A New Year to get involved in Fayetteville and local governments



I was present at the Fayetteville Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on December 19, 2023, to which Steve Brown referred in his December 26, 2023, column, “Will Fayetteville Council listen to their Planning Commission and their citizens?”

Cathy Vaught
Cathy Vaught.

In his reference to the meeting, Steve mentioned the numerous citizens who showed up at the meeting to voice their opposition to yet another plan by the City of Fayetteville to impose more urbanization into their neighborhood.

The name for this project is Avilla Fayetteville. The plan is to build 265 small homes on approximately 30 acres of land, consisting of 80 one-bedroom duplexes, and 185 two and three bedroom “cottages” at the intersection of Ginger Cake Road and Highway 54. All dwellings are slated to be rental units. This type of development would accommodate a largely transient population, likely decreasing property values to those subdivisions along Ginger Cake Road that are in close proximity.

It was a noble effort for those concerned citizens to come to this meeting. By speaking out, they managed to halt changes to the Land Use Map that would have immediately made the rezoning and variance requests for five land parcels possible. All were unanimous in stating, “Leave it [the Land Use Map] as it is.”

But the citizens who spoke out against the project only achieved a temporary victory. As Steve mentioned, it’s not over. This will likely come before the Fayetteville City Council on January 18 with a recommendation from Planning and Zoning to approve the request to rezone the properties, since they were unable to move forward on December 19 to amend the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use map.

Avilla Fayetteville is one of many projects that have been proposed or approved to “urbanize” Fayetteville. Although the effort to urbanize Fayetteville has been hailed by some as the future of the city, it has also been seen as overly aggressive, rapid, and unrealistic by others.

The City Council really needs to tell their constituents what the benefits of overbuilding multi-family developments are. Why do they want to keep building ultra-dense residential projects when they have no remedy for the traffic congestion they cause? With at least two cars per housing unit, one also must factor in the thousands of extra cars from Clayton, Henry and other counties that drive through Fayetteville each day. It becomes imperative that we take care of the traffic we create.

As Steve stated in his column, “Fayetteville’s City Council was allowed to run recklessly on high-density developments with no regard to traffic, congestion, overdevelopment in the multi-family residential sector, and future issues with the school districts.”

In contrast to Fayetteville, he said Peachtree City’s “rogue city council has been held at bay and the city elected a new majority.”

The story of Avilla Fayetteville and other projects leads to my point about getting involved. Not happy with the direction in which things are moving? Fayetteville citizens who are dissatisfied with the rapid “urbanization” of their city need to start thinking about electing “a new majority.”

At the very least, become a regular attendee at City Council and Planning and Zoning meetings. And when you do, do speak out. It’s supposed to be the way America works. Consider running for city office. The same goes for county level.

Think you could contribute your time and talents to the City Council, the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, or the School Board? Go for it! Become part of that “new majority.”

Local incumbents remain incumbents because they are often unchallenged. That remains a problem in Fayetteville. To challenge them, we need good, strong candidates. Between last August and November, I took a crack at running for City Council. I lost. Perhaps a stronger candidate than I who also desires to serve the will of the people can emerge to take on the status quo and win.

This year, we have elections at the state and national level. Voting in these elections is important. But the importance of voting locally is often overlooked. Not enough people consider municipal elections all that important, so they do not get out to vote. This is probably the main reason incumbents remain year after year, election cycle after election cycle.

Do you realize all change begins at the local level? Why? Because, as we can see from the last Planning and Zoning meeting, all decisions made at the local level affect where and how you live. That’s reason enough to get out and vote or run for office. Attend meetings this year and get vocal. Decide this year to get involved.

[Cathy Vaught was a candidate in this year’s Fayetteville City Council election.]


    • ARC occasionally raises it’s ugly head. I do wish the State would abolish these regional commissions. They seem incapable of integrating efforts with adjacent commissions and act as extensions of the various Chambers of Commerce, but with “grant” money.