A DeKalb County judge said Friday she plans to study the county's zoning code before ruling on whether its zoning board unlawfully considered an appeal from local protestors regarding the construction of a Walmart Supercenter in North Decatur.
Superior court Judge Tangela Barrie did not rule on a motion from the county to dismiss the lawsuit or a motion from attorneys representing Good Growth DeKalb – the local group fighting the construction – asking her to rule on
the suit without going to trial, the group said in a statement. Barrie also gave Good Growth DeKalb until Sept. 1 to submit arguments against the county's motion to dismiss on the issue of standing, which refers to whether the plaintiffs have the right to sue, Good Growth DeKalb said.
feel very confident in our case and in our attorneys and take heart in the
judge's refusal today to rule in favor of the county's motion to dismiss the case," said Louise Runyon, a Good Growth DeKalb spokesperson, in a statement.
Selig Enterprises, which owns Suburban Plaza where the new Walmart would be built, has also filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to intervene, Good Growth DeKalb said. The judge denied the motion to intervene Tuesday. Selig Enterprises could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
Attorneys with Good Growth DeKalb appealed the issuance of the Supercenter's construction permit in January, claiming truck, tree and hydrology ordinances were not followed when it was granted to Selig Enterprises. Its attorneys contend the appeal should have been heard by the county's Technical Board of Appeals, which was not set up. Its Zoning Board of Appeals heard the issue instead, and it had no legal authority to do so, according to Good Growth DeKalb.
The group said about 45 protestors showed up before the court hearing for a rally. The group has repeatedly said the Walmart Supercenter will worsen traffic, destroy the surrounding neighborhood and overtax infrastructure.
The judge said she expected the parties back in court in late September.