County commissioners spar over W. F’ville Neighborhoods, bypass

Fayette County commissioners (clockwise, from left) Robert Horgan, Steve Brown, Lee Hearn and Chairman Herb Frady. Photo composite/The CItizen staff.

Fayette Commissioner Brown points to plan revealed by The Citizen as proof West F’ville Bypass is ‘developers’ road’; Frady, Horgan, Hearn disagree, saying road has been talked about for many years

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown contends a conceptual plan to develop land in the central area of the county is evidence that the West Fayetteville Bypass is being built to cater to developers.

The conceptual development plan — reported exclusively in The Citizen last week — was funded by the Fayette County Development Authority and the city of Fayetteville, beginning in 2008. The plan considers the development of some 2,000 acres in several parcels surrounding Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

Some of the new development would be annexed so it could be served by Fayetteville’s water and sewer system. That in turn will allow a higher density for the development when compared to the unincorporated county where no sewer service is available, thus forcing minimum lot sizes to one acre each.

All but one of the tracts has access to either Ga. Highway 54, Sandy Creek Road or Tyrone Road.

“The shameful part of all this is that the road that was cited to relieve traffic congestion is actually, once developed, going to increase the levels of traffic drastically,” Brown said.

Opposing Brown’s point of view, County Commissioner Lee Hearn noted that a 2003 traffic study performed by an independent traffic consultant in the area recommended both the West and East Fayetteville bypasses. Hearn also said it is clear the county needs alternate routes for traffic flow around the downtown Fayetteville area.

Hearn said the bypass was clearly on the county’s project list for funding in the 2004 county transportation sales tax, which was approved by voters.

Commissioner Robert Horgan pointed out that the West Fayetteville Bypass was part of the countywide transportation plan derived by previous county commissioners including former Commission Chairman Greg Dunn.

Horgan said he has never been approached by a developer asking him to build the bypass, nor has he “ever been given money” to make any such decision.

Horgan said he thought it was a good thing that the county was being forward-thinking with its planning in terms of the conceptual development plan that was produced.

Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele defends the plan, saying the city and county would be “derelict in our duty and responsibilities if we don’t plan for the future.” He also noted that the bypass has been in the county’s transportation plan since 1985, then called the “central parkway.”

Steele noted that the 2,000 acres considered in the development plan prepared by Historical Concepts of Peachtree City has been owned by families for multiple generations. And they have a right to develop their property when they see fit, he said.

As for the concept plan itself, Steele said he has heard no negative comments from residents, but he has gotten feedback from people who are “happy we are planning for the future.”

Brown last week also decried the decision to build a new elementary school, Rivers Elementary, along Sandy Creek Road as evidence the area was being primed for development. But as Fayette County Commission Chairman Herb Frady noted, the county commission has no power over decisions made by the Fayette County School Board.

ginga1414
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It's All Just A Coincidence

Frady, Horgan, and Hearn said that the “road has been talked about for many years.” Yes, the road has been talked about for many years. In conjunction with that statement, the family developers have talked about developing their land for many years.

Nothing was done about developing the land until the West Fayetteville Bypass was started.

In reference to the 2,000 acres within the planned development and the families that own the property, Mayor Steele said, “They have a right to develop their property when they see fit.”

It just so happens, however, that the plan for the development coincided with the building of the West Fayetteville Bypass.

Coincidentally, the road runs through the development and will provide more access to the development acreage.

IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT THE PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT WAS PAID FOR BY THE UNKNOWING TAXPAYERS OF FAYETTE COUNTY, AND WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY THE FAYETTE COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, THE FAYETTEVILLE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, OUR COMMISSIONERS, MAYOR STEELE, AND THE FAMILY DEVELOPERS.

COINCIDENTALLY, ADDISON LESTER IS COMMISSIONER LEE HEARN’S COUSIN, SITS ON THE BOARD OF THE FAYETTEVILLE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, AND OWNS LAND THAT IS INCLUDED IN THE DEVELOPMENT. THEREFORE, HE AND HIS FAMILY WILL BENEFIT FINANCIALLY FROM THE W. BYPASS AND THE DEVELOPMENT.

Having said that the family developers have a right to develop their land when and how they see fit does not address the fact that there are other families out here who are losing their homes and land because of this situation.

pips1414
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More than one hand stirs the stew

It looks to me as though Mayor Steele and the Jack Smith Commissioners put their heads together to come up with the "West Bypass relieving traffic in Fayetteville" promise as a lame attempt to justify building it. The project affects both Fayetteville and the county.

But none of them wants to get into just how the two lane road will reduce congestion when it passes 3 miles West of downtown Fayetteville, and then meanders into a maze of Fulton County roads.

Commission Chairman Frady admitted that he has a real estate license at the last commissioners meeting. He declined to say whether he was an agent or a broker.

In promoting the West Bypass, Fayette County officials have handed developers the key to gaining access to their vast holdings at the expense of the taxpayers. Unfortunately, neither the developers nor anybody else has publicly stood up and defended the project against the barrage of criticism it has received.

And instead of continuing to blame the dissent on landowners impacted by the project, Mr. Frady and company might want to include the tens of thousands of voters who voted against the project in electing Steve Brown and Allen McCarty.

