Chamblee, GA, November 4, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The City of Chamblee is being sued by Trinity Development Group, LLC, Trinity Chamblee Station, LLC and Chamblee Longview, LLC, (Plaintiff’s), over a zoning change the City made back in September changing a number of parcels from Corridor Commercial (CC) to Village Commercial (VC). All sitting Chamblee Councilmembers and Mayor Eric Clarkson are named as defendants in the suit.
According to legal documents filed in DeKalb Superior Court on October 20th, this zoning change to VC prohibits restaurants with drive-throughs, gas stations/convenience stores, and private postal delivery services – all of which are currently operating on the Plaintiffs’ property in Chamblee Plaza.
The new VC rezoning means the businesses currently in operation in Chamblee Plaza, now fall into a category of legal, nonconforming uses. This includes the Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, the UPS Store and the Citgo gas station/convenient store, although Chick-fil-A is not party to this particular legal action, court documents indicate.
The suit alleges the damage to the businesses equates to $2.38 million in property value devaluation. The suit also calls the prohibition of restaurants with drive-throughs in the VC zoning district is facially unconstitutional, illegal, null, and void in that it fails to advance any legitimate governmental interest district and bears no rational relationship to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
The Plaintiffs are asking the Court declare that the VC zoning district is unconstitutional, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, illegal, null and void both on its face and as applied to Plaintiffs’ Property, and results in a taking of the Plaintiffs’ Property without just compensation. Plaintiffs are also seeking the Court award them any costs of litigation and attorney fees.
“The application of the VC zoning district to the Property constitutes a taking of Plaintiffs’ Property in violation of the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; Article I, Section I, Paragraph I, and Section III, Paragraph I of the Constitution of the State of Georgia of 1983, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” says the Court documents.
Attorney for the Plaintiffs, Doug Dillard and Jill Arnold of Pursley, Friese and Torgrimson, LLP, also ask the Court issue a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting Defendants from enforcing the VC zoning district against the Property; grant injunctive relief imposing the affirmative duty on Defendants to rezone the Property back to a constitutional classification; and that Plaintiffs have any and all further and other relief as this Court may deem just and proper.
According to the September 20, 2016 City Council meeting agenda packet when the zoning change was approved, the adoption of the CC to VC rezoning resolution making the parcel changes “official”, amends the City’s Future Development Plan Map to further the overall goals and policies of Chamblee’s adopted Comprehensive Plan.