City Council of Peachtree City
<br />Peachtree City Planning Commission
<br />Special Called Joint Meeting Minutes
<br />Thursday, April 21, 2022
<br />3 p.m.
<br />The Mayor and Council of Peachtree City met with the Planning Commission in a special called joint
<br />session on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Mayor Kim Learnard called the meeting to order at 3 p.m. Council
<br />members attending: Gretchen Caola, Frank Destadio, Mike King, and Phil Prebor. Planning
<br />Commission members who attended were Chairman Michael Link and Commissioners Paul Gresham,
<br />Mitzi Johnston, and Scott Ritenour.
<br />Zoning and Development Legal Updates
<br />City Attorney Ted Meeker said City Manager Jon Rorie had asked him to talk about a case the City of
<br />Brookhaven recently lost. Meeker, the City Attorney for Brookhaven, said he wanted to review some
<br />general guidelines to help officials in zoning considerations, but could not go into much detail about
<br />the Brookhaven case because he anticipated there would be an appeal.
<br />Meeker explained there were two types of public hearings for zoning matters in Peachtree City. The
<br />State required one public hearing on a rezoning request, and City ordinance also required one public
<br />hearing on a variance request. A public hearing for a road abandonment was not required.
<br />The Brookhaven case involved a request to build 30 single-family homes off Buford Highway. The
<br />developer asked the City to abandon the road, and Meeker said there was no agreed upon price.
<br />Meeker cautioned the officials to remember that a public hearing was a quasi-judicial proceeding,
<br />and they were sitting like judges in the matter. He said they should not have contact or conversations
<br />with the applicant or with citizens. If they wanted to view the property in question, it would be best to
<br />do it from the greenspace or the road. Any contact with a party involved in the case could be used
<br />against them in court. Even an exchange with the property owner just asking permission to come on
<br />the property for a look could be considered an ex parte conversation, he stated. If they had a
<br />question about something before the hearing, they should ask City staff.
<br />Destadio noted that they often received texts or emails about upcoming issues and copied them to
<br />staff and other Council members. Should he reply to the sender? Meeker said he could thank them for
<br />their interest, but not reply with anything of substance. They shouldn't debate the issue ahead of the
<br />hearing, but it was okay to share the emails.
<br />Meeker again warned that he was limited in what he could say because of the Brookhaven case.
<br />Destadio said he often visited sites, especially when he was on the Planning Commission and was
<br />reviewing landscape plans. Inevitably, someone would come out of the business or construction site
<br />and introduce themselves. Link said this often happened to him. Meeker stated they should avoid
<br />conversation about any upcoming decision.
<br />Learnard asked about indemnification in the event of a huge lawsuit such as the Brookhaven case.
<br />Meeker explained that the City's defense costs would be covered through the Georgia Inter local Risk
<br />Management Agency (GIRMA), except in cases where an official knowingly took action contrary to