W. Fayetteville bypass vote postponed

Sat, 05/16/2009 - 6:10am
By: John Munford

The Fayette County Commission Thursday night decided to hold off on a vote about the staff-proposed alignment for the second phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass.

More than a dozen people addressed the commission, either urging them to consider more tweaks to the road path or abandon the project altogether. Several people complained about a lack of documented need for the project.

The current bypass alignment would result in the need to acquire three homes and one barn, county officials have said. One of those homes, owned by the Randy Blount family on Lees Mill Road near Mallard Creek Lane, found itself in the crosshairs of the bypass as a result of the most recent road alignment due to the need to make the intersection of Lees Mill Road and the bypass road safe, officials explained.

Megan Blount tearfully told the commission that she and her family were having a hard time coming to grips with potentially losing their home. She asked commissioners to be fair in negotiations to buy the property so they could buy a similar home elsewhere.

Blount said the past month has been difficult for her family. But in the end, she said, they will always have each other “and that’s something you cannot take away.”

Dennis Chase, a member of the Line Creek Association in Fayette County, said he has been helping a group of residents who oppose the bypass completely. Chase said he has spoken with the region administrator of the Environmental Protection Division who “anticipates” receiving an environmental impact statement on the project.

“You are heading down a road that is going to end up with a restart on this thing one way or another,” Chase said. “... I am helping these people and you are going to have to toe the line on this kind of detail probably more so than any other application. I told you in November you were better off if you stopped and you looked at it.”

The bypass will have to cross eight streams as part of the current alignment for the second phase. After the meeting, Chase suggested that the county could ditch the first phase of the bypass, currently under construction, and use Gingercake Road instead. Doing so, he acknowledged, would require motorists to travel briefly on Ga. Highway 54 instead of just crossing the road.

Steve Smithfield of the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition alleged that voters were “misled” because the bypass project was not detailed on the ballot for the county’s transportation special purpose local option sales tax. The road is being paid for largely with SPLOST funds.

Smithfield said there are 1,100 acres of undeveloped property along the bypass route, and those landowners would benefit from having the bypass built.

“Here we find a development need for the road,” he said.

In addition to the Blount home, two other homes are currently in the road’s path on the end of Janice Drive. But they will not be the only ones affected by the road, as other homeowners anticipate hearing noise from the road due to its proximity to their homes.

Several such homeowners spoke, bemoaning how the bypass will result in Fayette losing part of its rural charm.

The second phase of the bypass will pick up at where it currently ends on Sandy Creek Road just south of the new school campus. From there it will follow a stretch of existing road on Sandy Creek before continuing onto a portion of the existing Tillman Road.

The road will not follow the northwesterly turn on Tillman but instead will continue in a fairly straight pattern to Eastin Road before meandering around a subdivision and continuing to cross Lees Mill Road just north of the private drive Mallard Creek Lane.

From there the road goes toward the end of Janice Drive where two homes are in the road path before continuing around another subdivision and linking up with Hwy. 92 at West Bridge Road.

Once all three phases are complete, the bypass will connect Ga. Highway 85 south at Harp Road so motorists can navigate around Fayetteville instead of driving through town.

The county hopes, in the future, to have improved access to Interstate 85 off Hwy. 92, officials have said. But there is no such active project in the regional transportation hopper at this point.

The bypass was initially conceived as a two-lane road with enough right of way to expand it to four lanes in the future. But after that drew significant concerns from residents, the county commission elected to reduce the right of way width from 120 to 100 feet, effectively preventing the bypass from ever being widened to four lanes, officials have said.

At the end of the public’s comments on the bypass, commission chairman Jack Smith said residents could “rest assured a lot of these (comments) will be and already have been taken into consideration. We have asked staff for multiple changes and realignments to see how we could best do this.”

Smith then noted it was “unfortunate” that any decision would be unable to please everyone, and he assured the audience the commission didn’t take its responsibility lightly.

“We understand it impacts families and entire areas, wetlands, subdivisions and neighborhoods,” Smith said.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by ginga1414 on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 7:07am.

