MADISON, Ga. — A group of Morgan County residents have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt development of the planned Rivian site by making the state-owned land subject to local zoning laws.
The lawsuit was filed in Morgan County Superior Court in Madison Friday, Oct. 21, against Morgan County government elected and appointed officials; the site grading company, Plateau Excavating; and the Joint Development Authority (JDA).
Plaintiffs include Edward Clay, Candace Beam, Alan D. Jenkins, A. Felton Jenkins III and Deborah Crowe.
It seeks "an injunction immediately enjoining defendants JDA and Plateau from performing any further work in furtherance of the Rivian Land Disturbance until such time as compliance with the Morgan Zoning Ordinance, the Morgan Development Regulations, the Morgan County Code, and the provisions of (state law) is established."
"We are confident this action will bring the zoning back to our local jurisdiction, and also halt work, for the time being," said Chas Moore, spokesman for opponents of the electric vehicle plant's construction in Morgan County.
Most of the 2,000-acre site is in Morgan County, with the remainder split between the city of Social Circle and unincorporated Walton County.
The lawsuit states that the site was zoned Agricultural/Residential before the state government took control of it.
Those filing the suit argue it should be subject to local zoning regulations rather than be exempted because it is owned by the state government. It will be used by a private company for its uses rather than for state government purposes, and should not be exempt, it stated.
"The Rivian Rezoning Applications were never acted upon, and were never approved, by the Morgan County Board of Commissioners and (individual commissioners)," the suit states. "As such, the Rivian Morgan Property remains zoned Agricultural Residential (AR) under the Morgan Zoning Ordinance.
"The development and operation of the Rivian Project is not a permitted use under the Agricultural Residential (AR) zoning district of the Morgan Zoning Ordinance.
"The development and operation of the Rivian Project is not an allowable conditional use under the Agricultural Residential (AR) zoning district of the Morgan Zoning Ordinance. The Rivian Project constitutes a heavy industrial use in accordance with ... the Morgan Zoning Ordinance."
The suit also asks that the county's planning director, Chuck Jarrell, be ordered to enforce the county zoning ordinance and issue a stop work order because it is being developed for industrial purposes rather than what's allowed in the Agricultural/Residential zone within the county ordinance.