County ignoring big bypass hurdle

Tue, 06/09/2009 - 3:55pm
By: Letters to the ...

Ever since the West Fayetteville Bypass project (WFB) project was officially introduced in an open house meeting the county held last September, it has been a source of heated debate.

Numerous articles have appeared in local newspapers, virtually all of them against the project. The West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition (“WFBC”) was organized to form a cohesive unit in organized opposition to the project.

Angry citizens in droves have attended commissioners’ meetings to voice their opposition. During this time period, almost no one has spoken out or submitted an article in favor of the project.

The WFBC is fighting the WFB primarily because its members believe that the project is not needed, it’s expensive, is developer oriented, and it will be harmful to the environment.

The WFB is not the first road nor will it be the last to receive public criticism. That’s why the law of eminent domain was designed. Once a public road project is approved, the county may proceed with it regardless of whether or not the public objects to it, provided that it is in the best interest of the public.

This is a case where the consequences of voting for SPLOST “road purposes” tax meant voting for the WFB, which never appeared on the voting ballot. The county put one over on us.

The county may also cross wetlands over the objections of the public, but there is a catch. First, the county must obtain a 404 Permit, which includes demonstrating an urgent and compelling public need for the project.

This is done by conducting detailed traffic studies that clearly demonstrate and document that the project is vital to the successful movement of traffic in the immediate area, and the particular route selected is the very best way to meet the traffic requirement. Other alternative routes must also be evaluated and compared.

The 404 Permit also requires that the road is in the best social, economic and environmental interest of the community.

The WFBC has tried repeatedly to obtain data from the county showing that the required traffic study and environmental evaluation have been made. Nothing was provided.

The commissioners have also been sent letters requesting the same information, and no responses or public responses have been made.

Somewhere along the line, they changed their mind, and decided we no longer need a bypass. It got renamed parkway, but that happened somewhere outside public meetings. Will whoever did it please stand up?

We’re being told to attend the county’s workshop on the project, and there, we might learn enough facts to render ourselves unbiased.

But unfortunately, all the county workshops talk about are topics like the Atlanta Regional Commission’s plans for Fayette County, bicycle trails, nature trails, senior facilities, and the aesthetics of the project. They don’t contain the statistical data the county will need to proceed with the project.

The commissioners have been told by an environmental expert with many years of federal government experience in this area that the county will not be able to obtain the required 404 Permit or pass the EPA Environmental Impact Assessment to cross the eight wetland areas that the WFB will impact.

In issuing a 404 Permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires documentation Fayette County evidently doesn’t have, or if it does have it, it won’t produce it.

Instead of joining in the discussion, the commissioners continue to remain silent. Surely they have some game plan.

What will happen when the county takes away three homes, a barn, and many acres of property away from the owners, only to find that they cannot proceed with the project?

Evidently, the commissioners consider the 404 Permit to be “a piece of cake” that may be obtained just by taking a slice at it.

The WFBC challenges the commissioners to publish a rationale as to how it plans to meet all Section 404 requirements. To do less, the WFB becomes the road to ruin in terms of public confidence.

Don’t hold your breath.

Steve Smithfield

Fayetteville, Ga.

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Submitted by ginga1414 on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 8:06am.

Anyone who has been living in Fayette County for awhile can probably remember the big debate over building The Pavilion. Many of us spoke out against it. We knew exactly what it would do to the County. We were told then that The Pavilion would draw shoppers from all of the surrounding counties and then we could implement SPLOST. SPLOST money from all those shoppers from all the surrounding counties would then pay to maintain our roads. Sounds good, huh? However, all of us nay sayers knew that would be the beginning of the end of the quality of life here in Fayette County. We were right. Ånd, the Commissioners were right, too. They brought the shoppers into the County. They implemented the SPLOST and they are building the Bypass/Parkway. That is how we got SPLOST. SPLOST and the Commissioners are destroying this County. Gen. Sherman couldn't do it, but our own Commissioners can. I still maintain that we are going to be compelled to change our County logo from "Where Quality Is A Lifestyle" to "Whatever The Commissioners Want, The Commissioners Get," or "Where Quality Is No Longer A Lifestyle." It is sickening how five people can destroy the lives of thousands.

