GZB creator and publisher Kyle Williams recently obtained a reversal from the Georgia Supreme Court of a trial court’s dismissal of a rezoning challenge for failure to state a claim and for failure to join indispensable parties.
In Stendahl et al. v. Cobb County et al., the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the dismissal by the Cobb County Superior Court of a neighbors’ challenge to a rezoning decision. The Cobb County Superior Court had held that the neighbors had not stated a claim upon which relief could be granted based solely upon the complaint. In reversing the dismissal, the Georgia Supreme Court held that the trial court misapplied the standard of review of a rezoning decision.
In what appears to be a new definition, the Georgia Supreme Court also reversed the trial court’s dismissal for failure to join indispensable parties and explicitedly defined who were indispensable parties in a neighbor’s challenge to a rezoning decision.
When the owner of the property for which re-zoning is sought is not the applicant for re-zoning but has entered into a contract for the sale of the property with the re-zoning applicant, which contract is contingent upon the applicant obtaining re-zoning, the owner does not fit within the definition of “indispensable party” because the case could be decided on its merits without prejudicing the rights of the owners since the re-zoning applicant is a party and presents a thorough case on behalf of itself and, ultimately the owner.
Stendahl et al. v. Cobb County et al., Case No. S08A1395, decided on October 27, 2008.