Forestar’s rezoning application for the land hasn’t seen any activity in about two years, effectively qualifying it as inactive, said Carroll County Zoning Administrator Artagus Newell. That means that in order for the company to move forward with the development in the future, it would be required to begin the rezoning process anew by submitting another application to the county and going through hearings from both the county Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Commissioners.
The application on file is a request to rezone the 11,500 acres near Whitesburg from agricultural to that of a planned unit development of 18,000 homes.
The company has not submitted to the county a comprehens ive development agreement, regarding what infrastructure it would be able to provide and what services it would require from the county.
“It’s incredibly expensive to do a high-density development where infrastructure does not already exist, and that was always the case with Wolf Creek’s proposed development. It’s in one of the most undeveloped parts of Carroll County,” county commission Chairman Bill Chappell said. “I don’t consider their application outstanding. I don’t consider the project on any burner right now.”
Forestar in January was offered a complete buyout of all its property from billionaire timberland investor and philanthropist Holland Ware for $535.5 million, amounting to a total of $15 a share, a 62 percent premium over Forestar’s pre-offer stock price of $9.26 a share at that time. In early February, the company’s board of directors rejected Ware’s offer, arguing that it significantly undervalued the property. Following the board’s decision, Ware signed a confidentiality agreement regarding future dealings with Forestar.
David Grim, the chief administrative officer at Forestar, said no parcels of the Wolf Creek site have been sold, though the company is in the process of selling some of its land nationwide. Grim said he could not discuss what land would be put on the market.
“We have not yet disclosed what land will be sold,” Grim said.
According to the company’s Web site, the Terra Glen development off Highway 101 near Villa Rica is available at a price of approximately $1.52 million.
The Web site does not mention the availability of property off Jones Mill Road near Whitesburg, part of the Wolf Creek site. There is a sign on the parcel of land that reads “FOR SALE ... By Appointment Only” with the Forestar logo.
Robert Young, who proposed the Wolf Creek development when he was CEO of Temple-Inland Land and Timber before it was divided, leading to the creation of Forestar, is no longer with the company.
County Commissioner Kevin Jackson said it appears apparent that Wolf Creek will never develop into the community that was planned years ago. Should things stay as they are, there won’t be a community of 50,000 residents in the southeastern corner of Carroll County.
The reasons the development fell through are varied, he said, though one of the first lines of opposition to the project was the Snake Creek Property Owners Association, previously headed by Jackson before he was elected to the board. The association was able to delay the development leading up to the point the housing market fell apart in mid-2007. “What we did was we stalled it. That changed things, and then the market came in,” Jackson said. “That’s just how it went.”