NUK_1
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"tens of thousands of voters?" Where?
pips1414 wrote:

And instead of continuing to blame the dissent on landowners impacted by the project, Mr. Frady and company might want to include the tens of thousands of voters who voted against the project in electing Steve Brown and Allen McCarty.

Your math is way off. McCarty received the most votes of any candidate running with only 3,360 votes. There ARE tens of thousands of registered voters in FC(70,000+), but not even 10% of those registered bothered to vote in that election.

McCarty and Brown basically got 5% of all registered voters.

BHH
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Probably the worst thing is

that as all this transpires, the county is in the full process of condemning and taking the land they need for the bypass to continue.

These people are clearly not getting a fair price for their property or they would not have to forcefully take it.

This whole thing may well have been the right thing to do for Fayetteville and Fayette County, but it certainly is and was the wrong way to go about doing it.

The whole way there has been a constant storm of controversy that should have been better managed than to just go head strong into construction without just compensation and more openness from those in the know.

If there was a traffic study, why hasn't it been produced?

If this road has been planned since 1985, where is the plan?

How is Frady (or maybe his in-laws) linked to this development?

G35 Dude
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Too Bad

Too bad we can't sue these commissioners/ex commissioners for knowingly lying to the people.

grassroots
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Hearn Fabricates Traffic Study

We,the WFBC, have requested a traffic study on numerous occasions that shows the need for the WFB. For the last 3 years they have never produced one traffic study. How many times do we have to say it? THERE IS NO TRAFFIC STUDY! Mr Munford, please ask Cal to request for a traffic study. Maybe he will have better results. Oh, but since Mr Steele says it won't relieve traffic, then he didn't get the traffic study either.

Citizens should call for a revisit of the county fraudulently using eminent domain to implement their bulldozing homeowners and paving a parkway for subdivisions rather than the greater need of the public bogus need to relieve traffic.

boxwing
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Study Exists, But Flawed

The study does exist. The original proposed SPLOST road project list included a Tyrone bypass that would turn our neighborhood’s rural gravel roads into a high speed bypass around the town of Tyrone. We formed a community group to fight the Tyrone bypass and the first step was to obtain the URS traffic study and have a professional engineer do a review of it. We found several technical flaws in the report pertaining to the Tyrone bypass. We then took our findings and concerns to the Tyrone Town Council which voted to not support the bypass project. Armed with that resolution from the town and our engineering review, we made our presentation to the County Commissioners. After much debate, along with threats that our well organized group would fight against the SPLOST in the upcoming election, the Commission removed the Tyrone bypass form the final project list. Ever since we watch every proposed road project list that comes out of Fayette County to ensure that the Tyrone bypass does not “sneak” back into the approved list. Unfortunately the people in the path of the West Fayetteville Bypass did not notice and start their fight until after the approval of the SPLOST road plan by the voters.

lifeinptc
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Did anyone try and nudge Frady?

To see if he was still alive?

suggarfoot
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Priceless!!!

maybe it is best that we don't because his responses towards the public are never positive.

ginga1414
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Mayor Steele Admits The Bypass Won't Relieve Traffic

Last night at the candidate debates in Fayetteville, Mayor Steele admitted that the West Fayetteville Bypass won't relieve traffic in Fayetteville.

He talked about what a nice man Addison Lester is, and how his property has been in the family for many generations.

The fact that Mr. Lester is a nice man has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the man is paid by the taxpayers to make decisions regarding development. Whether or not Mr. Lester is a nice man has nothing to do with the fact that he helped make the decision to use taxpayers' money to have a conceptual plan devised that will benefit his family financially.

I have known most of the families who will profit from development along the West Fayetteville Bypass for forty years or more. I have had many discussions with some of those folks regarding the fact that they wanted to develop the land. Most of them are nice people. However, that doesn't change the fact that all of these people will profit financially at taxpayers' expense.

Mayor Steele, Commission Chairman Frady, Commissioner Horgan, and Commissioner Hearn refuse to address the fact that for the last three years they, along with former Chairman Smith and former Commissioner Maxwell, have repeatedly said that the W. Bypass wasn't for developers.

However, isn't it interesting that the entire time the commissioners were planning the West Bypass, Mayor Steele, the Downtown Development Authority, the Fayette County Development Authority and the commissioners were also planning the West Fayetteville Neighborhoods.

Isn't it interesting that Commissioner Hearn said that the West Fayetteville Bypass is his "baby," and his cousin Addison Lester, who also has a position on the Downtown Development Authority, owns property in the West Fayetteville Bypass development known as West Fayetteville Neighborhoods.

Mayor Steele, Chairman Frady, Commissioner Horgan, and Commissioner Hearn have been manipulating the people of Fayette County for so many years they don't even know how to speak in an open honest manner. Everything that comes out of their mouths is nothing more than political double talk.

suggarfoot
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Lester being nice does not merit taxpayer subsidy

"Whether or not Mr. Lester is a nice man has nothing to do with the fact that he helped make the decision to use taxpayers' money to have a conceptual plan devised that will benefit his family financially."

Can you say 'Amen' Hearn?

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