What kind of pull do these guys possess?

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For some time, the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition has been trying to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to exercise its regulatory authority to grant and conduct a public hearing so that more Fayette County individuals might be given an opportunity to express their feelings on the project now known as “Veterans Parkway” before the dirt starts turning. We have had no success to this point.

Sept. 14, or thereabouts, The Citizen published an article in which Commission Chairman Jack Smith [said] he had been told that the 404 Permit for the West Fayetteville Bypass had been approved by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE). He was right … it had …but officially not until Sept. 30, 2010.

According to the COE in a letter dated Nov. 4, 2010 to the undersigned, the following was stated:

“… please be advised that we have no records that are responsive to your request for verbal approval made by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, relating to 404 Permit for Project R-28, West Fayetteville Bypass; however, we are enclosing a copy of the authorization letter (dated Sept. 30, 2010).”

I had earlier spoken with a COE Specialist in McDonough, Ga., who was familiar with Project R-28. He indicated that the COE will not give out pre-approval of permits. That makes this incident a very curious one. Is it possible that Mr. Smith or other county personnel may have connections that the rest of us don’t?

Only Mr. Smith can answer that question.

Sometimes I feel like David fighting Goliath. Especially when it’s two different city halls.

Steve Smithfield

Fayette County, Ga.

[The letter writer owns property affected by the bypass construction.]