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A Letter from Jim Compton - Post Road Committee for Proper Development

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Dear PRC Members,

This communication is about the Transportation bond. I was going to apply my usual approach of injecting some humor into the narrative, but the more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that the time for levity and topical writing has passed.

I’m voting a big, fat NO on the transportation bond and if there was an option to vote “HELL NO”, then I would choose that one.

I’m fed up with the average county resident being forced to pay for the mistakes made by the majority of Commissioners over the last two decades. If you’re a long-time member of the Post Road Committee, then you know that for over 14 years, we’ve constantly hammered at the Planning Commission, the Commissioners, and anyone else that would listen, to reduce densities, keep lots and houses as large as possible, and try to utilize low density RES2 and RES1 zonings as much as possible. We took this approach because we saw way back in the early 2000's that the direction in which we were headed would result in over development, In other words - gridlocked traffic, overcrowded schools, homes too close together, and overburdening of emergency and civil services.

Know what? We were right.

But despite our efforts, we still got slammed in District 3 and other parts of the county are in the same mess.

We’ve struggled for almost a decade and a half to be proactive and avoid the need for any bonds dealing with over development problems. Local politicians didn’t listen. You and I have sacrificed our personal time to be part of this coalition group. We have watched Post Road (and others) go from being easily traveled to being totally gridlocked at peak traffic times. We have watched our schools continue to get more and more students until they are now receiving “Severely Overcrowded” ratings. And after all this they now want us to pay for the problems THEY caused? Really? How about – NO!

The philosophy of the Transportation Bond is the exact reverse of the “Pottery Barn Rule.” You know the rule – “You break it, you buy it”. Here we have the local politicians (the ones who have ‘broken’ our county) wanting US to pay for what THEY broke. Again – NO!

The money to fix the over development problems should come directly from the sources causing it. Levy a significant impact fee upon the builders and developers that are being allowed to come into this county and build high-density developments. If they wanna play, they gotta pay. If a significant and appropriate impact fee scares away some developers and builders, then good – that means less burden on our infrastructure. For the most part, impact fees would be passed along to the home buyers anyway. Forsyth County is the most affluent county in Georgia, and is constantly in the top 20 counties in the United States (check the Census Bureau statistics), so I don’t think new home buyers would complain too much. (Our local politicians’ views on development being the main economic engine for Forsyth County is ridiculous, not sustainable, and is worthy of its own article.)

It’s time for the residents of Forsyth County to WAKE UP and send a strong message to the local politicians that we’re no longer going to ‘financially forgive’ their incompetence, their lack of vision, their lack of planning, and their lack of understanding that an entire community needs to be evaluated (not just one subdivision at a time) when zoning applications are addressed.

Just a couple more things – if you got that stupid mailer supporting the Transportation Bond, then know this. Forsyth County set aside money to pay for the engineering to improve/modify Post Road (state road 371) several years ago. They did this as an incentive to get the DOT to expedite the modification of Post Road – to move it up in the queue in other words. The DOT said ‘Thanks, we appreciate it, but it won’t help because we’re so far behind’. As of a few months ago, that money is STILL available in case the DOT does decide to take us up on our offer. The bottom line is that the DOT is not going to drop everything and come rushing into Forsyth County just because a bond is passed. If the bond does pass, it will be years before the DOT will break ground on any new project based on this bond.
For land use, we fall under the NGRC. But for transportation plans, we fall under ARC.
The mailer also screams to ‘not let Atlanta take our money’. Atlanta does not take our money. Forsyth County is a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), which interacts with the DOT to handle our transportation projects. Forsyth has been under the ARC for years and years, this is nothing new. There are multiple other counties in the metro Atlanta area that are also under the ARC umbrella. The ARC office is located in Atlanta. As you can see, that perfidious pamphlet simply misrepresents Forsyth County’s relationship with Atlanta. What a joke.
Folks, you are reading this because you are a member of the Post Road Committee, or one of the other homeowner coalition groups. 

Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of Forsyth County residents that are not members of any coalition groups. They are uninformed regarding local politics and the evolution of this county. They sit in traffic and watch their kids go to overcrowded schools. Our concern is that they will actually believe this preposterous propaganda and vote yes for the bond. Please forward this communication to anyone you believe will benefit from this information. It’s time for this to stop.

Finally, let’s look at the last couple of years. There’s a pattern here. We had an inappropriately-timed SPLOST special election vote for that incredibly ugly courthouse rammed down our throats (the expensive special election was timed to come before the failed TSPLOST election vote and was a year earlier than it needed to be), we had a school bond passed recently that we have to financially support, we now have this Transportation Bond, and there is an upcoming Recreation bond on the horizon (oh yes, notice how they spread these out instead of telling you all at once?). All in all, with just the three bonds, we’re looking at approximately $525 million that is placed directly on the backs of county residents. Plus, there have been some local development actions in District 3 in the last couple of months and in which the majority of residents were ignored and we will now suffer more with unwanted overdevelopment and community degradation. Unbelievable. If you think the majority of Commissioners we’ve had in Forsyth County since 2000 actually represent the average county resident, you just haven’t been paying attention.

I regret the length of this e-mail, but I appreciate the time you took to read it. If you find yourself agreeing with the topics in this e-mail, then join a coalition group. It doesn’t have to be the PRC. There are now several groups in Forsyth because more and more residents have gotten fed up with the deterioration of our quality of life. All the groups are pretty much all aligned with our perspectives and goals. Get involved or continue to suffer under the continued bad leadership that has plagued this county for the past two decades.

Regards,

Jim Compton 
Post Road Committee for Proper Development