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Letter from Jim Compton of the Post Road Committee for Proper Development:  regarding Ethan Underwood

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Greetings One and All:

I didn’t realize that Ethan Underwood was a member of the Post Road Committee for Proper Development. Wait...wait... Hold on a minute – he’s not! Never has been.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I received a mailer last Saturday proclaiming that Ethan has “a record of protecting our quality of life”. Really? Hmmmm... no... no, he doesn't.

A few things I want to say right off the bat - 

First, I have known Ethan for over 10 years and I like him as a person. I’ve even consulted with him about a couple of personal issues (not any Forsyth County development issues). I was not planning on writing any sort of ‘hit piece’ about him. However, due to the very misleading statements on that flyer, I am now compelled to respond and provide the facts and the truth about who really is protecting our quality of life. Even though I like Ethan personally, I am on the complete opposite side of the fence from him regarding development-related politics here in Forsyth County. So, this is not a ‘hit piece’, but rather a response to that mailer.

Second, this whole transfer of power from Mark Hamilton to Ethan was carefully strategized, timed out, and organized to work in Ethan’s favor and to reduce the effectiveness of the other candidates’ campaigns. Ethan is supported by the legacy power groups, who have ruined many parts of this county and are wanting to continue their over-development agenda. Not cool. Ethan is cut from the same political cloth as Mark Hamilton and if you are aware of the damage that Hamilton has done to Forsyth County (one example is the change to our voting model for Commissioners), then you should definitely be questioning how Ethan has “protected our quality of life”.

Third, I’m not going to criticize Ethan for his career choice as a zoning attorney. That’s not fair to do that. What I will point out is that his choice of career has resulted in his making multiple alliances within the legacy power group in this county and, again, he is being supported by them. We have seen the results of their efforts and we want no more of that.

So, with that said, let’s turn our attention to that misleading mailer…. shall we?

I thought at first it was a joke, or one of the sarcastic ‘hit piece’ mailers we’ve been getting lately. I say this because I was immediately drawn to the Mark Hamilton endorsement on the mailer. After all, for those of us who are enlightened and informed about Mark Hamilton, any candidate he endorses immediately gets a big, fat X with a buzzer sound. Strike one.

“Okay,” I then thought, “let me be open-minded and see what evidence he produces to support his claim.” I looked all over the mailer and saw…<wait for it>.... nothing that backed up his statement. Instead, he makes comments about what he thinks quality of life means, then he lists multiple developments along Post Road for which he was the zoning attorney for the applicant. There’s nothing in there to demonstrate a record of protecting our quality of life. Strike two.

Guess what? I have a record of those zonings and with that, I generated a short list of what Ethan Underwood did to “protect our quality of life” for some of those zonings/developments and what the Post Road Committee did for those same zonings. For those unfamiliar with what we do, for almost every zoning/development along Post Road since 2001, the principal members of the PRC have met with each applicant and their attorney (Ethan, for many of these) and we discuss the impact of the zoning, negotiate densities down from the original request, and write conditions to lessen the impact of the development. You may know that "density" is defined as the number of homes per acre. Keep in mind that Ethan is the advocate for his clients and was therefore working on the applicant’s behalf to help them make as much money as possible (in short, build as many homes per acre as they could).

Here we go:

Folks - That’s just THREE of the developments from 2001 to 2007! Strikes three, four, and five. 

Let’s go further and look at totals for that same six year period.

Since 2007, development slowed down due to the residential housing crash and we didn’t keep as close a count since then. However, since 2007, the PRC has effectively blocked two RES6 (very high density) zonings and worked on at least a dozen zonings along Post Road in which I’m certain we have reduced the original number of homes requested by some figure north of 300 homes. 

Bottom line is that, the PRC, not Ethan Underwood, has blocked/reduced at least 1000 homes from being built in the last 15 years on Post Road alone. Can you imagine the traffic and local schools if there was no group standing up to the people who are responsible for the incredibly bad development? Strikes six, seven, and infinity. You're out!

I’ll throw in a couple of other things. Ethan has supported every initiative that would a) further the bad-development agenda of the legacy power groups and b) place unwanted financial burden on the back of the average homeowner here in this county (you and me). He supported the inappropriately-timed courthouse fund (passed, unfortunately), the county-level TSPLOST (failed, thank goodness), the Transportation Bond (passed, unfortunately), etc., etc., etc. That’s what he calls “protecting our quality of life”?

One more example - If Ethan was really “protecting our quality of life”, he would have advised one of his clients, the applicant who is currently building a liquor store across the street from the Fieldstone pool, to please consider another business that would not affect home values in that area. Yes, there was - and is - nothing illegal about the liquor store, but isn’t “protecting our quality of life” doing whatever you can to retain our standard of living? Sorry, I’m not seeing that from Ethan Underwood.

I'm not trying to make this sound like a commercial for the PRC. There are other homeowner groups in the county that do the same thing we do. I just wanted to compare the numbers so that you can see the real truth about who really is protecting our quality of life in this area of House District 24.

And, it’s not Ethan Underwood.

Feel free to forward this email to anyone you think may be interested. Thanks for your involvement and GO VOTE! You already know that we (and the other homeowner groups) are supporting Sheri Gilligan.

Jim Compton
Post Road Committee for Proper Development
Empowering West Forsyth Homeowners since 2001