Rivian’s opponents hire additional law firm; the board considers the site’s tax-exempt status

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MADISON, Ga. – Rivian’s opponents’ new attorney warns them of what judges will consider in their fight against the electric vehicle maker’s plans for a production plant in Morgan and Walton counties.

In addition, a Morgan County Board of Tax Assessors has scheduled a special meeting convened to consider a regional development authority’s application to determine whether state-owned land leased to Rivian will make the land tax-exempt. tax.

Morgan County-based group Our Communities Opposes Rivian Production Plant announced it has hired Atlanta-based law firm Schreeder, Wheeler & Flint in its fight against the company’s plans for a $5 billion electric vehicle production and research facility on a 2,000 acre site. partly in Social Circle.

Attorney John A. Christy said in a letter to the group that “we will do our best to achieve your goals of preserving your beautiful community and your lifestyle.”

He also warned class members that judges “will only consider actual controversies and disputes” and will not prevent a government body from considering issuing a permit.

“However, if the license or other government authorization is not properly issued, a court will consider invalidating the action and stopping taking action on the improperly issued authorization,” he said. writing.

“It is important to properly raise any objections to actions requested from government authorities in order to preserve appeal or litigation rights. These objections must be made during any comment period or at the meeting of the government agency reviewing the application.

He said a court would not stop the Army Corps of Engineers’ filing or review of a “404” permit the state recently requested regarding the disturbance of lands and water sources. water.

“During the public comment period, we will file any objections or comments to the application. If the (Corps) does not adequately consider the objections and approve the application, we may appeal the decision to the district court of the United States,” he wrote.

Christy also wrote that the law firm was reviewing the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement presented to the Morgan County Board of Tax Assessors for approval.

“We will appear at the next Commission hearing and present your concerns and objections to the Commission for consideration. If the Board approves the PILOT agreement and has not properly considered our objections and comments, then we have the right to seek appeal and litigation.

“Similarly, if a land disturbance permit, zoning or other application for government approval is sought, we will review the applications and submit any appropriate objections in a timely manner and appear at any public hearing to urge them.”

He said other unresolved issues include whether the state of Georgia is exempt from local zoning laws and whether state land acquisition for non-public purposes is legal.

“These issues will likely need to be resolved by the courts in timely actions,” Christy wrote.

The law firm joins environmental law specialist Stack and Associates, officials said.

Our Communities’ announcement follows planning by the Morgan County Board of Tax Assessors for a special meeting to be convened Thursday, May 12 at 9 a.m. to consider certification of a tenancy plan that is part of a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between the Joint Development Authority (JDA) and Rivian.

The Board of Tax Assessors voted to delay action, or file, the JDA’s application on April 27 over the objection of County Attorney Christian Henry. The lawyer told council members that they were exceeding council’s authority by reviewing the merits of the entire Rivian deal rather than just checking whether the lease agreement exempted the land from tax.

The PILOT plan stipulates that the Georgia state government will purchase the land from the JDA and lease it to Rivian.

The agreement specifies how much the company will pay in PILOT payments, which could total $300 million over 25 years and be shared among the JDA’s four counties. Newton will receive more than $90 million of the total.

The band will also hold a benefit concert on May 21 at Social Circle’s Social Circle Theater. Proceeds will be used to pay the group’s legal fees.

The Scott Little Band and Doug Deluxe & the Rodeo Clowns are scheduled to perform at 7 p.m., according to information from Our Communities.

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