Chairman’s bypass for developers

Steve Brown's picture

I was amazed at how many people were shocked to discover Fayette County Commission Chairman Jack Smith was on the board of directors for the Bank of Georgia (owned by Georgia Bancshares, Inc.).

Bank of Georgia was created by real estate developers for real estate developers. Sure, this bank is one of a select few dedicated to heavily funding the developers and residential builders in Fayette and Coweta counties.

I detest these arranged marriages between politicians and developers. Of course, the average taxpayers are always trampled in these scenarios.

Years ago, the siren went off when I wrote about then-City Attorney Jim Webb’s relationship with the very same bank. At the time, Webb was representing the city in several lawsuits posed by some developers who just happened to be creating the new Bank of Georgia with him.

Webb ended up being axed by embarrassed city officials and I, along with The Citizen newspaper, were sued by the former city attorney for blowing the whistle. (Webb later dropped the lawsuit.)

Nevertheless, our banking politician du jour is Commission Chairman Jack Smith.

Now you know why Chairman Smith was so reluctant to turn back the tide on the TDK Extension, a Coweta housing and traffic tidal wave with the potential to swamp Peachtree City and Fayette County.

Without hesitation, you should know why Smith is pushing the West Fayetteville Bypass with all his might, conscious of the fact the $60 million “Developer FREEway” boondoggle cannot be justified and the citizens do not want it.

The bypass, as clearly seen on the map, opens up huge tracts of farmland to residential development. The county commission has had to admit the bypass is for “future traffic.” Who benefits from that type of activity: the Bank of Georgia? Who benefits from the Bank of Georgia: Chairman Smith?

Smith has had a relationship with the development community going all the way back to his Fayette Chamber of Commerce days.

Just as naughty as the bypass project, Chairman Smith has championed another tax increase via the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The ridiculous pork projects proposed for the SPLOST come off as a cruel practical joke in the midst of an unpleasant recession. Consider the tax proposal as Fayette’s version of Wall Street logic.

I have always recommended that voters be leery of casting a ballot for candidates who have financial relationships with the development community. Chairman Smith is certainly applicable to that philosophy.

It’s your money; speak up.

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at]

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Submitted by ginga1414 on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 6:55pm.

Thanks very much, Steve, for telling it like it really is. All the folks in the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition have known for a long time that the real motivation behind the Bypass project is development. It is impossible to look at the map we have showing literally hundreds and hundreds of acres along the Bypass route belonging to well known and wealthy developers and not know Jack’s motivation.

Jack has his public persona perfected as he sits on his throne before his “ignorant” subjects and listens with his straight face as they pour out their hearts and souls to him. He sits there with no emotion as they tell how they worked and saved for years to buy their property and build their homes. He sits there with a his stone cold eyes and pretends to listen as Environmental Specialist, Dennis Chase tells what his “rampant development” is going to cost in terms of destruction of our water supplies. If anyone asks Jack a question, he doesn’t answer. He doesn’t have to answer. He only has to sit on the throne. However, he did grace me with a reply to one letter I wrote him. Basically, he told me that I seemed determined to think badly of him, that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that if I would just come to the Commissioner’s meetings I would be better informed.

Jack’s “ignorant” subjects have to continue to work, scrimp, and save to try and pay for an old SPLOST. All the while Jack prepares to ask for another SPLOST as he proceeds with condemnation and destruction of property, wetlands and lives. Jack loves his friends, the builders but he finds his “ignorant” subjects rather distasteful.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 12:27pm.

First I voted for Harold Logsdon. Oh, what a mistake!!! Next, I voted for Jack Smith. Twice burned!!!

It looks like we ought to be recalling Jack Smith instead of the pot smoker.

Jack Smith isn't a Republican.

Vote Republican

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 6:29pm.

You are so right..ALL THE TIME!

Recently, I was down in Fayetteville too early for my appointment and decided to drive for awhile. I wound up down by Inman School in the middle on NO WHERE...

