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McCarty wants county to pay more for bypass-condemned land

Fayette County Commissioner Allen McCarty wants the county to take an additional step toward compensating property owners along the route of the West Fayetteville Bypass.

The concept is that in addition to paying for the property acquisition, the county also should take the percentage of the lot’s size to calculate the amount needed to “pay off” that portion of the homeowner’s mortgage.

The matter will be discussed Wednesday at the commission’s 3:30 p.m. workshop meeting at the county’s Stonewall government complex in downtown Fayetteville.

McCarty said one resident in the path of the bypass stands be in the hole $20,000 because the county is not offering to compensate her based on how much she owes on the home. Because the county is offering “fair market values” in a depressed real estate market, some residents may find themselves in the same boat: paying mortgages or other debts on properties and houses they no longer own.

“The county should not consider taking a person’s property if we can’t make them whole,” McCarty said.. “... How do they pay a mortgage on a house they no longer own?”

When such matters go to court, the main concern of the court is “making the property owner whole,” McCarty said. If the county fails to do so, it will be damaging its residents, he added.

“If we do things the right way, we’re not going to have the objection of citizens to what we’re doing,” McCarty said. “... I’m not trying to stop the bypass, but if we’re going to take things from people, they need to walk away whole and complete, not damaged.”

It is not immediately clear what the fiscal impact of such a policy would be, nor whether the county would be able to retroactively make such an additional payment to property owners who already have settled their cases with the county.

The county is using proceeds from the five-year transportation sales tax to fund land acquisition and road construction for the bypass.

McCarty said he also is concerned about fluctuation in the prices homeowners are being paid for property the county needs for the bypass.

“One person might get $13,000 an acre, another might get $25,000 an acre,” McCarty said. “I think we need to establish a value of replacement for all, not just one or two people.”

McCarty said he plans to look into how other property owners are being treated by the county as it continues the land acquisition process for the second phase of the bypass. This portion of the road will run from the current bypass terminus on Sandy Creek Road to the intersection of Ga. Highway 92 and Westbridge Road.

The West Fayetteville Bypass has drawn criticism from residents as an unnecessary road. Once the third phase is complete several years down the road, it will stretch from Ga. Highway 85 south at Harp Road all the way up to Hwy. 92 at Westbridge Road.

The road has been defended as providing a more direct route to Ga. Highway 138 and Interstate 85, the latter of which doesn’t come through Fayette County at all.



BHH's picture

I certainly have no objection to the property owners not only walking away whole but happy when possible.

There is no reason to offend any of them since there is only a hand full to negotiate with.

With the amount of money being spent on this project they each should be offered enough to become willing sellers. This should also include moving expenses and emotional losses.

Many of these people living here expected to live out their lives here and never move again. And that deserves due consideration.

In this day and age there is also no good reason for government to trounce on property owners with the eminent domain rule for the sake of just another road.


Nothing new here.

I'll just give you one project of millions that have occurred over the years:

TVA--TN Valley Authority. They flooded hundreds of farms under dam water and ran off families (since the 1700s) from their land.

It was done to stop flooding of everyone and make power for farmers.

People 50 years from now will need that road!

The problem with emotional losses is that no amount of money can cure that.
Some want a million, some nothing. Apparently money will delude the losses of home and hearth for some.

hutch866's picture

So tell us, which ones want a million? Which ones want nothing? Some just want to be left alone, with their property intact. So tell us $, who wants what?

The TVA was created in the 1700's? What a crock.

I yam what I yam

Try 1933.

You are getting as bad as DM with your punting!

You know that the families had been on that land since the 1700s!

If no one wants a million then tell me why they are suing for hurt feelings? Not worth it otherwise! Lawyers want that much.

Are you dummies trying to say that the government should not be able to condemn land for the general good? It is not your right to determine the general good, only judges and the government.

I will grant that some do get more than they deserve-- for unknown reasons usually, but projects can't stop for that.

I know it is easier to tell these people that they are right and the mean old government is wrong, with you knowing all of the time the road will be built and someday will be needed badly! More hypocrisy for friendship.

Woody's picture

The federal government should not be in the business of competing with private utility companies, any more than it should own auto manufacturing companies. Public roads are entirely different than TVA, which should be sold off to the private sector.

NUK_1's picture

McCarty sayeth:
"I’m not trying to stop the bypass, "

Really? That was your entire campaign platform for FC Commissioner and after the election too. Why the sudden change? I would expect that from Brown as he has quite a proven history of flip-flopping(TDK, Land Use Plan, Westside Annexation) but here you beat him to it.

Mike King's picture

Brown did all the talking during their campaign, and we all knew he couldn't/wouldn't stop the WFB. Perhaps he is making it a bit more convenient for Steve to admit that it has been a done deal for some time now.

ginga1414's picture

I have it on very good authority that one homeowners property along the WFB will be damaged to the tune of $44,000.00. THAT IS A WHOLE LOT OF DAMAGE!

That amount of damage will devalue the property and homesite greatly.

There are more homeowners who will have extensive damage done to their property.

Another property owner will have so much damage done to their small piece of property that there won't be anything left that will be worth anything.

The right-of-way agents and some of our county employees are snakes. They have been making offers to people, and say the offer is good for 90 days. Two weeks later they send another notice that says because of their construction schedule, if the property owner hasn't responded within another week their property will be condemned. I don't know what anyone else would call that, but I call it pure intimidation and harassment!!

