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Posted: November 20, 2009 12:30 a.m.

County to expand NSP target area

Image courtesy of Newton County Planning Department/

So many foreclosed homes have been purchased by private owners in Fairview Estates that Newton County will likely have to purchase most of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program homes elsewhere.

The county chose Fairview Estates for the NSP because the neighborhood had the highest number of foreclosures in the county. The program gives counties money to purchase, rehabilitate and resell homes in troubled neighborhoods.

Senior Planner Scott Sirotkin said around neighborhood originally had around 20 foreclosures, but most of them have been purchased in the past several months.

The county hasn’t yet purchased a single property and is currently negotiating on only two homes in Fairview Estates. As a result, Newton County is applying to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for permission to be able to buy homes in other parts of the county.

"We are already seeing a rise in the appraised value of those homes … as a byproduct of the NSP grant we are already seeing the stabilization of Fairview Estates occurring," said District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz.

The county will ask to be able to buy homes in more of Districts 3 and 2, and in the southern part of District 1. The western part of the county between I-20 in the north and Salem Road in the south is seen as the area of greatest need.

Newton County has to look outside of Fairview Estates in order for it to spend all of the $1.74 million it was awarded in the spring.

The county will host a public hearing to discuss this proposed change on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse.

Chairman Kathy Morgan said the county attempted to buy several homes in Fairview Estates, but home prices had increased too much. A key requirement of the NSP is that the county must buy homes for less than their appraised value and with increased demand that was no longer possible.

During the public comments section of Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, county residents continued to express concern about the public park component of the NSP. The park, an alternative way to spend NSP, is supposed to be an open greenspace area meant to enhance surrounding homes’ values.

Residents from neighborhoods outside of Fairview Estates said they were opposed to the park because they were worried it would increase crime and not be properly maintained by the county.

Many of the residents in attendance also expressed concern about not being informed about the county possibly buying homes in other areas of the county. Sirotkin said that the county is not planning to buy several homes in a single community.

Schulz, in a regular occurrence at recent BOC meetings, met with the residents afterwards to set up a meeting. Schulz said she will meet with any Fairview Road area residents who have questions on Monday at 7 p.m. at The Oaks Golf Course. Schulz said a lot of misinformation still exists about the NSP program.

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