..and I do mean that with all my heart. With all the vacant land, I was AMAZED to see a school, then I turned right onto 92 to come back to Fayetteville.

Guess what guys?... there ..ain't no body down there....!

...unless the cows want to commute!

I came home later taking the route the new bypass is going to take...

.All I can say is every one of those schools...WE DIDN'T NEED... is along that bypass....WE DON'T NEED!

You would have to be insane not to jump to the conclusion that the schools, and the bypass are 'BUILT FOR DEVELOPER ONLY' gains.

We don't get anything out of using OUR tax dollars to build schools for the children the DEVELOPERS ...hope.. to bring in...

We don't get anything out of using OUR tax dollars to build bypasses..for people the bring in...

I don't know about you, but I KNOW..I'VE BEEN scr@@@ed....and I know I didn't enjoy it... Are all you people brain dead or something.

I would love to see who holds the mortgages on some home loans and personal loans of some of the wheelers and dealers around here.

This is outrageous!

zoes's picture
Submitted by zoes on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 12:33pm.

The south/east bypass can still be stopped. Now is a good time.


"Never love anything that can't love you back."

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 7:39pm.

OK, I will do that.

Developer road, for sure. It is certainaly not a bypass, it is a developer's road. Got it, believe it, sad that so few understand that.

That being said - So What!!!

We need to build more houses to bring in more tax dollars. What could be better than that?

So, brown clown, what are you going to do about it? Write a whiney column in the paper (OK, mission accomplished) or will you go to meetings and speak out or will you run for office and replace the other clowns that are there? What's it going to be?

Submitted by boo boo on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 9:08pm.

Someone in the know, years ago, told me that homes never bring in enough Taxes to pay for the services they will need. By the time schools, new fire stations, fire trucks, someone to drive those big red trucks, employees, police, deputies, on and on..those homes do not pay for themselves tax wise. In other words you can't tax those homes enough to cover the services they will need. So why build a road for developments if they don't pay their own way? Guess we are building those bypasses for developers profit margins. Seems to me we as taxpayers are subsidizing the Developers, Real Estate agents, Banks, well, a whole bunch of Corporate folks when you get right down and thinking about it.

CCB's picture
Submitted by CCB on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 9:25pm.

You can keep the two separate. Jack is a nice guy.

Submitted by fay79isus on Fri, 08/14/2009 - 5:54am.

Right to Profit? You betcha. But build your own damn, useless road. It is the same scenario. Land that is out in the middle of nowhere. Voila...Some politicians invent this need for a road to nowhere. "It's always been in the the Plan". "We need it to alleviate traffic." "We need to plan for the future." Suddenly the land in the middle of nowhere has 1/10 the commute time. Shockingly, houses are in demand. And--- ta da---- all that land is owned in large tracts by the same small number of people in town in the same little groups. Right to Profit? Go for it. But not at my expense.

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Fri, 08/14/2009 - 6:23am.

to make persnal profit, I call that stealing. I think that is still illegal.

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 9:52pm.

you must be insane!

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 6:40pm.

The developers come up with some money to build roads to subdivisions...they are going to put in, or have already put in...

Nobody uses the taxpayers money for the benefit of the developers and their adventures! NOBODY!

In an ethical world, if we were in dire need, it would be voted on by us to see if we wanted development brought in here. Then we would weigh if it was worth it to us.

What has happened is they took our tax money, made the decisions...that they wanted to help the developers....and we are screwed!

I can't wait to enjoy the clogged roads and to share 74 with a couple of thousand more people in 8am traffic!

My heart is bursting with love for the higher taxes we are gonna have to pay for police, and services.

My God! and I give to charity! What a waste!...I didn't realize it...but that was already done with my taxes!...only I didn't have the choice as to for who(developers)...or how much!

SPQR's picture
Submitted by SPQR on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:54am.


Haven't heard a vitriolic rebuttal like that since I was in high school

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