West Fayette Bypass means destruction, disruption for these families

Tue, 09/16/2008 - 3:47pm
By: Letters to the ...

On the Fayette County letterhead there is a partial drawing of our beloved courthouse. Under the drawing of our courthouse, the letterhead reads, “Where Quality Is A Lifestyle.” This [month marked] the end of our quality of life in Fayette County.

My little piece of Fayette County is on Lee’s Mill Road exactly one-third mile from Ga. Highway 92. Next to our property is my mother’s property and next to that my sister and her husband built a home. Across our family’s dirt road (Mallard Creek Lane), my Uncle Julian Lee and Aunt Betty’s home sits diagonally from my driveway. Their son and daughter’s homes are on either side.

This land has held our family together for many years and now Fayette County is tearing it into many fragmented pieces.

I received a letter and other documents [recently] on Fayette County letterhead. The documents were, in essence, informing me that the county has decided to destroy my property, my mother’s property and many more acres that belong to my fellow citizens and neighbors by constructing the West Fayetteville Bypass.

If the quality lifestyle of my family, neighbors and fellow Fayette County citizens has to go, that letterhead has to go.

I have six grandchildren who can’t understand why it is they will no longer be able to visit Meme and Pips and ride their bicycles and tricycles up and down our driveway. They don’t understand why they won’t be able to ride their bicycles and tricycles down to Uncle Julian’s lake to feed the ducks, hunt for tadpoles and visit with the Canada geese that come every spring to hatch a new family of baby geese.

They won’t be able to watch the otter float on his back and eat his lunch from his belly. They will no longer be able to sit on our gazebo and watch the mama deer teach their babies to eat plums from our plum trees and snap the buds off our day-lilies. They won’t be able to run in delightful terror from our resident skunk. They won’t be able to watch the wild turkeys eat from our bird-feeders.

My grandchildren will no longer be able to ride our golf cart through our property. They won’t be able to go down to our stream and find shells. Yes, I said shells. Are they shells from endangered mussels? My six grandchildren will no longer be able to marvel at the engineering and dam-building abilities of the beaver that live along our spring-fed creek.

They won’t be able to climb on the rock terraces that run through our property. Who built the rock terraces? Could it have been the Creek Indians?

All of that will be destroyed by the West Fayetteville Bypass. My grandchildren will no longer be able to do those things because the powers that be in Fayette County have decided to cut our property in two. All of those beautiful animals that my grandchildren love to watch and study will be squashed into bloody masses on the West Fayetteville Bypass.

Presently, my home is approximately 800 feet from the nearest paved road, which is Lee’s Mill Road. If it is built, the West Fayetteville Bypass will be less than 90 feet from our front door. Our home will be on one side of the bypass and our well and gas meter on the other side.

We have a 290-foot-deep drilled well that had to be put where it is because the well drilling company tried four times to drill closer to the house but weren’t able to because they hit solid rock and broke their bits each time they tried. Just imagine the cost overruns the county will experience in building a road through rock. We had to blast through solid rock in order to have a partial basement.

My husband and I, with our own hands, cleared the site for our home and driveway, making sure we saved every single tree possible. Please understand, this is just my family’s story. There are hundreds of others who will be affected by this road.

My husband tried rationally discussing with the powers that be the possibility of slightly changing the route of the road, and he was told it wasn’t possible because there was a new million-dollar home in the path of the road. Fayette County allowed this home to be built when it already had plans for the West Fayetteville Bypass. So, who pulled the strings?

We need to provide our existing families and children with quality lifestyles and educations. We don’t need to spend our tax money on more roads in order to open up more land for more people, houses, schools, businesses, and expenses, which is just going to lead to more roads, people, houses, schools, etc.

Have you noticed that the more businesses that are built, the more business closings we have? I wonder how the Fayette Chamber of Commerce feels about having traffic routed away from Fayetteville.

Actually, is it good economic sense to spend millions and millions of dollars on a road when gasoline prices are so high that people can’t afford to buy gasoline? Does it make good economic sense to grant building permits for million-dollar homes when the housing market is in crisis?

People are losing their homes right and left here in Fayette County, and existing homes that have been on the market for more than two years are sitting empty and can’t be sold. Does it make good economic sense to invest in more road construction when the economy is so bad that a large corporation like Panasonic just sent 500 hundred jobs from Peachtree City to Mexico?

