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Studio rezoning up Thurs. night

A plan to rezone 289 acres in rural central Fayette County to make way for a multi-million dollar movie studio will be up for a vote before the Fayette County Commission Thursday night.

The project is expected to bring roughly 2,000 jobs once it gets up to full steam.

The planning commission and county zoning staff are recommending approval of the request, which would change the zoning from agriculture-reserve and R-70 residential to GB, the county’s brand-new General Business zoning classification. The commission has the final say on the matter because it involves changing the zoning of the parcels involved.

Pinewood Studios, headquartered in London, wants to make Fayette County the home of its first base of operations in the United States. Company officials reportedly hope to have part of its first phase operational in January 2014.

Local officials have been working on the plans, dubbed “Project Stargate” for over a year.

For more details, see our story in Wednesday’s edition of The Fayette Citizen.



For years, 4 of the 5 present commissioners were on record opposing the Road to Nowhere. Now that the county finally has someone planning to purchase and utilize the land after a depressed economy these same commissioners are expected to approve a rezoning of this land with a brand new zoning classification never before utilized.

The article states that local officials have been working on this project for over one year. That means two of the five commissioners knew about the potential project last spring. This was prior to the elections. These two elected officials could not divulge anything about the potential plan since this was, and should be, business that is kept silent until all the formalities are concluded.

Lets reason that the two did not share this information with the 3 new commissioners prior to them taking office, as this would have violated our ethics code. That means the two holdover commissioners knew that the road to nowhere actually had a plan behind it before the election, yet continued to present false hopes to the public that the road could be stopped and costs transferred for different usage.

Should this be the case, then at minimum 2 of the 3 new commissioners, need to clarify their positions and perhaps acknowledge that their predessesors were not as stupid as they made them out to be during their campaign prior to being elected. Well at least a stand up person would.

The two holdover commissioners also need to acknowledge that perhaps they misdirected the public in order to gain the majority they coveted for years.

Just because the article says "local officials", that doesn't necessarily mean the Board of Commissioners! Why be so anxious to indict someone?

Do you really think information that big was held from the commissioners?

Don't you think that the development authority reports to the commission?

There are certain things That the Board of commissioners are not allowed to be transparent. Litigation and pending land purchases. This prevented the two holdover and the two former commissioners from this discussion during elections.

Someone really benefited by being silent. Had this been made public during elections, if word that the by-pass could not be stopped, or if someone leaked there was a pending plan in place, do you think we would have had the campaign promises being voided within 3 months into the new term?

Now that the Pinewood Studio group has expressed interest in the property on the "Road to Nowhere," it exposes the Lilliputians in the Tea Party and the county commission who so voraciously opposed the West Fayetteville by-pass as small-minded, power-hungry politicians who lack any vision for the county. The deafening silence of these little men demonstrates that this insular group will not admit their errors, and commissioner Brown (the most vocal opponent of the roadway) is suddenly a great proponent of the economic boost it brings to the county.

Your choices are the proponents of: "The road to nowhere" vs. "Build it and they will come." Judge for yourself who should lead our county. Just don't expect our current crop of county commissioners ever to admit how woefully wrong their opposition to the West Fayetteville by-pass turned out to be. That would require integrity.

S. Lindsey's picture

... while HOPING someone would come makes good business sense?

No wonder you support the current regime..

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

NUK_1's picture

The voters went and voted for the transportation tax that is funding the WFB. They later got buyer's remorse when some people's property started to get basically taken from them and also realizing "what the hell is the road supposed to be for?" and "wait, this wasn't the most important project and blah blah blah," but you know what happens when you vote to give the government extra tax dollars......they WILL spend it.

It's a minor miracle that voter ignorance and past Commission screw-ups might in fact turn into a big positive. I take that would be a MAJOR miracle and it just might happen.

S. Lindsey's picture

...who knows we might even get something good out of Washington too... Ok I went too far didn't I?

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

NUK_1's picture

That's a helluva stretch right there :)

I haven't seen any evidence that the WFB played any role whatsoever in Pinewood's decision to locate here. I do think the availability of undeveloped land was key and I suspect those folks could/would build whatever tansportation arteries they needed/wanted, provided local approval. Hey, take a break and go out and measure your impervious surfaces, willya!

Do you think that no one on board the helicopter ride last year noticed or commented on the road WFB being constructed? They had to have seen the road and realized once it is finished they won't have to spend thier money on infrastructure and could invest more for their profitablility. The completion of the road is most likely a caveat in the negotiations.

