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Georgia developer faces land use and zoning conflicts

Zoning ordinances serve varied purposes. Some areas are zoned, for example, to prevent residences from being built near hazardous businesses. Other municipalities establish land use and zoning laws to protect the environment and prevent developers from exhausting natural resources. While not all Georgia zoning laws are strictly enforced, one developer is finding his way blocked despite having received past approval for his plans.

The problem is that he sought approval for his project in 1987. The developer submitted plans for a 50-story tower, a smaller tower and a hotel with commercial space to be constructed on a large undeveloped property. The buildings were never constructed, and meanwhile, the site underwent radical changes. For one, a major thoroughfare now bisects the property, and another developer purchased a corner of the land for the construction of his own hotel.

Only 14 acres remain of the original land, and the zoning board says the developer cannot continue with his 30-year-old plans without seeking a rezoning of the property. The board says the plans the man submitted in 1987 are no longer feasible because of the substantial changes in the area since then. In particular, since plans for hotel construction have been filed for the corner of the property, the zoning board does not seem eager for the original developer to proceed with plans to construct a second hotel.

Whether one is a developer seeking zoning changes or a resident of Georgia with concerns about how rezoning will affect the quality of life, going through the red tape of zoning challenges can be daunting. Once construction on a project begins, it is much more difficult to address the zoning issues that may be crucial to the situation. With the help of an attorney who is dedicated to protecting the environment, anyone with land use and zoning questions can find the best way to proceed with those challenges.

Source:, "Sandy Springs wins Northpark legal case, halts tower/hotel plan", John Ruch, Oct. 27, 2017

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