By RICK LAVENDER
Tom Reed - The Times
Gainesville cited the owner of this modular or industrialized
home in Waters Edge subdivision Friday for violating zoning
code. The citations were the latest exchange in a legal battle
between Building Systems Network and the city.
A Hall County Superior Court judge has dismissed the latest
appeal aimed at allowing an industrialized home in Waters
Edge subdivision. But the owner of the lot and unfinished
home suggested the legal fight is far from over.
For Grant Smereczynsky of Building Systems Network and his
attorney, the next round may be in Gainesville Municipal Court.
The city cited the Gainesville company with two counts of
violating zoning code Friday. The code allows industrial or modular homes,
which are built in factories and pieced together on-site,
only in multifamily, agricultural-residential and residential-office
Waters Edge off McEver Road Extension is zoned residential-1.
Smereczynsky maintains that federal and state law, which
bars zoning based on whether buildings are assembled on a
lot or in a plant, are on his side.
"I just can't go and move the house," he said.
"So we're not just going to let it go away."
Neighbors have said they fear the house will undercut property
values. Smereczynsky said the building, which he said is stronger
than a site-built home, has been appraised at $375,000.
On Dec. 12, Superior Court Kathlene Gosselin dismissed Building
System's appeal, siding with a request by the city.
The company had wanted Gosselin to reconsider her June decision
that denied a judgment in Building Systems' favor and disagreed
that the zoning restriction was vague.
But the December decision hinged on the lack of a transcript
from a June hearing, a lack Building Systems' attorney should
have "clearly" noted in his appeal, Gosselin wrote.
She called the delay of "several" months "inexcusable."
Smereczynsky said the ruling was made on a technicality and
he blamed City Attorney James "Bubba" Palmour III.
Attorney George Butler II, who had taken up Smereczynky's
case since the June hearing, said the plan is to appeal the
latest decision and possibly also target the code as unconstitutional
because it runs afoul of state law.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has written Gainesville
in support of Building Systems. The Georgia Attorney General's
office is reviewing the rulings.
City Manager Bryan Shuler said Sunday he hadn't seen the
Municipal Court citations but they would be the next step
in addressing a violation of city code.
If the judge assesses penalties, "the objective typically
is to fix the problem," Shuler said.
Fines are often reduced if the violation is corrected.
The only obvious correction here, however, is removing the
Smereczynsky said the city hasn't allowed him to maintain
the home, and he'll soon have to renew the loan.
But business in general "has been phenomenal,"
As evidence, he pointed to plans to assemble a home Jan.
11 in a subdivision off Ga. 60 in unincorporated Hall County.
In March, the city revoked building permits for the Waters
Edge home and another that was never built, touching off the
Originally published Monday, January 2, 2006
House Showdown Court Case Draws National Attention
City Unfairly Prohibits Industrialized Housing
won't accept defeat in legal battle Company vows to continue fight to build modular home
Homes Builder Challenges Discrimination from City Officials
in Zoning Case
rejects rezoning for prefab home
housing battle heats up over a modular home
home earns another 'no' from Gainesville
takes appeal to next level