Chamblee, GA, July 29, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The City of Chamblee has been named as Defendant in a legal action filed in DeKalb County Superior Court because City Councilmembers denied a property owner’s proposal to construct a 24-acre parking lot and related facilities on the former International Village site for use by Hennessy Cadillac to park, wash, prep and stage vehicle inventory. The proposal was called Chamblee Village Park. (More about the project here)
The proposal, filed in March by Hennessy on behalf of the property owner, Northlight Capital Partners, LLC and HCP Fund 1 Holding LLC, sought to rezone an area comprised of 67 parcels on 24.2 acres from VCC (Village Commercial Conditional) to IT (Industrial Transitional) to allow the auto dealer to construct 2,546 parking spaces for vehicle inventory, as well as a 24,000 square foot building to be used for office, vehicle maintenance, car washing and fuel dispensing.
The rub revolves around why the application was allowed to cycle through the City’s Community Development Department, City Council Work Sessions and City Council Meetings so many times, eventually yielding several Staff Reports recommending approval, only to have the rug pulled out from under their feet at the 11th hour.
Prior to the June 21st Councilmeeting, Hennessy requested a withdrawal of their proposal because the auto dealer no longer had the property under contract. Because Hennessy was not technically the applicant, only filing on behalf of the property owner Northlight, the withdrawal request was not theirs to make, and Council proceeded.
After a motion was made by Councilman Tom Hogan and seconded by Councilperson Leslie Robson to deny the application, Councilmembers voted 4-1 to deny the Hennessy’s proposal, and ultimately Northlight’s application. (Video Here).
Councilmember Darron Kusman was the lone vote to not deny the request.
In her petition to the Court for a Declaratory Judgement, Northlight’s attorney, Kathy Zickert with the law firm of Smith, Gambrell and Russell, LLP, claims the denial was improper, arbitrary, capricious, irrational, a manifest abuse of discretion, and a denial of Northlight’s right to substantive due process. Zickert also argues the City’s denial was simply to appease the public opposition and which, she says, constitutes an unlawful delegation of Chamblee’s zoning authority.
The legal action, or request for a Declaratory Judgement, is a request for Judicial review of the case yielding an opinion on whether the City’s decision was proper. To date, the City of Chamblee has not filed a “response” to the legal action.
Location of the property of interest shown in the map below.