City of Tucker settles lawsuit filed by Tucker Towing

Tucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — The Tucker City Council voted 6-0 to settle a lawsuit with Tucker Towing following a meeting held Thursday, Sept. 1.

The city council met in a closed-door meeting, known as an executive session, before voting to approve the settlement. 

The city of Tucker did not immediately release any information about the terms of the settlement. 

Tucker Towing has been fighting the city since 2019 over where the company parks vehicles. 

Tucker Towing, operating from 3815 Lawrenceville Highway, has been parking vehicles behind Mower Menders, 3823 Lawrenceville Highway – using the adjacent lot since 2005 to store dozens of vehicles from semi-trailer cabs to coupes and even tires, according to photographs.

In 2019, the city issued a code violation to Tucker Towing for improper storage of vehicles. 

In September 2020, city staff denied a request to maintain the former code, or “grandfather” the property, and denied a request to use the property for storage of towed vehicles. 

Tucker Towing unsuccessfully tried to appeal the decision for years. 

Tucker Towing claimed the denial of nonconforming status by Tucker Community Development Director Courtney Smith was based on erroneous findings, claiming Smith acted in an arbitrary manner. 

In an appeal letter to the Tucker Zoning Board dated October 2020, Tucker Towing’s attorney wrote, “Based on the foregoing evidence, if the City of Tucker’s denial was based on a finding that Tucker Towing’s storage of towed vehicles was not authorized prior to becoming nonconforming, or that such use was not continuously maintain in the time since, then this represents erroneous finding of material fact contrary to the evidence presented.” 

The letter calls Tucker’s decision “erroneous application of the zoning ordinance to the facts” and “arbitrary action not supported by law.”

The ZBA rejected the claim, stating Tucker Towing failed to submit a written lease and a current Occupational Tax Certificate for the property. The ZBA denied Tucker Towing legal non-conforming status over storage of vehicles on a lot adjacent to the business. 

Tucker City Council previously approved an amendment to city code regarding the auto industry.

“Staff has identified several concerns with existing auto businesses which include life safety, environmental issues, vehicle storage, uses expanding outside of what is permitted by their Occupational Tax Certificate, and lack of conformity with the Comprehensive Plan,” a memo stated. 

“We want to educate and assist where we can,” said Smith at a City Council meeting in March 2021. “For the last five years, even before we were a city, there have been complaints and concerns about some of the vehicle storage, or the dilapidated vehicles or the inoperable vehicles. We want to address those concerns as well.”

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