Follow-up on the Rivian Situation
State of GA Looks to Take Control
The news that broke yesterday of the state taking over the rezoning & permitting of the proposed electric car manufacturer’s facility caught many by complete surprise, including, as I’m told, all of the individual members of the Newton Co BOC as well as multiple other county & city elected officials throughout the four counties.
Purportedly in the works for some time & known by all four county BOC Chairs, the entirety of the Morgan Co. BOC as well as the JDA, OED & the other usual suspects/insiders, seemingly everyone else was pretty much blindsided.
The reactions were swift & severe.
A big question was simply — is this even legal?
Well, unfortunately, apparently it is.
Pretty much all police powers related to real property - zoning, building codes, permitting, land-use controls, etc - are ultimately the state of Georgia’s. Almost always, they delegate this power to its various political subdivisions (counties & municipalities) but always reserves the right per the original, statutory enabling acts.
To me, with my limited knowledge, it seems like a violation of the legally prescribed concept of “home rule” that is a defining attribute of the GA Constitution. Haven’t had a chance to look up any case law on this, but, I don’t know…maybe?
And that’s the thing. It seems as if that’s what our state is doing right now. Just winging it, really. More like guidelines than actual rules…
Though, as I understand it, this is exactly the same thing the state did w/ the Kia Plant down in LaGrange.
I just know there’s a lot of furious folks out there & I’m basically one of ‘em.
A lot of the ire, rightly in my opinion, should be directed at the Morgan Co. BOC, who, according to sources, was the driving force on this thing & was all too happy to abdicate & skirt their responsibility.
The big thing is this (and I may be wrong):
Title hasn’t actually transferred as of this time. I believe there’s basically just an option/first right of refusal, presumably contingent upon many factors not least of which would be getting the zoning & permitting. Now that everything has changed, would it mean that the previous agreement is no longer valid? Could Verner et al possibly set aside the contract?
Because, as of 2006, you cannot force a governmental involuntary alienation of title (eminent domain) in Georgia to benefit a private party (that state law was created to address the infamous Kelo v New London, CT SCOTUS case).
In that case, literally one person could stop all of this — Alan Verner.
At least, if my understanding is correct.