The West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition will never let the heat or the spotlight diminish when it comes to this gross deception. The great thing about the folks in our group is that we all care about each other and we all care about what happens to our neighbor's home and property. We all care that the citizens of Fayette County have been duped and are being used to line the pockets of developers. We all want the absolute best for our county and that doesn't mean more houses, more people, more cars, more taxes, more lies, and more destruction.

We really appreciate the coverage and concern The Citizen, John Munford, Ben Nelms, Steve Brown, Dennis Chase, Michael Meyer, and Gordon Furr have given our group. We appreciate all the members of our group. They did it because they care.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Sun, 05/17/2009 - 4:17pm.

Smith's actions are based on a corrupted traffic model.

"The county hopes, in the future, to have improved access to Interstate 85 off Hwy. 92, officials have said." Not reassuring at all since GDOT says, "no, no and no."

This is a fly-by-night scam for developers to gain access to undeveloped land

Commissioners/Developers 1 and Fayette citizens 0

Submitted by momma on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 7:34am.

How do we stop this from happening? What can we "the average citizen" do to stop this?

Submitted by mysteryman on Sun, 05/17/2009 - 7:20pm.

Without a single shot being fired.. The masses went quietly except for a few. Who rose up in protest, only to be put down by a commision that amounts to nothing more than a bunch of puppet dictators, whose strings are being pulled by big money players. All at the expense of the citizens of this county. The land grab is complete, the infrastructure is being installed as we speak, all provided to the developers who stand to rake in millions. All Carte Blanche by the citizen of Fayette County... The taxes will continue to mount as our quality of life continues to degrade. Open your eyes, our parks or littered with trash, our shopping centers are full of empty spaces. Homes are abandoned and dark, criminals fleece our community daily.. And our officials will continue to do as they please, as long as it suits their need.. Next election you know what to do.....PEACE

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 7:59pm.

Jackie Bulldozer sez..."Wait until the heat dies down then ram it through."

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Sun, 05/17/2009 - 6:32pm.

I've tried to stay out of this ..because...it seems the deed has been done...we have been sold down the river by our own elected officials...to the developers.

It is insane what has happened to Fayette county. People moved here cause they wanted room for their kids and good schools. Enter a Yankee who got on the BOE and made it into a money garbage disposal. Every time someone has objected to the waste, they have been beat over the head with,'don't you love your kids, want a future for them? hers seems to have done quite well and not that much of a degree.

Now it appears that the schools in the middle of no where make perfect sense...if you understand that the developers own the land around it, and they also own the land where the by pass is going.

Elected officials have already made peace with themselves for what they are doing.

But the deal is, the people who's money they are spending are not happy. It is the taxpayers money, and if they don't want it spent to benefit the developers, that is the way the stewards of that money should act. They are bulling the taxpayers into paying for the developers schools and roads! I feel Fayette county government is VERY corrupt. I don't know how any normal person could come up with a different thought.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 8:22pm.

Steve Smithfield of the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition.....

said there are 1,100 acres of undeveloped property along the bypass route, and those landowners would benefit from having the bypass built.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Voice of Fayette Future's picture
Submitted by Voice of Fayett... on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 8:10pm.

Bypass Alternative: Widen Gingercake instead....That makes a whole lot of sense from all angles---- less disturbance to families; less impact on environment; a whole lot less money coming from us taxpayers.

Submitted by mysteryman on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 1:26pm.

Can you say....Service forthcoming, or has been recieved already....The way this whole project came about, no matter how it was presented is libleous, and the way it is being carried out is grossly negligent not only to the enviorment, but to the taxpayers of this county as well.. In the end this will cost the citizens even more tax dollars in legal fees as the commision will find its self deep in lawsuits. Both local and federal.. Imgine that....BLESS

Knowitall's picture
Submitted by Knowitall on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 12:56pm.

How do you spell DECEIT?
The Fayette County Commissioners: Jack Smith, Herb Frady, Robert Horgan, Eric Maxwell and Lee Hearn, for hiding the bit about the bypass in the SPOLTS! Let’s pull together and find their hidden agendas and their “dirt”.

Knowledge is the key to success

Submitted by pips1414 on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 11:58am.

