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Hall County. v. Cook Communities

Hall Cnty. v. Cook Communities, A23A0055, 2023 WL 4246126 (Ga. Ct. App. June 29, 2023)

The present appeal involves a constitutional attack against conditions that the County attached to the approval of Cook’s application to rezone, which essentially amounts to a denial of the request. This Court recently has addressed the proper method to challenge the constitutionality of a local authority’s zoning decision in the superior court.

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In both decisions, this Court noted that for decades it has been well settled in Georgia that “when considering a rezoning request challenging the constitutionality of a zoning ordinance as applied to a particular piece of property,” “a zoning authority acts in a legislative capacity … and, accordingly, the proper procedure to challenge the zoning authority’s grant or denial of the rezoning request is to file suit in the superior court, which may then conduct a de novo review.”

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Applying the reasoning of both Schroeder and Talking Rock to the facts in this case, we conclude “that this case is also controlled by existing precedent, and that under well-established law, the trial court did not err by denying the County’s motion to dismiss [Cook’s] complaint … since [Cook] was not limited to review of the zoning authority’s decision by writ of certiorari.”