In a high-profile case, the Supreme Court of Georgia has dismissed the appeals of a husband and wife who sued Dawsonville city officials for approving development of a motorsports park near their home.
The couple, West and Helen Hamryka, filed the suit in June 2009 after the city approved the development across the road from their 86-acre horse boarding and training business known as Hidden Still Farm, Inc.
Speaking on behalf of the Hamrykas, attorney Richard Wingate said they are disappointed.
Were upset with the ruling, he said. We believe we followed the proper appellate procedures because the superior court had already ruled that this was not an appeal from an administrative agency.
Wingate also said that the underlying action against Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) is still alive and that the lawsuit has been put on hold until AMP is fully operational.
We intend to fully prosecute that claim, the lawyer said.
However, the state Supreme Court said in a unanimous decision, handed down on Tuesday, May 29, that the couple failed to follow the correct appeals procedure under the law.
The city is pleased with the results, said City Attorney Dana Miles. In essence, this ends the citys involvement in this lengthy process. Appointed Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan agreed. Were glad that the Supreme Court upheld what our city council and mayor did several years ago, said Grogan. I wasnt here at the time, so I cant speak to all the details, but the main thing is that what they did was right and the Supreme Court agreed. On Nov. 3, 2008, the City of Dawsonville adopted a Comprehensive Plan for future development. Under that plan, the property across from the Hamrykas was originally zoned as rural residential/agricultural. On Nov. 19, 2008, Jeremy Porter, CEO of Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP), filed a Zoning Map Amendment, asking to rezone the 152-acre property from residential to commercial to develop the motorsports park. Public hearings were held and in April 2009, the city rezoned the property to commercial. In June 2009, the Hamrykas sued the city and city officials, filing a nine-count complaint to stop the rezoning. They argued the proposed country club for motorsports, where for a fee people would drive cars, go-karts, and motorcycles, would create noise, congestion and pollution that would cause irreparable harm to their home and business, according to a review of the judgment given to the Dawson News & Advertiser by the Supreme Courts public information officer, Jane Hansen. Eighteen months later, a trial court entered three separate orders granting summary judgment to Atlanta Motorsports Park. (A court grants summary judgment when it determines there is no need for a jury trial because the facts are undisputed and the law falls squarely on the side of one of the parties.) The Hamrykas then filed three direct appeals to the state Supreme Court. In November 2011, the high court dismissed the appeals for failure to comply with the appeal procedures, but then granted them when asked by the Hamrykas to reconsider. After hearing arguments on the issue, the court dismissed them a second time. Im happy, but Im disappointed that we both wasted so much money and the court systems money, said Porter. I knew we followed the proper procedures to get our zoning, and Im glad we won again. And, well continue to work to be a good neighbor.