The first we heard of the current SPLOST West Fayetteville Bypass was when we received a letter last August from the county showing a proposed route crossing our entire acreage. We are aware that the project has been brought up again and again for the last 25 years years or so, but never really got to voting status due to negative public opinion. After being told by the Commissioners "you voted voted for it" when we knew that we hadn't voted for it. we finally found it buried in "Exhibit B" to the SPLOST ballot, which one must go to the county election office to view. Exhibit B is not retrievable using your home computer on the County website.

What I haven't been able to find anywhere are articles of support for the project. I attended the May 14 Commissioners meeting. When all the audience who opposed the project were asked to stand, they were given no chance...Commission Chairman Jack Smith immediately told them to "sit down...this isn't a circus!" He later apologized for his remark.

We see recently that the West Fayetteville Bypass no longer exists. Now, it's become the West Fayetteville Parkway, which sits in the middle of approximately 1400 acres currently owned by major developers whose names we would all recognize. Yet, the county maintains that the road is not being built for developers. This surprises us, as we thought public opinion specifically pointed out that tying the Parkway to traffic in the area was a dead horse. We're now told that the Parkway will be similar to the Peachtree Parkway, which contains no driveways South of Highway 54. But they don't deny that the Peachtree Parkway contains numerous subdivisions accessible by intersecting roads.

It's actually true that all this complaining is about something we voted for. I guess this us what you get in Fayette County when you vote for your SPLOST tax dollars to apply to "road purposes".

Submitted by PTC_factchecker on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 10:44am.

So I'm confused - if the goal is to route traffic from Harp Road to Westbridge Road, what's wrong with this route?

Harp Road to Redwine Rd
Redwine Rd to Ebenzer Church Rd
Ebenezer Church Rd to Lester Rd
Lester Road to Old Norton Rd (or Huiet Rd, then east on 54 to Sandy Creek Rd)
Old Norton Rd to Sandy Creek Rd
Sandy Creek Rd to Eastin Rd (or Lees Mill Rd)
Eastin Rd or Lees Mill Rd to HWY 92

It's all exiting roads, most of them fairly lightly travelled (at least the many times I am on them going up to Union City or down to Lake Horton area).

So.....we need this road WHY?

All Smiles's picture
Submitted by All Smiles on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 9:03am.

I am so glad to hear the commission is going to hold off of the finial vote for the second phase of the Fayette bypass! I do not have any property in the proximity of the bypass and will not be affected one way or the other, but I am at a total loss as to why this bypass is being built in the first place? Is this commission planning on bringing more residents into Fayette County? Are they planning for the over population seen in the northern suburbs of metro Atlanta? The vast majority of the residents of Fayette County moved here due to the close proximity to Atlanta yet the more rural areas than the rest of metro Atlanta. Do the commissioners think the residents have changed their minds and now want more development? I can’t help but wonder….. What’s in it for the commissioners? Which one of them gets the largest ‘kick back’? I know for sure, if this project goes any further, I for one will surely not vote for any one of the commissioners come election time, I don’t care who runs against them, the incumbent WILL NOT GET MY VOTE and I will campaign hours for the opposition! I feel sure I can sign on the entire Blount family and their friends along with hundreds others to make sure the incumbents of the Fayette commission do not get re- elected should this bypass continue!

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Sun, 05/17/2009 - 6:40pm.

care if they get your vote or not...they will be sitting pretty.

Submitted by pomsmom on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 10:46pm.

This by-pass is going to be the shortest route from north south east and west fayette county when your destination is FULTON OR CLAYTON COUNTIES. do the math. It makes me sick. fast get-a-way or WHAT.

kew96692003's picture
Submitted by kew96692003 on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 3:57pm.

Are we striving to provide more access to our belongings to the people who wish to just take it? Already overflowing with people, can't go to the store with no cares as we use to for fear of being "jacked" in the parking lot. It is a sad state Fayette is in and now we hear screw all of you who actually care! Have any of you been to Henry recently? You can't get from one side of the road to the other in less than 30 minutes for all the people and developement, is this what we want? How underhanded is it to tell someone we know you own that house and we know you own that land, but that's only until WE want it? That's our lovely government for ya, they can all bite me!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.