By Stan Welch
A developer who was denied approval by the Anderson County Planning Commission for several multi-family residential projects last year has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Anderson County and anyone and everyone associated with the decisions, as well as a number of individuals not related to the county or its administration.
A number of the defendants are sued both as county officials and as individuals.
The lawsuit is largely the result of actions taken by the Anderson County planning commission at their June, July, August and September meetings in 2017.
Representatives of Beeson Development presented an application for a proposed project named Chimney Hill at the June meeting of the commission.
According to the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, the developer had been in consistent and frequent communication with the appropriate county offices as they prepared the application. The application was denied, but no violations of the county code were cited as justification for the denial.
A month later, a second application, identical to the first one, was resubmitted and also denied. At the August meeting of the planning commission, the application was tabled, ostensibly so a traffic study could be conducted. At that meeting, several dozen Powdersville residents attended, and spoke vehemently against approval of the application. At the September meeting, the application was once again denied.
The lawsuit claims that Beeson’s project was denied without cause “to prevent development in general and to prevent development by Beeson specifically.”
The lawsuit also cites a number of irregularities related to the denial of Beeson’s application for a second project called Yorkshire Farms. Similar allegations are included in the lawsuit for projects Attenborough, Kingslake, and Cheshire.
The lawsuit also alleges that the county, while denying Beeson’s applications, which he claims violated no aspects of the Anderson County Code, approved other permits which the lawsuit alleges did, in fact, violate that code.
The suit also alleges a bias against multi-family projects, stating that his projects were delayed in the hopes that zoning regulations would be adopted in the meantime that would prohibit such projects, while favoring single family residential proposals.
In fact, Beeson’s application for Chimney Hill set off a political maelstrom in the Powdersville area concerning zoning.
Zoning in Anderson County is imposed on a precinct by precinct basis. Petitions to put the issue of zoning in the Concrete and Powdersville precincts on a special referendum failed to get enough signatures, and the issue is unresolved at this time.
Beeson’s lawsuit, which lists Beeson Development, LLC as well as J&E Holdings LLC and Joseph C. Beeson individually, purports that Beeson had purchased properties, or entered into contractual arrangements to purchase properties; and that he has suffered damages as a result of the county’s actions.
The lawsuit seeks $42,500,000 in damages, as well as court costs and attorneys’ fees.
By Stan Welch