Former Gov. Roy Barnes sues Cobb County over zoning dispute
Mableton native and former Governor of Georgia, Roy Barnes, has filed a lawsuit against the Cobb County commissioners.
The long-time Cobb County resident filed suit after the board denied a rezoning request made by a developer preparing to build homes on his farmland, Barnes Farms. In this suit, Barnes is also representing Barnes Farms as its attorney.
The former Governor asked Cobb County Superior Court Judge Sonja Brown to declare portions of the county’s zoning code unconstitutional. Barnes Farms has partnered with developer David Pearson Communities to build a proposed single-family residential housing development on his 192-acre farm in unincorporated Powder Springs.
The farm backs up to Sweetwater Creek and its floodplain. Flooding concerns were cited as the reason his rezoning request was denied. During a recent zoning meeting, Clithon Rice, who lives in a nearby subdivision and serves as its HOA president said, “It’s not a question of whether the creek floods or not…it floods. As all of these subdivisions are being built, that water has to go somewhere.”
Barnes said in the lawsuit that the development is proposed for outside of the floodplain zone, and the open space will mitigate flooding.
The suit also claims that the county “created an exclusionary system of zoning without any rational or compelling basis and with the intent to deprive those of low and moderate income from being able to purchase a home.”
As hearings have been heard with different bodies, Rice has remained steady in his concerns about the density impact and how the surrounding area would be affected. Rice said, “They could care less about the other communities; it’s all about maximizing the profit. They will stick these homes on top of each other with no space.”
A trial date has not been set for Barnes’ lawsuit.