Lawsuit brought against Alabaster by developer still pending

Published 10:27 am Thursday, August 13, 2015

The South Grand View Development company sued the city of Alabaster in January 2012. The lawsuit currently is still pending. (Contributed)

The South Grand View Development company sued the city of Alabaster in January 2012. The lawsuit currently is still pending. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – A lawsuit brought against the city of Alabaster by a developer claiming the city cost it significant financial loss by a 2011 rezoning decision is still pending in U.S. District Court, according to court records.

In the 2012 lawsuit, South Grande View claimed the Alabaster City Council caused the company “potentially millions of dollars in lost profits” when it adopted a new zoning ordinance during its Dec. 5, 2011 meeting.

According to a complaint filed in court by South Grande View Development, the company “invested millions of dollars developing” property off Butler Road, including the Grande View Estates subdivision.

According to Alabaster City Council minutes, the council voted unanimously during its Dec. 5, 2011, meeting to rezone the undeveloped 130 acres from R-7 town home and R-4 garden home districts to R-2 single-family residential district.

In its complaint, South Grande View Development claimed the R-2 zoning allowed less dense development than the company had planned for on the property, and claimed several undeveloped lots on the property were under contract with a builder when the city voted to rezone the property.

After the rezoning, the company claimed banks holding mortgages on the company’s properties “declared themselves to be insecure and proceeded with foreclosure” on multiple pieces of the company’s properties.

The company claimed it did not learn of the city’s decision to rezone the 130 acres until “after the time for appeal to the Circuit Court for Shelby County had expired.”

The most recent filings in the case came in early 2015, when Alabaster’s attorneys requested the case be dismissed, claiming the city “followed all appropriate and applicable state laws and procedures for the notification of the ordinances following the Dec. 5, 2011, meeting.”

The city also claimed South Grande View owner and founder Charles Givianpour and the company’s attorney, Jack Harrison – both of who are now deceased – were at the Dec. 5, 2011 meeting.

In a response filed on Feb. 4, South Grande View’s attorneys claimed the city should have mailed a letter to the company informing it of the council’s rezoning decision.

“To Alabaster, an investment of over a decade of work and millions of dollars was not worth a single letter,” the company’s attorneys claimed.

In a reply filed on Feb. 11, which is the most recent filing in the case, Alabaster’s attorneys claimed it provided proper notice by publishing the council’s decision in a newspaper and by posting it in three public places in the city.

“SGV and its counsel knew when the ordinances were adopted and they bear the responsibility of ensuring statute of limitations are met, not Alabaster,” read the reply.

As of Aug. 13, there were no future hearings scheduled in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Since the lawsuit has been filed, the city has worked with Charles Givianpour’s son, Cameron, and approved a rezoning in May to allow an 84-home subdivision to be constructed off Butler Road.

The land for the 84-home subdivision is not tied to the pending lawsuit.