Save the Ranch! No Zoning Changes!

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I'm not sure if y'all are aware but Traton Homes is trying to get the zoning changed so they can put up a large townhome development on Fairburn Rd/Pine Drive. I am sharing this information with you as I want you to understand where the loyalty of our County government lies. Two of our county commissioners came and spoke to our neighborhood about the possible zoning changes that would allow this development to proceed. If you are not familiar, this is the neighborhood off of Fairburn road, across from the QT station, by the lake. The zoning changes could quite possibly end the Exodus Ranch. If you are not familiar with our mission, please go to our website. Read on for all information!
WE DO NOT WANT THIS ZONING CHANGE! It would leave us open to any type of commercial or industrial buildings. That being said,  we asked that Traton homes put a large fence around the perimeter of the townhomes. Their response was "it will cost too much." When the commissioners spoke to us one asked us how this development would "improve our lifestyle." I literally laughed out loud. This area is surrounded by woods and wildlife. It is one of the "last frontiers" in the city. Yes, there are a few more but they are going fast. We were told by the commissioners that if the county didn't allow these homes to be built that the city would override them and give them the go-ahead to change the zoning. Come to find out that the city doesn’t even know about this request! It's all about the $$$. They honestly do not care about the citizens who are already here. Their greatest concern seems to be "growth". I'm so angry I could spit. If ya'll aren't familiar with what we do here at the Exodus Ranch, please take a minute and look at our mission. This really could shut us down. Anyhow, here is the letter. I doubt it will do any good but...Honestly, I'm not trying to be petty I'm just really angry at the lack of concern for those of us who already live here! Please help us stop this!  Keep in mind, if they can’t change the zoning they can’t build anything they are commercially.  Thanks for helping us! .

I am writing to share my thoughts about the possibility of a townhome development at Pine Dr/Fairburn Rd. I am a resident of Pine Dr. We are one of the few remaining agricultural properties within the city. The Exodus Ranch is 501(C)3 that works with Foster Children, hosts foster fun days, takes our horses out to needy communities to deliver gifts, are the official ranch for the Douglas County, Equestrian Special Olympics team and hosts special needs group homes. The ranch also has a program called Pups and Ponies that takes our mini horses and dogs to senior centers to visit. All of these programs are free of charge. We have over twenty horses and ponies at the ranch. The site that is proposed for the Town Homes would directly butt up against the ranch. When you came and spoke to us you asked “how can this development improve your lives and help your community?” My response was simple. It cannot. It will not. On the contrary, it could be devastating to those of us who live here. The proposed development (we were told would house around 400 to 600 people) would adversely affect us all. The neighborhood asked that the developers put a high fence around the entire development and the response was “that would cost too much.” Let me share with you how much it will “cost” us as residents of the Ranch and Pine Drive.

1) More traffic and pollution in our small neighborhood

2) The noise will be substantially worse. Currently, the trees block much noise but with 400-600 people in our front yards, the street, and human noise will quadruple. Parties, fourth of July, New Years eve and other holiday fireworks (which could cause harm to our livestock because of panic or the below trespassing)

3) Trespassing. The lake will be a huge draw for people, especially kids. There will be no way of keeping people from trespassing across other’s property. As for the ranch, we will have no way of keeping people from trespassing on our property, getting in pastures, cutting fences and letting horses out, trying to feed the horses “snacks” and helping themselves to our trails. All of these things have the potential to cost us a bunch of money, including; law suites, vet bills, and property repair.

4) Crime. You can tell us all you want that it will be safe but with that much of an influx of people, crime will go up.

5) Speeding up and down the dead-end road. It happens now when people “accidentally” turn on this road. You add families with teens and it will increase.

How will it directly affect me? As stated above, the development will butt RIGHT UP against our fence line. There will be no blocker from the Ranch property and the development. You can assure me all you want that no one will bother anything but that is not a reality. If someone comes on the Ranch property and feeds our horses something they shouldn’t, or walks into a pasture and gets bit, kicked or run over, or decides to take a stroll on our trails and gets bit by a snake or falls and breaks something, I am liable. Did you get that? I am liable. And of course with the proposed furlough and defunding of our Emergency Responders, if anyone is hurt they may lay there for a while before someone comes to help them. I am completely against destroying the property that is basically in my front yard for many reasons but the above is the biggest.

Destroying the woods and gas line path will also send all the wildlife living there, back to us. There will be no place for them to go. We have turkeys, coyote, deer, bobcat, and more. Where are they to go? They are already so crowded together that the deer constantly take down our fences and the coyote hang out in our yard at times. With the loss of habitat, they will be an even bigger issue. We already have kids who sneak in from the backside of the property and make campfires back at the creek and leave their broken beer bottles and paraphernalia all over. Their trash is a direct threat to our animals and if one of their fires get out of control, we will have a big mess. The development will increase that type of activity as they will be able to directly access our trails from the townhome property. Not to mention the safety of all of the young girls we have here. I have had to stop OUR kids from going back to OUR creek by themselves because we have strangers just strolling around and yes before you ask, we have no trespassing signs everywhere but people don’t care. That will all increase with a huge amount of people in our front yard. With no fence between Pine Drive and their proposed one-acre, “nature trail” people will be able to walk onto anyone’s property.

They (the developers) are not willing to put a fence up because it will “cost them too much money.” If they continue with this development and don’t put a fence up, it has the potential of putting us out of business. We just can’t do the increased liability. I wonder how they would feel if I just removed my fences and let my horses wander around in the townhome property? I’m guessing they believe I should keep my horses on my own property. Of course, the only way I can do that is by a fence. The only way to deter people from coming onto Pine Drive and Ranch property is for them to put a fence up, or better yet, go build your townhomes elsewhere. 

As for government officials; I keep hearing about how they want to help the people. This is most certainly NOT helping the people. Our county and city government should be focused on its current citizens instead of trying to get more growth. You need to take care of the problems at hand before “growing.” Crime has risen exponentially, the finances are a mess and we the people are a pawn in a power struggle of egos. With rising property taxes and rising crime, I ask myself often why we are still here. The answer is “for the kids.” We do it for the kids. We are barely holding on yet we are expected to allow a multi-million dollar company to come in and allow them to not worry about the citizens who are already here. The Foster children of Douglas County and the Special Needs community have this great place available to them. It is a wonderful asset for Douglasville. But this could very possibly end all of that. There are so few natural places left in the city. Why continue to destroy them and then “build” pseudo-natural places downtown. It makes absolutely no common sense. If the local government is truly concerned about the county and city, they would look past the growth, fix what is here, and help their current citizens