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DeKalb Zoning Board Rejects Druid Hills Appeals

An attorney for the Druid Hills Civic Association says another lawsuit is likely.


The DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals has denied an appeal from the Druid Hills Civic Association that would have prevented the construction of the Clifton Ridge subdivision project.

The appeal was represented by two DeKalb County commissioners, Jeff Rader and Kathie Gannon, who were appearing as residents in the case.

Clifton Ridge developers were recently given a land disturbance permit that allowed them to proceed on the project. Rader and Gannon were hoping the board would reject the permit.

Instead, the board voted 3-1 to deny Rader’s and Gannon’s appeals to the permit.

The hearing followed a DeKalb County Superior Court judge's issuance of a temporary restraining order that halted work on the project for 30 days so the court could address concerns from the Druid Hills Civic Association, which opposes the subdivision.

Rob Benfield, the attorney for the association, said another lawsuit in DeKalb Superior Court is likely. It would be the 11th lawsuit in the decade-long dispute over the project.

Related Items:

Feb. 13 Zoning Hearing Scheduled for Clifton Ridge Subdivision

Druid Hills Residents Protest Clifton Ridge Subdivision

Joefly78 February 13, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Anyone know the legal basis for the appeal's failure?
Nemo February 13, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I have to admit I am siding with the builder. The historic commission is so unethical and corrupt that no rules are better than them. It is ridiculous that anyone should tell you what to do with your own property. These houses would do wonders for everyone's property value.
Joefly78 February 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM
How could houses worth less than the surrounding homes help property values?
Fair February 14, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Nemo is Scott Riley and is great friends with the builder. The builder is allowed to do what everyone else in the neighborhood is allowed to do...if you buy three lots, build three houses. Don't buy three lots and try to build seven houses and create a subdivision already in a subdivision called Druid Hills. It is a big deal if this is not overturned. Plain and simple.
paul February 14, 2013 at 03:51 AM
Nemo, is this true - are you Scott Riley? Are you a friends with the subject property owner/developer? What is your profession? How is the commission unethical? How is it corrupt? Please provide specific facts. You say it is ridiculous that anyone should tell you what to do with your own property. Then I assume that you wouldn't mind if a garbage dump, strip club, trailer park, nuclear waste site, dollar general store, etc. moved in next door to your home because, after all, who are you to tell your neighbor what to and not to do with his property. You say "these houses" do wonders for everyone's property. Please provide the facts to back this statement up. I'm new to the fight and I really would love to see an objective analysis. However, Nemo, I really have to say that your comments are so skewed and questionable that they do more harm for the subject property owner than good. If you really are the owner's friend, then do him a favor, and keep your statements to yourself.
josmwebb February 14, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Please, Mr. Riley, back up your assertions.
Joefly78 February 14, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Has the civic association considered buying these lots from the owner? It would seem to me that creating a LLC with investment capital from the neighborhood would be easy enough to do. Then, the association can decide what to do with them. I cannot imagine that the economics of this development are that great. The property has been held for some time with all of the associated costs (taxes, insurance, etc). As soon as the owner has to start dealing with the permitting office, he's going to wish he hadn't started the project anyway. Getting anything done in Dekalb is a pain, I cannot imagine the paperwork, fees, frustration and delays associated with building 6 homes on 3 lots. Cannot be economically worthwhile. The owner is a business person. He wants a return. Get the money together and make him an offer.
Barbara Baggerman February 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM
FWIW, I've been told in the past that zoning board members are afraid of being sued by developers for obstruction of business, so they usually end up voting in favor of the developer even when they don't want to and know it's wrong. If that be the case, perhaps zoning boards should turn around and sue developers for obstruction of democracy and threatening public servants. That seems to be the American way these days: decide everything through litigation, as representative govt becomes more and more a powerless charade. The power of the greedy trumps the will of the people.
Scott February 14, 2013 at 05:51 PM
The land is private land. I don't see how there is an obstruction of democracy. The zoning boards don't create zoning laws they simply confirm if developments are complient to zoning laws. In this case the owner of the land want to split up the property and sell seven lots instead of three. No zoning board could stop that. If the owner had tried to change the use of the land to industrial or a multi use complex they could say no. But they are just building 7 homes instead of three. The civic association has a better chance at having some input on the design of the homes but they are new homes not historic in any way so they might be SOL.
josmwebb February 14, 2013 at 08:19 PM
It is, indeed, private land, but is also in a official historic district with it's set of legal guidelines enforcing it. Every person purchasing property here knows this, or should. As residents, we have the right and obligation to pursue legal actions to maintain the integrity of the district and it's codes. It's more than preventing someone from "doing anything he wishes" with his property.
Bryan Gregory February 14, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Barbara, developers cannot sue members of the ZBA. They can only appeal their decisions to Superior Court.
Scott February 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM
I live near the development so I'm familiar with it. It is undeveloped land. This is not a historic preservation issue. The only thing that these new homes should be required to meet is an appropriate design so they fit in with the rest of the area. Which is also b. s. since Druid hills has plenty of modern home built within the historic district. We don't have the right to have those homes torn down and rebuilt to meet historic standards. So what's the difference?
Scott February 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Also I would like to point out that a property on the Byway in Druid Hills near the intersection with Briarcliff was split into two properties and now has two new homes going up that are nearly complete. The Clifton rd development is taking 4 acres of land and dividing it 7 ways that's about a half acre each. That a lot bigger than the lot of land my 1920's home sits on. I think this is a case of some egos getting hurt.

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