Friday, October 4, 2013

City Hall smacked with two lawsuits over Glenwood Park rezoning

Posted By on Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

DINE OR DASH: Jeff Fuqua believes Glenwood Place could transform southeast Atlanta, but some nearby residents are fighting it at all costs.
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • DINE OR DASH: Jeff Fuqua believes Glenwood Place could transform southeast Atlanta, but some nearby residents are fighting it at all costs.
One month after Atlanta City Council approved two controversial ordinances to proactively rezone property at 800 Glenwood Ave., two long-awaited and inevitable lawsuits have finally reared their ugly heads.

Fuqua Development and Lafarge, the property's current owner, are both suing the city over possible damages to the Glenwood Park project. Atlanta developer Jeff Fuqua has planned to build a giant suburban-style retail center along the Atlanta Beltline that would include a 143,000-square-foot anchor tenant that's rumored to be a Walmart.

Councilwoman Carla Smith pushed the two pieces of legislation after growing concerns from her constituents in Grant Park, Ormewood Park, and other surrounding neighborhoods that the proposed development's plans went against the Beltline's long-term plans for denser and more walkable projects.

Both parties have threatened lawsuits for several months. Last month, Fuqua told CL that Council's vote was "illegal" and that a lawsuit was imminent in the coming weeks. He also added his firm would push onward with the development until it's forced to stop work.

Behind its paywall, the AJC shed some light last night on why Lafarge is suing:

While it doesn't stop the developer from obtaining building permits, attorneys for both companies say the rezoning diminished land value, stalled their project and makes getting the necessary financing more difficult.

"We don't have any choice but to fight, because we're fighting over millions of dollars here," said Doug Dillard, an attorney with Weissman, Nowack, Curry and Wilco, which represents Lafarge.

While the city doesn't comment on open lawsuits, the mayor's office recently told CL that the Glenwood Park project had been granted a special permit this summer from the city's planning department and had gone through its standard zoning and permitting process. But Smart Growth Atlanta, the main opponent to the Glenwood Park project, posted on its Facebook page that Mayor Kasim Reed recently told Grant Park Neighborhood Association's president Lauren Rocereta: "Y'all are winning this thing. Keep up the good work."

The project's opponents are now rallying the troops to appeal a special permit that the city granted Fuqua earlier this year. It'll take place next Thursday at noon inside Atlanta City Council's chambers.

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