Sun Jul 24 13:50:17 PDT 2016
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Mayor: Businessmen mulling deadline on Highlands property
Ken Curtis

Dothan mayor Mike Schmitz met Wednesday with two busnienssmen at the center of controversy involving an upscale neighborhood. Acting as a mediator, he asked Hugh Wheelless and Gary Hall if they would be willing to extend a deadline given to residents of The Highlands to decide if they want to purchase adjacent property. “Mr. Wheelless and Mr. Hall indicated an extension is something they would consider but did not commit. They both care a great deal about Dothan,” Schmitz said. Wheelless lives in The Highlands, Hall is a native who resides elsewhere. The mayo accepted the role as mediator when he met Monday with several hundred people who live in The Highlands. They fear Hall plans to construct low income apartments on the property. Hall has signed an agreement to purchase at least a portion of 12 acres from Wheelless. The mayor stresses this is not a city issue since the property, many years ago, was zoned for such development. He also said that no development plans have been presented to the city and said Hall has a reputation for first class development. Annoyed and concerned that home values could decline if apartments are constructed, some Highlands residents favor buying the property themselves. The price tag is $1.2 million. The homeowner’s association, under the proposal, would borrow the money then recoup it from increased dues. Wheelless has reportedly given them until May 31 to decide, according to a letter sent to more than 400 homes in The Highlands. Three people who live in the development, but not authorized to speak publicly, told WTVY there are a handful of homeowners—the exact number is not known---who are considering purchasing the property themselves.

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