Grant Brantley will be the mediator. Brantley is also a senior judge in Cobb Superior Court, but this case is assigned to Judge Stephen Schuster.
In June, Mack Dobbs Properties LLC filed suit against the city arguing that zoning stipulations enacted in 2004 that prohibit several types of businesses, including pawn shops, in the strip mall deny property owner Celestino Venturi “an economically viable use” of the property.
The developer seeks unspecified damages for violations of its rights under the state Constitution.
The strip mall is at North Cobb Parkway and Mack Dobbs Road.
In September 2011, Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan was granted a business license to open in the strip mall, which the city admits was done in error. After the pawn shop opened around the first of the year, neighbors in subdivisions behind the strip mall complained to the city about the zoning violation.
Venturi’s company then sought a zoning variance that would have removed the pawnshop prohibition, but the city denied the variance. The Cruchelow shop vacated the strip mall in early June, shortly before the developer filed suit.
In their response, lawyers for the city and its insurers sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, which has not happened. They also ask for unspecified costs.
“Plaintiff proposed, agreed to, and then knowingly violated the very zoning condition that it sought to have lifted in its 2012 Application and that it continues to complain about in the instant action,” the response states.
Fred Bentley Jr., the city’s attorney, said mediation was ordered by the court.
“Thus far, the city’s position has been to defend it, and we are required to go to mediation, which we will do in good faith,” Bentley said.
The pawn shop has since opened at the corner of Powder Springs Street and Bellemeade Drive in Marietta.
Garvis Sams, the attorney for Mack Dobbs Properties, declined to comment on the litigation.