During its regular meeting tomorrow, July 17, the Sandy Springs city council will consider settling two lengthy and costly lawsuits over the city’s rezoning decisions.

The city will consider proposed zoning changes that would satisfy lawsuits brought by two plaintiffs: The Church of Scientology and MLGP Lakeside. The city will hold a public hearing on both during the July 17 meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. at 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500.

There will likely be a crowd of people interested in both issues so get to city hall early to grab a seat.

The lawsuits have cost the city’s insurance carrier nearly $220,000 according to city records and the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency, a risk-sharing insurance pool used by cities.

In each occurrence, the city received a bill for a $10,000 deductible.

The Scientology lawsuit is the more high-profile of the two cases. The city’s attorney asked city council members to approve a settlement at the June 19 meeting. The council deferred acting on the request after community members said they had not received enough notice.

In 2009 the council narrowly approved a limited rezoning for the church at 5395 Roswell Road, keeping the building’s size at 32,053 square feet instead of the 43,916 square feet the church wanted. The latest proposed zoning change allows the church to expand as long as it provides 130 parking spaces.

That lawsuit cost GIRMA $84,000, according to the most recent estimates provided. City attorney Laurel Henderson at the June 19 meeting warned the council that denying the application would pose a financial risk to the city.

The lawsuit filed by MLGP Lakeside over the property at 5775 and 5795 Glenridge Drive has its roots in a 2007 zoning application which the city denied in 2008. The developers in 2010 filed a new plan for the 26-acre property, which the city also denied.

The new site plan the city will consider includes 520 residential units, 8,000 square feet of restaurant space, 700,000 square feet of office space and 42,000 of additional commercial space.

In a recent report of claims released by the city, GIRMA reported paying $135,000 as of March 2012 for the Lakeside development lawsuit.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com