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Maxwell: Land near bypass presents no real conflict

Some bloggers on TheCitizen.com have questioned whether outgoing Commissioner Eric Maxwell might eventually profit from owning approximately 37 acres of property in relative proximity to what could be the eventual route of Phase 3 of the West Fayetteville Bypass.

Contacted Monday, Maxwell said those comments are ill-founded.

Maxwell said there are several potential options for the Phase 3 route of the West Fayetteville Bypass that is expected to link Lester Road with Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville.

And while the option that would link Lester Road, Ebenezer Church Road and Redwine Road to Harp Road and on to Hwy. 85 seems in some ways to be the most logical choice, the fact remains that no decision has been made.

“I haven’t been put in a position where I have to vote. As far as I know the next commission will vote on it,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he would have no say in what route is chosen by the commission unless the proposed routes surfaced for a vote at a commission meeting between now and his remaining few weeks as a commissioner.

If the topic were to come up, Maxwell said he intended to acknowledge the approximate one-half mile proximity to his property adjacent to the intersection of Redwine Road and Harp Road.

Maxwell said that if the topic is on the agenda he may or may not vote for one of the options.

“I don’t think I should vote on it because I’m going to be out of office,” Maxwell said, referencing the expiration of his term in less than six weeks and adding that he cannot say definitively that he would not vote on a proposal given that he does not know what route or routes will be proposed.

“I don’t know of any commissioner trying to get a vote in before the end of the year.”

Maxwell added that the county commission is watching the Phase 3 proposal closely, especially in view of the fact that the Phase 2 project, even though it has approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been threatened with a lawsuit by bypass opponents.

But Maxwell had even more to say about questions of his intentions on the potential route near Redwine Road and Harp Road and the claims by some that he could benefit financially from it since his property is in close proximity to Harp Road and Redwine Road.

“The opponents of Phase 2 say the bypass will decrease their property values, but some of them must think the laws of economics work differently on the south side of the county,” Maxwell said, again noting the proximity of his property to Harp Road.

When it comes to the comments of some saying he would profit from eventually selling his 37 acres for new home construction, Maxwell chuckled. Noting the 10-acre and 27-acre tracts, Maxwell said the 10-acre tract that fronts Redwine Road approximately one-half mile from Harp Road is zoned A-R (Agricultural-Residential) on which only two homes could be placed.

As for the 27-acre tract positioned adjoining the 10-tract, Maxwell said his home and four-acre front yard is the only portion of the property that could be used for a new home. Twenty-three of the 27 acres are in a floodplain that cannot be developed, he said.

Beyond that, Maxwell said he runs his cattle on the 10-acre tract near Redwine Road. The bulk of his 27-acre tract next door cannot be used for that purpose because county ordinance prevents running cattle in floodplains, he said. So without the 10-acre tract he would have to forego raising cattle, Maxwell added.

“I’m a farmer. I raise turkeys, rabbits, cattle, chickens and donkeys,” said Maxwell, emphatic that his primary job as an attorney is not his sole occupation and that the idea of having Fayette County maintain a rural character is most than just words. “I’m living the rural character.”

Maxwell leaves office at the end of December, having been defeated in the re-election bid by Allen McCarty.

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