Fayette rezoning approval may avoid contempt of court charge



TSTT Investments attorney Kathy Zickert. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The Fayette County Commission on Aug. 23 may have avoided being held in contempt of court by approving a court-ordered rezoning of a subdivision on Ebenezer Church Road to be permitted for 2-acre lots. The attorney for the applicant said her client will review the commission’s decision and render a decision.

Representing TSTT Investments, attorney Kathy Zickert at the conclusion of the 4-1 vote that rezoned the 212.8-acre tract to R-78 zoning (2-acre lots) said, “At this point, we’re looking at the number of lots (R-78 zoning) will generate. If it can still generate 91 lots or more it could be fine. Otherwise we will go back to court.”

Her comment pertained to an order by Fayette County Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards following a lawsuit brought by TSTT over the 2016 commission denial of its rezoning request.

Edwards earlier this year ruled in favor of the developer, and cited the 2016 action by the commission in denying the proposal to build the 91-home subdivision as unconstitutional based on the county’s comprehensive plan then in effect.

Edwards’ ruling was appealed by the county and landed at the offices of the Georgia Supreme Court, where that court declined to hear the case, returning it to Edwards.

Edwards ordered the rezoning request back to the commission, noting that “…  if plaintiff remains convinced that the new decision is also unconstitutional, then it may reappear before the court via application for contempt.”

The vote to rezone the property as R-78 rather than the requested (PUD) planned unit development was 4-1, with Commissioner Chuck Oddo opposed.

Most on the commission were outspoken in their disagreement with Judge Edwards’ decision, as were a number of people in the audience who attended the meeting to voice their opposition to the 91-home subdivision.

The move to rezone the property for 2-acre lots appeared to be an attempt by the commission to potentially address the concerns of some, given that a number of the lots under the PUD zoning would be 1-acre in size.

“I don’t see any outs except to risk contempt,” Chairman Eric Maxwell, an attorney, said in an effort to find ground with which the developer might agree. “Generally, you go to jail until you purge yourself of that contempt.”

That ground came with the passage of the motion to have all lots zoned for 2-acres.

Whether that will satisfy TSTT remains to be seen.