MORROW The city of Morrow is getting ready to dump a place where residents used to go to get gas.
The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to begin the process of selling off the site of an old Chevron gas station at the corner of Jonesboro Road and Southlake Plaza Drive.
The first step in selling the site was to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Morrow Downtown Development Authority, that will eventually sell the site to an unidentified “prospective” buyer. The agreement means both the city council and the DDA board would have to approve the sale of the property.
“It says basically there is an opportunity for the DDA to enter into a letter of intent, but it would be on a contingent basis should the city transfer the property to the DDA at a letter date,” City Attorney Greg Hecht told council members. “And then both entities would enter into dual closing, ensuring there is dual approval for such property.”
The sale of the old Chevron site is cloaked in mystery. Last week, the council meet with the Morrow DDA board to discuss the sale of the property but the discussions took place behind closed doors.
This week, Hecht met with council members for 35 minutes in the middle of the council meeting to discuss the terms of a letter of intent with the unidentified prospective buyer of the property.
Hecht told the council the executive session was needed to “ensure the value of the property is not diminished for the taxpayers and the city.”
“This potential buyer has suggested particular terms for a letter of intent,” Hecht told the council before the executive session.
The terms of the letter were never explained publicly.
However, Councilman Larry Ferguson did secure the addition of language which would let the council and DDA board to keep abreast of what the other was doing in regard to the sale.
“[The additional language] would say the DDA and the city shall ensure for the mutual sharing of documents related to any transaction in subject to this agreement including but not limited to letters of intent, purchase and sale agreements and related materials,” Hecht said.
However, the last-minute amendment to the intergovernmental agreement to the meeting agenda upset Councilman Bob Huie, who said he didn’t like voting on changes made with only a minute’s notice.
City Manager Jeff Eady said an approval of the agreement was needed soon, but it was unclear exactly what time factor the council was working under. Huie suggested he only agreed to vote in favor of the agreement because Eady said time was of the essence.
“I’ve said it for years that I don’t like to change written ordinances by voice,” Huie said.