In 1985 I got a job offer from a corporation located south of Atlanta. The county we liked best was Fayette.
Driving back towards Fayetteville on Ga. Highway 92, we saw Kingswood subdivision. This was a rural environment, with big lots, and trees everywhere, the perfect location for our kids to grow up in.
This afternoon, I look out the window into my backyard and see trees in the woods surrounding my home. I can see my neighbor’s homes in the distance. In the summer, the view of neighboring houses is blocked by the leaf-covered limbs of trees throughout the Kingswood subdivision. This is not city life, and we’re really happy to live here.
J. Walter Sheffield and I.C. Rolader were the land owners responsible for some of the nicest residential developments in Fayette County. Kingswood and Sheffield Estates are two of them. But now the son of one of those original land owner/developers is threatening to destroy the value and pride of our homes in those and surrounding subdivisions with a development of multiple houses per acre on his property adjacent to Hwy. 92 Connector and next to Kingswood.
Rolader’s original plan was to sell the land for condominiums and small houses on tiny lots. Home owners in Kingswood and the surrounding subdivisions have protested against that original plan. He’s changed his plans a bit. There’s no condos, but now he’s proposing six lots per acre crowding the property next to our subdivisions.
That’s six houses on a lot that’s not as big as my backyard. That’s the density of houses like seen in the big cities. Surrounding property owners are protesting this plan, too. It still puts too many houses and residence within such a small area.
My neighbors and I desperately avoided that lifestyle by moving to Fayette County. We live in south Fayette to be able to enjoy our homes in subdivisions on big lots that provide a blend of peace, quiet, and security, without big city environment next to us. Some drive a long distance to work every day just so they can enjoy their homes where they live.
Rolader doesn’t live in the area around Kingswood or any of the neighboring subdivisions. He’s willing to sacrifice the very reason that Fayette County neighbors to his current property actually bought their property from Sheffield and Rolader years ago.
If Rolader’s proposed development is approved and Fayetteville annexes his property into the city, the housing he proposes will destroy our peaceful rural environment. It will strip the land of all the trees that give the area its rural character. He’ll maximize his profits at a cost to the neighboring subdivisions. His gain will lead to a serious loss of country character and replaced it with a treeless complex of multiple houses. And the value of all the homes on acre or larger lots in the surrounding neighborhoods will likely decrease.
History repeats itself. If we don’t learn from it and stop bad things from happening to our community when we see them coming, the area will soon become just like other cities and counties next to Fayette County. Some already refer to our county seat as “Fayette-dale.”
I don’t believe that the homeowners and taxpayers anywhere in Fayette County want to wear that name and pay the price for Rolader’s development as currently proposed. Let the decision makers in our local government know what the taxpayers want for their homes and the properties that surround them in the county.
And one last note to Rolader: Please don’t destroy some of the masterpieces of land development in Fayette County that your dad and Mr. Sheffield created like Kingswood and Sheffield Estates. That property and the adjacent subdivisions have become treasured values for so many families that live there now. These subdivisions just south of the current city limits of Fayetteville may be no more than someone else’s property to you, but it’s homes to the many families that live there.
Please stop trying to have your property next to ours annexed into the city limits. And please stop asking for zoning that would allow multiple houses per acre. Please don’t make your fortune and leave the homeowners surrounding your latest planned development with decreased property values along with feelings of dismay and hate.
Work with us to make this community a place where everyone can benefit from its growth. The current and new residents of this area, and you too, can all be winners here in Fayette County if we work together.