Fayetteville going berserk with development

The city of Fayetteville has gone berserk over rapidly moving development plans. The City Council and the Development Authority are going all out to create a major urban metropolis in Fayette County to rival Riverdale, Stockbridge, McDonough and east Newnan.

Witness the apartments on Ga. Highway 54 just west of town that are built very close to the road to create an urban feel. Since when did Fayetteville want an urban feel? If I had wanted to live in an urban area, I would have moved to Marietta or somewhere else in Cobb or Gwinnett Counties.

Then we have the massive development, Pinewood Forrest, that is getting under way, designed to add several thousand residents to the area. I was very skeptical of the Pinewood Studios at the beginning, thinking it would attract every greedy, illegitimate developer in the Southeast. I kept my mouth shut on this one hoping that the new jobs would benefit the county.

There aren’t that many permanent new jobs, but the developers have shown up. Very disappointed in Fayette County resident Dan Cathy for his involvement in building this new addition to Fayetteville. Why do we need this many new homes? Certainly it is not for the workers at the movie studios. There just are not that many of them in permanent jobs.

Then we have the large multi-family project under construction on the south side of Hwy. 54 just before the Fayette Hospital. What, pray tell, prompted the City Council and its development board to approve that? Who will this multi-family development serve? How will this benefit the city and the county? Increased tax revenues will be offset by more services required, more infrastructure and maintenance, more traffic, more trash to dispose of, more pollution, etc.

As that is finished, another developer, with council and zoning board approval, wants to construct a business park on several hundred acres in the vicinity of the intersection of Tyrone Road and Hwy. 54. This move will require yet another annexation of property into the city to allow the full development to occur.

Has anyone done a count of office and retail spaces available in Fayetteville? If this type of construction is needed, why not build it near the junction of Ga. Highway 85 and Ga. Highway 314 where a couple of shopping centers in the vicinity are now practically dead and leave the Hwy. 54 corridor to rural development. Or perhaps Fayetteville’s leaders are pushing for a rival to Bullsboro Drive.

Here we will have potentially another boondoggle similar to the one on Grady Avenue and Hwy. 54 that the Cathy family bailed out. Or thinking in the more distant past, remember Stonewall Village that the county eventually took over when no business or professional interests leased any of the spaces?

Now yet another developer wants to build a large senior living complex in Fayetteville as if we needed more. To top it off he wants a tax allocation district (TAD) to help offset his costs. The TAD not only denies the city significant tax revenue for a period of years, but it also costs the Fayette School System tax revenues as well.

So now we have greedy developers who not only want to build questionable projects, but they want Fayette’s taxpayers to subsidize their efforts so they can make even more money with reduced risks.

Please hope for divine intervention if we have another recession like 2008. It will take such to offset the potential losses to the city and the school system.

TADs should be reserved only for redevelopment of blighted areas or places that have fallen into disuse.

Readers, if this keeps up, you can say goodbye to our idyllic lifestyle. We will be choked with traffic just like the East-West Connector in Cobb County or Bullsboro Drive in Newnan, or perhaps all the side streets feeding into I-85 in Gwinnett County.

It is time for Fayetteville to slow down. It is time to declare a moratorium on development until the city can assess the effects of what they have already approved. It is time to say “NO” to these developers, especially those who want taxpayer subsidies so they can reduce their risks and increase their profits.

With a couple of city council members and county commissioners strongly in the development movement, it is time the people they represent to speak up and demand that the city council and the county commission start asking one big question: “How will this project benefit the residents and taxpayers of Fayette County?”

If the project cannot meet beneficial criteria, then it should be voted down.

Jere Key
Fayetteville, Ga.