LAWRENCEVILLE - A property owner's legal crusade against several Lawrenceville ordinances, including its controversial downtown development rules, is over.
Parker Gann, who claimed many city regulations were improperly adopted and therefore should be tossed out by a Gwinnett Superior Court judge, dropped his lawsuit last week.
The developer said he halted the litigation because the city fixed some of the problematic ordinances, and because his lawyer bills were becoming too expensive.
"We spent a lot of money and there is a point where you draw a line in the sand and say, 'I'm going to hit that and that's as far as I'm going to go,'" Gann said.
Mayor Bobby Sikes said he's happy the legal quarrel has ceased.
"All I can say is I'm glad it's gone and over with, and I'm looking forward to moving along with the (downtown) revitalization and getting back to work," Sikes said.
Sikes did not know how much the city spent on the lawsuit, but the amount did not exceed its $25,000 insurance deductible, he said.
Gann, who had two attorneys working on the case, estimated he paid them more than $100,000 to research the ordinances, file court documents and appear during city meetings.
Gann claimed the City Council over the course of several years had improperly adopted many ordinances that govern everything from land use and property maintenance to downtown revitalization.
State law requires the city to advertise meetings where zoning ordinances will be adopted and then hold public hearings so citizens can sound off on the proposed regulations.
Gann charged the city did not do that. He also alleged some of the ordinances were so poorly written they were illegal.
This summer the City Council voted to restructure the city's ordinances after holding advertised public hearings. City officials said the action had nothing to do with the lawsuit, but Gann claims it weakened his case.
Gann is still critical of city officials and the ordinances, which he said are still poorly worded and confusing.
City officials have encountered harsh criticism from downtown property owners who say the city's rules for development in the city center are too restrictive.
While downtown landowners have asked the city to change the regulations that govern the appearance of new or modified buildings, a number of residents have asked the city to keep the current rules in place.
On Monday, the City Council voted to do away with a requirement that new buildings go near the sidewalk with parking in rear. Now parking spots can go in front in most parts of downtown.
Gann has also halted individual lawsuits he filed against City Attorney Anthony Powell and city Planning Director Brad Leonard.