SR 279 Realignment Project casts pall over holidays

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As I write this, it is the eve before the end of the public input period for the [Ga. Highway] 279 realignment proposals, and I am an absolute wreck. These proposals have cast a pall over the holiday season for my family, as well as the other families who call Butler Road home.

Many of us went to the meeting at the Fayette County Library on the fifteenth of November and left with the understanding that there was nothing we could do, save fill out their survey and wait for the County Commissioners to make their decision.

At the meeting, I stood back and listened to the engineers and county officials explaining the implications to those gathered around each map and felt no compassion from these people toward those whose lives would be disrupted by these proposals.

Each map was marked with waterways, and other geographical features that would be impacted, but private residences were not marked. I listened to hear if they would speak of the impact to private residences to the gathered citizens but did not hear them touch on that subject unless it was brought up by an attendee.

I did discover that there were other public meetings about these proposed projects back in July of 2019, before we purchased our home. I also discovered that Georgia is a “buyer-beware” state, so the guy who sold us the house may very well have known what was in the works, but just decided to not disclose that information at closing. I couldn’t, in good conscience, do that to someone.

Fayette County wants to reroute SR 279 through the homes and property of people living on Butler Road when the economy is terrible and interest rates are through the roof. I kept being told that we would be offered “fair market value” for our home, but that is little consolation. It would be impossible to find comparable homes with similar mortgages. We are in a very favorable mortgage, and while the value of our home has increased since we purchased it in late 2019, “fair market value” is not going to be enough to allow us to purchase, much less afford the mortgage on a similar home … and then there is the cost of the move and having to take time off from work to pack up a house after seemingly having just gotten everything unpacked.

Our next move was planned for about five years from now. We were planning on retiring up North and didn’t have it in our budget to have to purchase another home in Georgia before retiring. These proposals aren’t just an “inconvenience,” they are jeopardizing our retirement financial security, and I don’t have enough spoons for this. My anxiety is building, and nobody in charge seems to care at all.

To the Fayette County Commissioners, and the others working on the project … your plans impact real people, where they live, perhaps try to show a little compassion, and not marginalize those who are in your way.

Merry Christmas.

Jen J. Ketz

Fayetteville, Ga.