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ATLANTA-How good a land-buying deal for taxpayers is 23 cents per sf if the land already is protected from commercial development?

That’s the question elected officials in pro-development Cherokee County are asking these days as they assign the county’s legal department to research the offer from Atlanta developer Mark Dagel.

Dagel is offering to sell his 51 acres in a flood plain near fast-growing Woodstock, GA for $500,000 or $9,804 per acre. He has told the commission at a public hearing the county couldn’t duplicate that price anywhere in Cherokee, area brokers following the controversy tell GlobeSt.com.

The land would be used as part of Cherokee’s green space program, a buffer against future commercial development and urban sprawl. But some commissioners suspect the land already is protected from development and isn’t worth buying for protection purposes at this time.

Dagel couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. But brokers familiar with the offer tell GlobeSt.com that the county already has an updated appraisal on the 51 acres for $1.2 million or $23,529 per acre (54 cents per sf).

Brokers tell GlobeSt.com some commissioners fear the existing development restrictions on Dagel’s land could be lifted in the near future. The low-lying 51 acres then could be filled in and developed, brokers say.

Under that scenario, the Dagel offer would be a bargain because land prices are escalating east of Woodstock, brokers tell GlobeSt.com. The 51 acres are among the few remaining large undeveloped parcels near GA 92.

Dagel previously announced a plan to build Freedom Ranch on the 51 acres and donate the non-profit venture to the county. The project would have provided recreation areas and entertainment for terminally ill children. But Dagel’s personal financial crunch earlier this year eliminated the project.

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