My husband and I will fight this thing with every ounce of our beings. However, we all know how much homes, children, families, clean air and water mean to the powers that be in this day and time. What is important to them is our money and how they can spend our money.

The only way Fayette County could even come half-way close to compensating me for what they want me to sacrifice is if they pay me for my land and my mother’s land, dismantle my home, move it to another place of my choosing, drill another well, put in another septic tank, pave another driveway, put in another basement and reassemble my home and yard to its original condition.

To some people there are things more important than money. The county wants my family to happily relinquish what we have physically worked, scrimped and saved to build our entire adult lives. Every inch of my property is not just a place, it is my family’s home.

You might say this is all sour grapes. Well, you are right. It is also broken hearts, ripped up plum trees, squashed deer, skunks, turkeys, baby geese, and in my estimation, poor economics, ill-spent tax money and politics. It is Fayette County, “where quality is no longer a lifestyle.”

If you are troubled by the impact the West Fayetteville Bypass will have on our lives, and if you don’t want more houses, more people, more cars, more 18-wheelers, and more businesses, that will only beget more, if you think enough is enough, contact the following people and let your voice be heard:

Jack Smith, chairman, Board of Commissioners, JackSmith@fayettecountyga.gov; Herb Frady, vice chairman, herbf@fayettecountyga.gov; Robert Horgan, rhorgan@fayettecountyga.gov; Eric Maxwell, Emaxwell@fayettecountyga.gov; Peter Pfeifer, ppfeifer@fayettecountyga.gov; Carlos H. Christian, transportation engineer, cchristian@fayettecountyga.gov.

Ginga Smithfield


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Submitted by Okie on Fri, 11/28/2008 - 3:15pm.

I just found your Letter to the Editor. I did e-mail Chairman Jack Smith since I was unable to attend the last Commissioners meeting. I voiced my opposition to the Bypass......do you hear the crickets? No response. They happily accepted our Property Tax Check, almost $5200.00 and that SPLOST penny every time I go shopping. But they don't give a flip about us as Fayette County citizens. If they wanted a bypass, they should have built it 20 years ago when a lot of the land was empty. Before there was a hospital, schools, and subdivisions in the path. Oh, but we didn't need it back then did we.

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 2:33pm.

I certainly can relate to how you feel as some of my property may be crossed by the East Fayette Bypass. The million dollar home you speak of, yes ma'am I belive those $$$$$ signs have made more decisions on these roads than any other data. I'm refer to County Line Road, which could easily, efficiently, at a lower cost be widened, rather than building all new roadways. However, like your neighborhood, there are a couple of million dollar homes along County Line Road, so the road will be built to veer around those homes and property and cut through the less than million dollar houses.

The other blogger mentions roads not being on the maps, correct again. Have you tried going to the website and find the exact maps/routes of these roads? It is hard to find, and the map is split up, or so tiny you can't see it, so who knows what roads, homes, families, etc. will be bulldozed. It seems the almighty dollar for those who will profit is all that matters, not what makes sense. And I certainly agree with you, times as bad as they are and we are going to build more roads.

This is so sad. I'm sorry for your extended family and the heartache this is causing.

Submitted by curmudgeon on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 2:10pm.

Well said, Mrs. Smithfield.

I met with Carlos Christian, the transportation engineer and turned in my comments from last weeks meeting. I found there is much work undone on this project. Apparently the only reason this route was chosen is that it looked good on the map. No traffic studies have yet been done in the area to even see where the traffic is coming from or going to that uses Hwy 92 north right now.

Also, the maps that we saw at the meeting, now taped to Mr. Christians wall do not even have Rivers Rd. shown. This road is 100 yards from where the proposed road would end! Talk about government ineptness (sorry for being redundant).

I suggest the road that would alleviate much of the traffic problem in Fayetteville already exist. If you don't like sitting through a few light changes in Fayetteville just make your way over to Sandy Creek Road and go drive north to 74 near 1-85. For a little adventure you can even cut across Coastline Road, which is one of the few dirt roads we have left, to Lee's Lake Road. From there work over to Oakley Industrial and come out on 138 near I-85.

There are several other routes (Tyrone Road to Collinsworth?) people can take to get to work and not spend time sitting reading the car tag in front of them. Instead of the county spending 6.4 million dollars on another road why don't they publish some good maps. However, I suggest they use someone not in the county employ to draw them. How much would it cost to give everyone a good county map when they purchase a car tag? Somewhere short of 6.4 million I hope.

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