The Columbia County commissioners, Jim Whitehead and other vested interests are determined to defile several miles of virgin forest to drive a sewer line along Bettys Branch through private land, under the threat of eminent domain.
Homeowners have been fighting this unwanted sewer project, at a cost to us of thousands of after-tax dollars (after we pay for county's salaries and contracted "services"), to provide the county with independent information from engineers, appraisers, arborists and attorneys. It was with great difficulty that these professionals were hired, as no one local dared go against the local politicians for fear of being blackballed.
The county and its proxies have lied and misrepresented themselves so often it is difficult to enumerate them all. A few are:
The commissioners voted in favor of this project after limiting the homeowners comment period and lying that there were three proposals considered. Only afterwards did the county have the contracted engineers "develop" alternatives which were never presented or discussed.
Whitehead was instrumental in having the "proposed" sewer line moved from "his" side of Betty's Branch to our side eight years ago, but this detailed engineering plan mysteriously was not considered.
Now that the Washington Road underground sewer will have to be re-done/expanded due to development, why are Commission Chairman Ron Cross and his cronies determined to have the sewer be driven through virgin forest (they misrepresented to Georgia Department of Natural Resources that forest was "farmland") in order to obtain variances for the protected wetlands?
Perhaps the fact that a well-known family has nearly 100 acres which abuts the sewer line and might quadruple its value? This is a blatant example of reverse Robin Hood-taking homes (land) from the middle-income and giving them to the rich.
We do not want or need this sewer here in our bucolic setting. We do not want the "attractive nuisance" that will inevitably result in all-terrain vehicles and the like disturbing this pristine forest. First we were promised total replanting and fences/gates; now only grass seed and no gates are promised. Plus we have no protection that this "easement" will not be traded as "greenspace" for public trail access in a future offset for other development.
The county has offered a pittance for the degradation of our property, about $1,000, not that compensation is our primary objective. My damage alone for the loss of trees is $31,000. The loss of the forest will cause a significant increase in my utility bills due to loss of shade... .
The worst part of the sewer project is the needless destruction of over several miles of forest in the face of global warming. The commissioners blithely ignore the irreversible damage they are inflicting upon the environment for generations to come.
Perhaps we cannot stop the agenda of Jim Whitehead, Ron Cross and his cabal, for some digits in a bank account or enriching some buddies, they'll have done their part to destroy this Earth. So think of that on June 19. When our grandchildren are struggling for water, air, suffering through droughts, food storages, and they ask, "grand-dad what did you do?" Well, we destroyed an old growth forest and contributed to climate change.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.