Fulton County Superior Judge Kimberly Adams will allow the Georgia Court of Appeals to review her decision in a case involving a historic Sandy Springs cemetery.

Adams on Oct. 8 ruled against descendants of Judge John Heard, a Confederate veteran buried in a cemetery located at 0 Heards Drive. The descendants were seeking a motion for summary judgment that would’ve given them control of the property.

On Oct. 21, Adams granted a motion for a Certificate of Immediate Review that will allow the Georgia Court of Appeals to review her ruling.

Wright Mitchell, attorney for the descendants, said he will petition the Court of Appeals.

The Heard descendants intervened in a lawsuit filed by Christopher Mills, the current owner of the cemetery property. Mills sued the city of Sandy Springs in 2012 after city officials denied his application to build a house on the property, citing rules preventing development on land containing graves. Mills said he wants to build his home on an undeveloped portion of the property that doesn’t contain any burials.

Mills and his attorneys have declined to respond to repeated messages seeking comment about this case.

Another Heard descendant, Mary Ann Elsner sold her rights to the property in 2007 to Mills’ in-laws, Henry and Wanda Cline. The Clines bought the property with the intention of preserving it but those plans never materialized. They eventually sold it to Mills for $1.

After Mills filed the lawsuit, Heard’s descendants intervened and asked the judge to give the property back to their family.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com