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Letter to the editor
Zoning decision bad for District 5
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Forsyth County News

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By: Autumn Vetter

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Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill said “all politics is local.”  I was reminded of these words last Thursday as I sat among a group of citizens attending the commissioners’ meeting. A number of speakers, both pro and con, commented on the proposed $200 million SPLOST. When they finished, they left.  Their purpose for attending was completed. “All politics is local.”

My issue was the rezoning of Lanier Golf Course in District 5. Commissioner Tam detailed his efforts to negotiate with the owners and neighbors.

Then, without discussion, Commissioners Tam, Amos, and Bell voted 3-2 to give the owners the highest density, Master Planned Development, on 90 acres, and Residential-2 on 70 acres. This is a quiet neighborhood, and split zoning was not required by the court order.  Residential-2 would have sufficed.

District 5 is local for me. I now live in the middle of a MPD zoned property which decreases my home value by $50,000. One gentleman estimated the SPLOST tax would cost the average household about $2,100 over five years. Then, a commissioner urged the city leaders to include cobblestone sidewalks and other amenities with some of their SPLOST funds. What?  I’m worried about paying a $5,000-plus sewage add-on fee when my little neighborhood is developed high density. 

The commissioners who voted yes diminished the quality of life in District 5. They see it as progress and may envision their names engraved on a brass plaque outside a justice center built with SPLOST funds. A new jail might be nice, even needed, but it could be built for half what we’re being asked to finance.

I am facing a serious loss of property value and quality of life while the commissioners are touting a $200 million SPLOST for dubious projects. The overall message from this meeting could not have been more striking: You live in District 5 and you’re getting a continuing care retirement center that will ruin your neighborhood. We know you don’t like it and don’t want it.  Deal with it. But, we will need your support to pass an extravagant SPLOST in November. 

Really?  “All politics is local.”

Pat Porter