Archive for the ‘Rezoning’ Category

Cabbagegate . . .

DeKalb County is suing Steve Miller from Clarkeston for growing too many vegetables on his 2-acres on Cimarron Drive.  The County seeks more than $5,000 in fines for code violations for growing too many crops for the zoning and having unpermitted employees on site.  Mr. Miller successfully rezoned his property to allow him to continue his fifteen year local farming, but the County wants its money and will face off with Mr. Miller later this month in Court.

Mr. Miller plans to fight the County and his neighbors have rallied around him.

“When he moved here and I found out what he was doing I said, ‘Steve, you’re the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive. And I still say that,” said neighbor Britt Fayssoux.

Lilburn Mosque Proposal Part Of Nationwide Controversy

From Wisconsin, Tennessee to New York, other communities across the country are in heated controversies over proposed mosques – just like Lilburn.  Religious schools, universities and campuses have long faced questioning and even challenging neighbors when planning a new project – parking, traffic, noise, even football stadium lighting are typical voiced concerns.  But, the recent controversies challenge the purpose of the proposed development – Islam itself.

In Lilburn, the City Council denied a rezoning request by the local Muslim congregation of Dar-E-Abbas for a 20,000-square-foot mosque, cemetery and gymnasium on about 8 acres at U.S. 29 and Hood Road.  The mosque filed a lawsuit appealing the denial.  However, the Court stayed the litigation at the request of both sides in January.

Sandy Springs Conditionally Approves Rezoning For Church Of Scientology

Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos cast the tie-breaking vote approving rezoning of Church of Scientology’s property at 5395 Roswell Road, but at 12,000 square feet less than the church wanted.

The rezoning allows the church use of 32,053 existing square feet in the former realty office at the corner of Glenridge Drive, but was not what the church wanted.  The church wanted to convert a 43,916 square feet underground, 30-car parking lot for its sanctuary.  Neighbors and city staff opposed enclosure of the underground parking lot on the basis that the church could not provide the requisite number of parking spaces for the larger space.

“The 32,000-square foot limit wouldn’t work for the church and the rights they have for religious exercises,” church attorney Woody Galloway said during his rebuttal of opposition speakers. “It would hamper them to the point they couldn’t use the site. 32,000 square feet is not at all acceptable.”

The applicant has a “great need” for space, Galloway said, a characteristic of Scientology which was at the heart of the debate.

On the one hand, the owner is a religious entity, and other churches in Sandy Springs have lower parking ratios.

“You cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. It’s what this country was founded on,” Galloway said.

However, city Department of Community Development staff determined the way the space is used is more like an office building or a community college and calculated its parking needs accordingly.

“The applicant said it is a non-traditional church with a main focus on smaller meeting rooms,” said opposition attorney Brian Daughdrill of northwest Atlanta law firm Roberts and Daughdrill. “It was appropriate for staff to analyze it as they did.”

Mosque Sues Lilburn

The Muslim congregation of Dar-E-Abbas will sue Lilburn for violations of  the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and other provisions of the state and federal constitutions arising out of the Lilburn City Council denied a rezoning request by Dar-E-Abbas for a 20,000-square-foot mosque, cemetery and gymnasium on about 8 acres at U.S. 29 and Hood Road.

“We think the city clearly discriminated against these people, particularly in light of the fact they’ve worshipped on this land 12 to 13 years,” [Doug Dillard, attorney for the congregation of Dar-E-Abbas] said Wednesday.

Lilburn Rejects Mosque, Lawsuit Likely

In a 4 to 0 vote the Lilburn City Council denied a rezoning request by the local Muslim congregation of Dar-E-Abbas for a 20,000-square-foot mosque, cemetery and gymnasium on about 8 acres at U.S. 29 and Hood Road.

More than 400 Lilburn residents attended the Council meeting to oppose the expansion of the eleven year Dar-E-Abbas.  The vote will likely not end the dispute.

Doug Dillard, the congregation’s attorney, called the decision “arbitrary and capricious” and plans to file a lawsuit against the city within 30 days.

“The basis of this motion to deny had no basis in fact,” Dillard said. “My recommendation is we file suit and challenge the legality of what the council did tonight.”

Doraville Rezones GM Plant, Clears Path For Mixed-Use Development

In a 4-2 vote, the Doraville City Commission rezoned the 160-acre former GM Plant site from a manufacturing to a commercial district clearing the way for its envisioned Atlantic Station-style mixed-used development. 

The rezoning ordinance included a restriction against an indoor recreation facility slamming the door on a relocated Atlanta Falcons stadium.

The Commission also rezoned 12 acres adjacent to the GM Plant site to attract education and science-based institutions.

Gwinnett County Settles Zoning Lawsuit, Purchases Land For $2.3 Million

Majors Management sought rezoning of a 33-acre tract for higher density residential development.  Majors Management proposed to develop the property into 91 lots.  Gwinnett County denied the rezoning request, which meant the property could only be developed into 33 one-acre lots.  Majors Management sued Gwinnett County. 

A year later, the Gwinnett County Commission voted 3-1 to approve the purchase of the 33-acre tract for $2.3 million – more than $69,000 per acre.  The County’s acquisition of the property ends the lawsuit.  But, not all are happy.

The commissioner who cast the dissenting vote calls the purchase, at $69,000 per acre, inexcusable.

The appraiser calls it incomprehensible.

“I don’t understand this,” said Larry Singleton of Singleton Real Estate in Woodstock. “I couldn’t sell that [property] for $69,000 an acre.”

The Commissioners reviewed appraisal valuing the property from $33,000 – $73,000 per acre.

County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, who voted in favor of the purchase along with Commissioner Bert Nasuti and Commission Chairman Charles Bannister, said land appraisals for the entire area were “all over the board.”

Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, whose district includes the purchased property, said the wide range in appraisals should have convinced the commission that further study of the site was required.

Like Kenerly, Banister said he had studied appraisals for properties near the site and found them inconsistent. He said the proposal had been sitting around for months while the county faced the lawsuit. He added Gwinnett always has taken the lead in park development, and the decision was in the best interest of the county.