Between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson declaring our independence from the British, an authoritarian form of government. It seems now our personal freedoms are under attack once again, not by the British but by the architects of the 2050 Plan. I recently attended the third public hearing on the plan at Eastside High school.
I decided to attend the meeting for informational purposes. The meeting left me with more questions than answers. The most important thing I took away from the meeting is that the county officials seem to be experiencing buyer’s remorse. Years ago I can remember Newton County being the fastest growing county around. Developers and builders were carving out neighborhoods all around. At the time, some developers and builders seem to have more preferential treatment over others in the building industry. Some areas were said to only be zoned for a certain amount of houses within a subdivision; however, it seemed some builders were able to bypass this. The commissioners have created the problems being presented today. And now in a panic they have sought the advice from outsiders at the constituents’ expense. There are some disputes from the information at the meeting, and I still have questions I want to address.
During the meeting the planners conveyed that the values of land would not be affected. This notion could not be further from the truth. Property that is zoned for commercial purposes is clearly valued higher than land zoned for residential or deemed green space only. When property is appraised, one of the determining factors the appraiser uses is the highest and best use of the property. This means that if the property being appraised is zoned commercial with no limitations it will appraise for more. The other side of the equation is properties zoned residential and green space come with limitations, decreasing the appraisal values.
The questions still lingering in my mind are the details in the aesthetic zoning, conveying my property, and the 20-acre lot minimum. I have heard that each community will have the authority to dictate the style and number of windows each newly constructed house can have. In regard to the 20-acre minimum lot for building, if I own property that falls shy of the 20-acre minimum lot, is my property grandfathered in or will my property be immediately subjected to the 20-acre lot minimum? If the subject property is sold and was grandfathered under the 20-acre lot minimum, will this run with the land or will it cease once the land is conveyed? If it ceases, the property is rendered useless and will not attract any buyers if the decision is made to sell.
I want answers; the people living in this county want answers. What we do not want is our personal freedoms being attacked or our land being rendered useless. I’m sure the 2050 Plan will be implemented, and just like the Affordable Care Act we will have to pass it to see what it contains.