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:04pm.

and everyone knows it. The commisioners want to pretent we don't so they can still slither around town. But the facts are ...the bypass was voted in 30 years ago. Today, it is obsolite at best. This is only to make the developers happy. They want to cash in and the commisioners are looking out for them. Just like some on the BOE. Look at the brand new school they can't open because there are not enough kids to fill it up. That school wasn't built for the taxpayers kids. It was built with taxpayers money, but, for the developers future customers kids...and again...everyone knows it.

Submitted by boo boo on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 2:40am.

That Road was only a dream for some of the developer friendly Commissioners we had in the past and the ones we have now. That was until they sneaked in the Splost.

I attended many of those Commission meetings for years and I only remember seeing and hearing of one map of a bypass road around Fayetteville. That road was Sandy Creek, crossing 54 to Old Norton Road going out to Lester or heading that way. The reason I remember the Old Norton Road route was because I knew someone on the road and they were not happy about their home probably being taken.

Then we never heard much of anything about the bypass, why, because we didn't have the money to build it. I can't remember exact Dates but at the end of Old Norton and Lester, houses started popping up like mushrooms. Whoops, sure can't buy all those people out. Never heard anything about the road they are talking about now. So someone,(Hearn most likely one and developers and others on Commission),(Hearn) the one that hasn't seen a cow path he didn't want to pave over)had some help from Developers to get elected. Wal la, they come up with a Splost. OH, it will help us have the best roads in Georgia, OH MY...kind of stuff.. Some of us fell for it and voted Splost in..Now this group of clowns have millions to blow and what do they blow it on a NEW BYPASS,(which is what it was all about in the first place, they just didn't tell us) This ROAD is not needed, not wanted, there are shortcuts all over this County to find your way around traffic...Such a swell bunch of, well, y'all can fill in the blank.

Lets hope they come to their senses and do the right thing by all of us Fayette Co. Citizens and for once let the Developers fend for themselves. Fix the roads that we have now. I have never seen so many pot holes as I have seen the last few years.

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 7:56am.

in the early 80s.

A lot of people didn't vote for Dunn for one reason or another. It was plain to me he was standing up to the developers and keeping us with large lots. He and the rest of the council sued Tyrone years ago during the Amos days because they felt that Tyrone's running a sewer line down 74 was going to cause major problems. They felt it was going to open it up for 1/2 acre lots all up and down that road making 74 into a parking lot. He, and Linda Wells, were very anti developer and taxpayer friendly. Any newcomer to the scene like myself could see the landminds the developers were putting in front of them, just waiting to get them out. Now they have, and look what you got. The bypass! and there goes 74 again. People in Peachtree city will have to airlift themselves to work! The bypass onto 74 is nothing more than again, to help the developers. Let those a$$h$l@$$s bend over and cough up the money for the amenities (roads and schools) for their own customers.

Apathy has made the taxpayers of Fayette county a CASH COW!

Submitted by boo boo on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 10:05am.

Dunn and Wells were the best Commissioners we had in the last 25 years. Those of us that frequented the meetings saw the professionalism of those two and breathed a sigh of relief. Apprehension returned when the people elected these clowns we have now. It was only a matter of time and they would show their true faces.

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 3:08pm.

they voted them out....and they got what they got...!!

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Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 3:14pm.

and you turned to yell at your army...and found no one was behind you? Just wanted you to do it all? I have felt like the Confederate soldier that some planter paid to fight in his stead...when comming home and telling the guy he was ok...the planter wanted his money back cause the guy wasn't dead! No more for me!

No more...people will have to prove to me there is no apathy in this county....and I don't think that is possible. No one here is worth wasting your time over.

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