Filing a lawsuit was not the association's first choice for changing the excessive fee structure.
Jeff Rader, vice president of operations and public policy for the Atlanta association, said that his group “places a high priority on having a good working relationship with local elected officials.” The association was forced to file suit after its attempts to work with the county failed.
The association originally sought a declaratory judgment from the Superior Court of DeKalb County, which would have ordered the county to fix its fee structure, rather than settling the case monetarily.
The county had the case moved to federal court, where the association's motion for summary judgment was granted and the court maintained that the fee structure violated state law. The county appealed the decision — and later decisions that favored the association — and said it would continue to contest every ruling that required it to refund fees.
The association decided to settle for a $1.65 million payment because it was facing the threat of further delays from the country and it wanted to provide relief for its members.
The Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association's board of directors appointed a task force to determine how the unusual lump-sum payment will be used; the task force will report its recommendations by the end of the year.
The association has recently sought similar relief from the city of Atlanta.
For more information on the association's efforts, contact Sandra Cathy at 770-938-9900.
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