The supporters of our new commissioners toe the company line that the West Fayetteville By-pass had no impact on the Pinewood deal because it justifies their support of these 5 current short-sighted commissioners. To say otherwise would be to admit that the foundational plank in their election campaigns was superfluous.

The idea that a new business coincidentally chose a land purchase beside a new road is like saying that the Georgia Dome coincidentally becomes crowded on Sundays that the Falcons play at home.

No one is as blind as the man who refuses to see.

S. Lindsey's picture

[quote=stranger than fiction]

No one is as blind as the man who refuses to see.[/quote]...or maybe not.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

The BOC knew about Pinewood last spring but they could not divulge this info due to possible ethics violations and knew the former commissioners were being held to the same code of silence. They continued with the charade of their disdain knowing the WFB was an important piece of the deal. The voting majority was the coveted prize and integrity went out the window. It's no wonder the former commissioners have been so hard on the BOC. It's personal.

Easy to find out--just ask Matt Forshee if any of them expressed interest in that road.

1. It's obvious I can't change your mind.
2. Matt reports to the BOC. He knows not to rock the boat until the sales complete.

I can't see how the road would have any impact on their decision. It literally goes nowhere. Once the phase to 92 N is complete, how does that help bring traffic down to them? They will have to take a back road, to another highway, to get on the interstate. Completely indirect.

If there was an exit on 92 N, I could see the importance in the road. As it stands now, its pretty useless.

You need to look at the map and read this article.

Aside from being a place to make movies, Fayette will have invariably created a solution to a longstanding controversy by snaring the studio complex. The complex will be near the infamous West Fayetteville Bypass, a thoroughfare that drew a lot of criticism from some residents who felt it was built in an area of the county that doesn’t have traffic problems. The complex also is near an empty school. It’s a carte blanche canvas on which Hollywood can create.

“The county built a road no one wanted, and the Board of Education built a school that houses no students. We’re taking what’s a major lemon and making superb lemonade out of it,” Brown said.

The road has a lot to do with it.

Stargate/Pinewood Studies was on the radar since last spring. (Prior to elections). This didn't just fall into our laps when the new commission took over. The commission is playing us as fools and the PR the commission is putting out needs to taken with a grain of salt.

Disagree. Someone directly involved with the negotiations told me that they were more interested in the fact that from the proposed Site to the Airport was an 18 minute trip via Sandy Creek/Hwy 74/I-85. WFB not involved. Seems to me that you continue to search/hope for for a rotten apple in the barrel. Did you perhaps support a loser or some losers in the election? YOU could always run the next time you know.

Keep telling yourself that the addition of new infrastructure accessing the Pinewood Studio land had absolutely nothing to do with their decision, and perhaps you will believe it.

It worked for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I did not support Hearn or Horgan. Both had to go for various reasons.

Yes, easy travel to the airport would be important to the studio. So is a access outside the studio door. Don't really take any credence to hearsay from your personal source, as I too have information from a business associate involved that prefers to stay quiet until all the paperwork is complete and he receives his payout.

Sometimes people must read the news from other sources to gain further insight. Mr. Brown was quoted as saying that the county built a lemon road and we now have great lemonade. If the road had nothing to do with it, why provide the quote?

Road construction is extremely expensive. The site was selected because the roadway is almost in place. Don't you think that the studio would rather spend their capital on additional studios that make them money or have this tied up on a road?

Two of the current commissioners knew of the potential studio prior to the elections last fall Yet they misled the voters to gain the majority on Council. Since the other three were so easily swayed after 3 months in office following years of voicing their displeasure over the road, I wonder when they actually became aware of the studio, since they should not have been privy to this information until January of this year. Maybe Mr. Barlow would swear on the bible when he first learned the road to nowhere actually had a plan and perhaps he owes people an explanation.

Think about it.

I have learned never to trust anything that comes out of certain politicians mouths.

The road played no role in this production.

diablo_ogre's picture

I am just wondering because I can't seem to find this information. Where is the hearing for the rezoning going to take place. I know I read some where 7pm Thursday night but just wondered where? I am in full support of the studio going in and bringing jobs and revenue to our county.

of S. Sandy Creek Rd. and Veterans Pkwy. When Chairman Brown drives by, honk once for yes, or twice to say no thanks. Be sure to wave, too.:)


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