A local attorney suing the city of Sandy Springs for blocking his plans to build a home on land containing a historic cemetery has decided to seek outside legal help.

Christopher Mills, current owner of the Heard Family Cemetery at 0 Heards Drive, had been representing himself in the lawsuit. Mills sued the city in August after it denied his permit. He wants a Fulton County Superior Court judge to overturn the city’s decision. According to a notice contained in the court records, attorneys Christopher M. Porterfield and Samantha L. Murray now represent Mills.

All three attorneys work at the law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh, LLP. Mills has declined to comment.

The attorneys have until Dec. 9 to respond to a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by an attorney for the more than two dozen descendants of Judge John Heard, a Confederate veteran whose family and descendants are buried in the cemetery.

Mills obtained the cemetery property from his in-laws, who bought it by paying delinquent taxes and obtaining the rights to it from another Heard descendant. It’s unclear how the cemetery accidentally ended up on the delinquent tax list. Cemeteries are tax exempt in Georgia.

To read more about the descendants motion, click here. To read the Sandy Springs Reporter’s investigation into the case, click here.

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