Even though one homeowner had been given 90 days, and two weeks later they had received the second letter saying they only had one more week, then the county came back and said that the homeowner wasn't negotiating in good faith. THESE PEOPLE ARE TWO HEADED SNAKES!!!

Woody's picture

Damages are considered in the price of the land being purchased and has nothing to do with making someone whole on their mortgages.

you been threatening to sick on the commissioners! I ain't heard of no lawsuits being filed yet! Either get the legal filing going or git out while the gittins good! The bulldozers are coming and blogging alone cain't stop 'em!

Go Hawks!

BHH's picture

It's Fayette County Ga. You ain't from 'round are you?

This road is not in the same realm as a drinking water reservoir. It's not like anyone will die of thirst if these people get treated correctly.

If the road will be invaluably needed some day then give them their due for their property.

If the county can't afford to acquire the land then the cost of the road was underestimated and should not be built just as other projects have been put on the back burner for lack of funds.


They do generate some electricity and allow fishing and boating.
Just how do you think roads and railroads and airports and power rightaways and water rightaways and gas rightaways and TV rightaways, and military bases, and federal buildings and state buildings, and on and on have been built?

Fayette County isn't any different county as far as rights are concerned.
People are going to worry themself nto a heart attack over not getting enough money!

That road will make that property worth ten times it's current value in a few years after completion!

BHH's picture

compared to local roads it's apples and oranges.

"Ten times it's current value in a few years" is all the more reason to pay them their due now and move on or table it.


Woody's picture

Is the county going to bail out everyone who is upside-down on their mortgages? The problems that some have in owing the banks more on their land than the land is worth is an issue that the real estate owners can take up with their mortgage companies, Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, and Barney Frank. The county just needs to pay fair market value -- not be responsible for making some people whole from an economic downturn affecting everyone in the county and the nation. If Commissioner McCarty wants to do the right thing, then do ther right thing by the county taxpayers by paying the FMV of the land taken and leave it at that.

BHH's picture

with a multi-million dollar project they would have to in some way make them willing to sell.

As a Fayette County citizen, I'm just not comfortable with taking anyone's land for this project without some more proof of need.

Before they take one square foot of land under eminent domain they will surely have to prove an eminent need and that is what everyone has been wanting from the beginning. Except for the commissioners who are pushing it.


on a property that still has a mortgage on it. It will have to be reconciled at closing, or the County won't have a clear title to proceed.

The Mortgage Co may consider a "short sale", but they don't have to, and in most cases will not if the borrower is up to date on payments.

You don't really think the government would have a hard time getting the land due to the owner owing money on the land do you?
Government doesn't need a clear title---the borrower does!

The last line of your article speaks volumes. Years ago we sold ten feet of our property to the government so our road could be made wider. They called and made arrangments to come and talk to us about the amount they would give us for that portion of our land. We invited the man in ask him to have a seat in our livingroom. We ask him if we could get him a cup of coffee or soft drink. He declined so we sat down to talk. He opened the conversation with saying you do know that we(meaning the government) do not have to pay you for your land. We can condemn that portion of your land and take it from you.) We were stunned at his attitude. We were very aware of this fact,but his attitude was offensive. We were prepared to take whatever amount they wanted to pay. This kind of attitude from the government is uncalled for. The project to widen our road came about partly because of so many accidents in front of our house. This was a project that would make our lives better but this bypass seems to be helping the developers not the homeowners. Our big bad government should not be able to throw anyone off the land that they bought and paid for.The people that are being thrown off their land should at least have enough money to payoff their mortgages. After all if they could stay there until they died they might actually live long enough to pay it off. And this is the real AMERICAN DREAM.

You make no sense!

I know someone who owes about twice what their house is currently worth. There is no logic for taxayers to have to pay that amount due to the owner over borrowing.

That would be like a bank having to pay off a foreclosure loan for someone.
Not even legal.

I'll bet that guy wishes he had that cup of tea! What a made-up tale!

mudcat's picture

You must have a county attorney over there somewhere, don't you, Mr. McCarty? How about you ask him about the wisdom of using taxpayer money to pay more than the appraised value of land the county is acquiring. Duh!

If not completely illegal, it sure is stupid. All I need to do when I find out my property is being considered for acquisition is to go to my brother-in-law, Friendly Jim, the loan arranger and get me a big loan, say 125% of value and then the county will pay me more. You guys need more training before you get to vote on important stuff.

You are correct. The enthusiastic defense some on here are performing is simply a show. They know what you said, but can now say, "I did my best for you, but the law is the law!"

But, I must say that the word appraiser doesn't necessarily mean that his numbers are entirely accurate. Just look at what they do to people for tax benefits! Two or three appraisals by disconnected personnel are more accurate.
The County has no authority to pay for sad tales, over-mortgaged homes and land however. That is the fault of the owner to borrow too much.

As to the "home-place" worth---nothing in such cases.

In a few years the land will be worth 10 times what it is now after the road is complete. In the case of a complete takeover of a property, that would likely appraise for a reasonable amount more.

One can feel empathy for those who are sad about leaving home, but not those who want more than the property is worth.

BHH's picture

It's no sin to pay a fair price to someone who has something you want or need.

They should have the right to negotiate an acceptable price. If it's outrageous or obviously out of line, then fine make them a more reasonable offer.

People are so afraid that someone will profit, it is ridiculous.

These are fellow citizens and neighbors. Why would you want to do anything that would harm them? We don't have to make them rich, but at least try to make them happy.


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