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Developer files appeal in lawsuit against Braselton

POSTED: January 28, 2009 11:58 p.m.

BRASELTON — Century Center at Braselton, a retail and office development in Barrow County, has filed an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court in its lawsuit against Braselton.

In a brief filed Monday, the development has asked the court to hear oral arguments in the case, which involves a disagreement over Braselton’s overlay district zoning ordinance.

The case was dismissed in October 2008 by a superior court judge. The suit was filed in Barrow County but transferred to Jackson County Superior Court.

Century Center is asking the supreme court to reverse several decisions made by the superior court and that the case be sent back to the trial court, according to its brief.

Century, which was developed by Buford-based developmental group Gray Properties, is on Ga. 211, near Beaver Dam Road and just south of Interstate 85.

Since 2007, Century and Braselton have fought over the interpretation of the town’s overlay district zoning ordinance.

The 2004 ordinance stipulates that commercial developments with road frontage on Ga. 211 must adhere to certain requirements, including gutter widths, minimum landscape strips, multi-use paths, streetlights and street trees.

Century refused to comply, contending that Braselton had annexed the land improperly.

Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers, who represents the development, stated in the brief that Century "repeatedly notified the town that they believed the ordinance was both unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable."

Braselton denied requests for a zoning variance, and Century sued in 2007.

The case has been in superior court three times, but Superior Court Judge David Motes dismissed it with prejudice on Oct. 17 due to unpaid attorney’s fees. Motes had ordered Century Center’s two lawyers to pay Braselton’s $17,980.57 in attorney’s fees because of "misconduct" in a previous hearing, according to Braselton’s lawyer, Kelly Hundley of Henderson & Hundley, P.C. in Decatur.

In response to the dismissal, Century Center filed the appeal, challenging the "constitutionality of an ordinance," according to Bower’s brief.

Braselton has 20 days to respond.

Hundley said the case will be on the supreme court’s April docket, with arguments sometime in April. He did not know when the court could make a ruling.



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