Brookhaven, GA, March 21 – by Stephanie Miller and Trey Benton – After unsuccessful settlement negotiations last week between the City of Brookhaven and a group of Ashford Park residents over zoning disputes (video here), both parties have filed actions seeking a decision by DeKalb Superior Court.
First, at 11:21 am on Friday, the City filed a legal action in DeKalb County Superior court; a “Writ of Certiorari”, which calls actions by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) an “abuse of discretionary powers” and claims Ashford Park residents did not file their disputes in a timely manner.
On February 19th, an appeal was heard in front of the ZBA on an administrative decision to remove a Stop Work Order (SWO) at 2802 Ashford Rd. The City advised the ZBA not to rule on the Applicants’ appeal asking instead for the board to deny or dismiss the appeal. But, the ZBA decided to hear the appeal. After the Public Hearing, the board voted – resulting in a 3-3 tie – which failed to overrule the prior administrative decision. (Video here)
ZBA members, Hope Bawcom, Jed Beardsley, Don Bolia, Kent Gipson, Tim Nama, Corey Self and Glenn Viers, have been called out as “acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner to the extent it refused to refrain from ruling on the Applicants’ appeal.”
The City also claims their official zoning map was enacted in accordance with the Georgia Zoning Procedures Law and is seeking any relief the court will give them in its decision.
Four hours after the City filed, Ashford Park residents filed their own lawsuit; a “Petition For Writ Of Certiorari, Declaratory, Injunctive and Other Relief” at 3:41 pm on Friday, in the Superior Court of DeKalb County.
The suit states the City of Brookhaven did not follow proper procedure pursuant to Zoning Procedures Law. It also challenges the validity of the “official” Brookhaven Zoning Map, and appeals the denial by the ZBA of their appeal to reverse a previous decision lifting a SWO.
The residents are asking a DeKalb Superior Court Judge to decide whether Brookhaven properly adopted their zoning map in the first place and if not, does Brookhaven have zoning at all…and if so, what is it?
There are whispers that negotiations are still ongoing. The sticking point seems to be whether the City will agree to a process for Applications for Permits for Land Development or Construction.
Under the plan, a builder (prior to submitting an application) would be required to go to DeKalb County and pull the current zoning for the property to be developed. The City would then compare it’s zoning to the County’s. If they match, the permit could be granted. If not, the zoning would need to be reviewed.
The City says they will agree to this process, but only in the Ashford Park area. The residents say it should be citywide until the City’s audit of their zoning map can be completed.
The City has since added three line items to the Tuesday City Council Meeting Agenda to Consider Resolutions for Settlements and a rezoning of 2808 Ashford Rd. back to R-100.
- Consideration of Entering into an Agreement with Todd Fisher, Joyce Gehrmann, Todd Varino, Larry Cook and Maxine Robinson
- Consideration of Initiating an Application to Rezone the Property Located at 2808 Ashford Road from R-85 to R-100
- Consideration of Adopting Administrative Confirmation Procedures for Ashford Park in Connection with Applications for Permits for Land Development or Construction
More to come as it is available.