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Posted: May 27, 2014 10:00 p.m.

A Firestorm that Came from Nowhere

Dear editor,

A group of individuals, numbering less than a half dozen, have land holdings in Newton County which could be manipulated to produce wealth beyond your wildest imagination. It is certainly not unusual for the wool to be pulled over the masses in Covington and Newton County.

It exists as the “20-50 Plan” with certain new zoning regulations to keep you from developing your property in the way you would like. But you can sell your development rights to someone else in another part of the county so they can develop their land the way they would like, leaving you with only a small percentage of what your could have earned if you had the right to do what you had wanted to do with your land.

Confused? It’s no wonder. But the bottom line is that the majority of land owners in the county would be forced to allow these elitists to control and develop their land as they please. Sound fair to you?

The Newton County Board of Commissioners have been sold a bill of goods on these proposals and are spending a lot of money with ‘consultants’ to develop this plan. These consultants are about as knowledgeable about putting this plan on paper as Wylie Coyote. Most of this is an ‘experimental’ plan. You know, one of those you develop and put into practice only to find out it has infuriated the public and won’t make muster in the first place even after spending large amounts of money.

I also cannot for the life of me figure out why these (almost) secret meetings have to be held at “The Center” rather than at a publicly owned facility. We are paying “The Center” a lot of money to use their facility when we have half of the top floor of the Administration Building vacant. This needs to stop now! Not tomorrow or next week but NOW!

We also have ‘students’ from various colleges and universities ‘on staff’ to help develop these plans. Think about your kids at age 19 or so. Do you really think they have enough life experiences and education to tell Newton County citizens what their county ‘should be’? I don’t think so.

All righty, in a nutshell: We have kids meeting up in a facility the taxpayers are ‘renting’ to draw up plans for something that hasn’t been fully explored or proven and which will hog tie a majority of citizens’ hands and keep them from utilizing their own property. How does that sound to you?

As far as the ‘great’ 20-50 plan is concerned, I have some of the invoices for consulting and other expenses and I have run some large corporations in my time and I cannot for the life of me figure out what we are getting for the money we are spending. And furthermore, most major cities who started developing these far reaching plans found out back in the nineties you cannot force business to go where it doesn’t want to go and you cannot force people to live where they don’t want to live. It is a loser from the start and here we are trying to reinvent the wheel, albeit a square one.

As far as I am personally concerned “The Center” is not a facility for “Community Preservation and Planning” but a facility for community manipulation in favor of and on behalf of a few who have dollar marks in their eyes and a wish to boil down our rights to a small group of most likely not elected individuals with regulations to restrict the average citizen from doing what he or she pleases with their own property.

If you have a brain in your head, you better call your Newton County Commissioners TODAY and get them off this train, and I do mean today…before it is too late.

Sam M Hay III
Unincorporated
Newton County

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