR the rezoning so the sale could go through. He made a troubling comment: “The long-term vision for Stanton Springs was a quality live-work-play development that would bring high-quality jobs and residential development. With Baxalta nearing completion, adequate housing for Baxalta employees is missing.”
So let us ask you Mr. Verner, what was all that talk about JOBS for the people in the 4 counties that were putting up all the money for this development and foregoing taxes for 10 years? This was such a great deal because it would mean jobs for our local people. If appears what many regular, every day citizens said all along is true– Baxter would bring in their own people and the local people would NOT be getting the jobs!
Alan Verner is an unelected person from Morgan County that sits on the JDA and speaks for the JDA as Chairman. He is pushing this sale and the developers will make money while the taxpayers lose money on the deal.
IS STANTON SPRINGS GOING TO BE A CITY IN AND OF ITSELF?
Based on what Bobby Bullard, of Bullard Land Planning said, it appears that is the future plan. He said, “We know without a doubt when all the facts are heard and all the approvals are achieved and we actually get out there and build Emerald Springs that this will be the premier residential development that fits perfectly with Baxalta, the premier development, which will unfold into Stanton Springs, the premier planned city that you all not only dreamed of but actually set into place many years ago.”
What happens if Stanton Springs does become a city? Will it be able to bill the 4 counties just like the JDA does now? Think about this and don’t let the members of the JDA pooh-pooh this idea. It is absolutely possible.
WHAT DOES THE CONTRACT SAY?
The Contract is between JC Flex, LLC and the Joint Development Authority as Sellers and Chandler & Clarke LLC as Purchaser. Chandler & Clarke LLC is a new entity formed 10/29/15 according to the Secretary of State. We have been told Chandler is “the money man” and Clarke is the “developer.” (See more below on Kippy Clarke)
Why is JC Flex part of the same sale? Why aren’t there 2 different sales agreements when these are 2 different entities? People that have read the contract are very concerned that JDA will not be getting the proceeds for the 482.24 acres it owns, but instead the proceeds will be divided half and half between JDA and JC Flex, even though JC Flex only has 54.32 acres. Nothing in the contract spells out how the proceeds will be divided. Our JDA representatives would not deceive us like that, would they?
The sale price for JDA’s part of the property is $3,284,270. The cost per acre, that is kept up with by Wayne Tamplin, CPA for JDA, is now $13,569 per acre. 482.24 acres being sold by JDA x $13,569 = $6,543,515 cost. Taxpayers loss is $3,259,245 on land plus $1M that must be put in escrow to build the road into the project. A minimum loss of $4.2M.
JC Flex, LLC and TPA are interrelated. The agent for JC Flex is listed as Richard B. Bradshaw Jr. His name is on all the multiple LLC’s that have property in the 4 county development area. TPA will act as broker in this deal. Even though the contract does not state how much they will receive as commission, sources tell us the sales commission will not be waived and will be 7% of the sales price. That’s another $458,000 to add to the loss the taxpayers are taking or $4.7M. (See item #12 of the contract.)
The contract states the closing will be on or before December 15, 2015.
If the re-zoning is approved by the Newton County BOC, the taxpayers in each of the 4 counties will lose 57% of their investment.
WHY HAS THE PROPOSED “NEW” MASTER PLAN CHANGED SINCE THE ZONING WAS TURNED DOWN BY Newton County PLANNING & ZONING?
Plan before P&Z meeting: Yellow is residential. Also notice the gray “Municipal” area on the plan.
Plan after P&Z meeting—notice some residential (yellow) is gone and some residential (yellow) is replaced with town houses (orange) which will have 20 houses per acre instead of 3 per acre for residential.
With these changes, shouldn’t the plan go back to P&Z again? Mr. Bullard has sent his new proposal to all the Newton County BOC in hopes they pass this on Tuesday, December 1, 2015.
WHY DOES THIS SALE HAVE TO BE DONE NOW?
The JDA owes money to the Bank of Madison, and this sale will be for “quick cash” to pay on that note. Here is the bank note information as of 12/31/14:
It is questionable how much money is really needed. Newton County’s representatives, Keith Ellis and Mort Ewing, voiced concerned over this deal and said that the sale of timber could be used to pay on the note. The bank note can be renewed; which would seem to be a better alternative than taking a 57% loss ($4.7M loss) on the property. Property right along I-20 that is zoned commercial surely hasn’t lost 50% of its value –not while residential property values are going up according to the tax assessors in the 4 counties involved.
JDA members keep telling counties and citizens, wait until 2018 and money will be coming IN to the counties and our property taxes will go down. So, why can’t they wait until 2018 to make a better deal? Note: TPA buys land from JDA at a price of 10% over cost.
THE QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERED FROM JDA MEMBERS
- Would each of the JDA members sell their personal property for a 57% loss?
- Is this sale acceptable because it is not their own property and loss of money?
- Are they really looking out for the best interest of the taxpayers in the 4 counties?
- Why not allow the BOC of each county to vote on this “deal” to see if it is acceptable?
WHO IS KIPPY CLARKE?
Kippy Clarke is a developer that lives in a rented house in Jasper County. He and Thomas Chandler formed Chandler & Clarke, LLC on 10/29/15 specifically for this deal. Notice item #13 in the contract about who this agreement can be assigned to.
According to a 4/20/15 Covington News article, Kippy Clarke represents B & B Southside Holding Co., LLC, that is registered in Wyoming , but has the same address as Chandler & Brown LLC and Chandler & Clarke LLC– P. O. Box 555, Fayetteville, 30214, GA, USA.
According to a May Covington News article, “In other action, the council approved a special use permit application by developers Kippy Clarke and Chandler & Brown LLC to establish a nursing and residential continuing care facility off the Covington bypass. The special use designation was necessary for the high-end senior living center, Royal Hall.”
Robert Bullard also attended this meeting and answered questions. The land is still vacant and no activity has taken place for Royal Hall.
ONE LAST HOPE TO STOP THIS BAD DEAL FOR THE TAXPAYERS
The Newton County Planning and Zoning voted to deny the changes to the master plan. Now the Newton County BOC will meet December 1, 2015 to approve or deny the P&Z Board’s recommendation.
The only hope for the citizens that have put up so much money for so long into this development, is for Newton County BOC to vote against the zoning. If they do, the sale will not go through and it will keep the taxpayers from suffering huge, unnecessary losses.
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