The developer of land in the Ridgewalk area has filed suit against the city of Woodstock.
Ridgewalk Holdings LLC accuses Woodstock of violating its zoning proceedings by not posting the notice of rezoning on the subject property, failed to properly advertise the amendment to its zoning ordinance, violated Ridgewalk Holdings' due process by not allowing the company to present its case against the change and the rezoning amounts to the "taking of the property of Ridgewalk without compensation."
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by former Governor Roy Barnes of The Barnes Law Group, which is representing Ridgewalk Holdings.
The company is requesting the Cherokee County Superior Court to grant an injunction in the case.
City Attorney Eldon Basham said he's not surprised by the filing, but he noted he hasn't had time to go through it.
"The suit was expected, though, since Governor Barnes had threatened suit on behalf of his clients for several months," he added.
The Woodstock City Council during its Sept. 24 meeting approved amending its zoning ordinance to include a section on form-based code and amended its official zoning map to change the Ridgewalk area's zoning from technology park overlay to incorporate form-based code.
The council was sharply divided, with council members Liz Baxter, Chris Casdia and Bud Leonard opposing the change. Council members Tessa Basford, Randy Brewer and Bob Mueller voted in favor. Mayor Donnie Henriques cast the tie-breaking in favor of the change.
Form-based code veers from traditional zoning in that it addresses the relationship between development and public spaces as opposed to relying on separating uses based upon categories.
The city decided to go towards form based codes after it became apparent the Ridgewalk area would not develop into a technology office park hub. The city last year held numerous public input meetings with residents and stakeholders to get feedback on how they’d like to see the Ridgewalk area develop.
Ridgewalk Holdings, LLC, which owns the bulk of the property subjected to the change, has opposed the change. The company's owner Bill Butler, through Barnes, requested the city if it could exclude roughly 45 acres from the change.
About 32.5 acres is being eyed by Canton-based Watermarke Church to possibly build a facility in the area and 12 acres is under consideration by Horizon Group Properties, the developer of the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta under construction in the Ridgewalk area.