After nearly five years and $2 million spent in legal fees, a jury awarded the tiny north Fulton County town only $45,000 in its battle against upstream developers over silt in its lake. Mountain Park had sought upwards of $3.8 million in damages, but the jury heard evidence that silt had long been a decades-long problem complained about by the City. The jury refused to award one cent towards attorney’s fees.
Mayor Jim Still had this to say on the city’s website:
The jury in the Lakes litigation trial found two out of four defendants guilty of Clean Water Act violations but did not determine to award the amount the City of Mountain Park was requesting. $45,000.00 was the amount of damages awarded the city. The Judge will, in the coming weeks, also be considering what additional remedies and penalties to award against the Defendants found to have violated the Clean Water Act. The City Council will be considering this outcome and a town hall meeting will be held to review the verdict.
Mayor Kasim Reed unveiled his ambitious plan for Atlanta to become one of the top 10 green cities in the nation. Currently, Atlanta ranks 19th on SustainLane U.S. City Rankings. Mayor Reed’s plan seeks to:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the City 25% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050
Reduce energy use for existing municipal operations 15% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050
Make renewable energy 5% of total municipal use by 2015
Bring local food within 10 minutes of 75% percent of all residents by 2020
You can review the City’s complete Sustainability Plan Executive Summary here.
The AJC reports that Suwanee wants the last 4 acre residential holdout in the Suwanee Gateway on four-lane Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road to be preserved as park land to save old oak trees and project a positive image for the commercial corridor off I-85. The problem, Suwanee does not have any intention to purchase the property. Instead, Suwanee development staff recommend denying a rezoning application and special use permit for the property that would allow a gas station and car wash. Such action would require the elderly owners to permanently maintain the property as residential, even though they no longer live there.
Attorney Michael Sullivan, who represents QuikTrip seeking the rezoning said:
“It’s unfair for this city to designate land as a park if the city has no intention of purchasing it,” Sullivan said. “All that does is force an elderly couple to pay taxes and maintenance on land they don’t have the benefit of living on.”
While city staff oppose the rezoning, Mayor Dave Williams supports rezoning of the property, but has not made a decision on the special-use permit to allow the car wash.
“Whenever you have a rezoning, there are going to be some people opposed to any change,” Williams said. “In this case, the people objecting want it to remain exactly as it is today but aren’t interested in buying the property to protect it. That is a solution I would welcome.”
The Sandy Springs City Council unanimously approved filing a lawsuit against Fulton County for its alleged failure to maintain two detention ponds at Arlington Memorial Park on Mount Vernon Highway. The City blames the detention ponds for problems with Colewood Creek and flooding of residential properties in Colewood Court.
The Atlanta Development
$3.3 million in grants to the Vine City and English Avenue communities — part of $15 million the agency has given the area over four years. Vine City is bounded by Northside Drive on the east and Lowery Boulevard on the west and is one of the city’s most depressed areas. Forty-one percent of Vine City residents live below the poverty line and crime is twice as high there as anywhere else in the city.
The grants are part of a $15 million multi-year plan to revive the area through economic development.
Representative John Lewis recently announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will grant Atlanta $47 million for its proposed downtown streetcar project connecting Centennial Olympic Park to Edgewood and Auburn Avenue.
You can see the City’s complete streetcar plan here.
The City of Mountain Park has spent $2 million – more than four times its annual budget – in legal fees fighting upstream developers over silt and sediment in the city’s lakes and wetlands due to development in Roswell. The north Fulton County city of just over 500 people has waged a federal lawsuit war against the developers since 2005.
The fight headed to trial last and is expected to last two weeks and undoubtedly cost the little city more money in legal fees. The City has up on its website a summary of the first day of trial and directions to the courthouse.
AJC reports the Grand Jury indicted Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly for one count of bribery and two counts of failing to disclose a financial interest in connection with properties the county bought.
The Grand Jury considered, but did not indict former Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charles Bannister who recently resigned amidst the controversy.
AJC obtained the Bill of Indictment.
Alpharetta Planning Commission unanimously approved a variance to allow two new 10-story office buildings in Sanctuary Park, an office complex near Westside Parkway. The code limits the height to 6 stories. The resigned plan decreases ground cover to save specimen trees and preserve more open space.
The City Commission will vote on the proposal at its October 25 meeting.
In 2008, City of Sandy Springs rezoned 8 acres of land near the intersection of Long Island and Lake Forrest drives to allow Holy Spirit Preparatory School to build a football and soccer stadium and a school administrative building. Long Island Neighborhoods Coalition sued opposing the rezoning and the construction.
Last week, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams upheld the City’s rezoning and dismissed the neighborhood’s complaint. The neighborhood has 30 days to seek an appeal.