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  • Writer's pictureBart Scrivener

Master Plan: "Gentrify" Rural Lee County

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

***Cover Photo Credit to Opelika-Auburn News***

You country bumpkins don’t know how to live. We gave you a chance to move to urban areas with amenities but you just won’t voluntarily adopt the preferred way of life. The way of life we feel is best for you. Twelve years ago, we created a Master Plan, a policy where we tell you what you can do with your land. Since you won't voluntarily accept the Master Plan and a Zoning Board, the Master Planners are going to change the rule that property owners elect to adopt Zoning, beat by beat. Instead, Master Planners are pushing to get the Lee County Delegation to force Zoning on all of rural Lee county with legislation. They plan to force you to "improve" your standard of living and culture. Don't trust them, they don't know what's best for you and your family.

From the Gentrification of North Auburn to the whole of Lee County. How? Read the Master Plan put out by the “Planning Commission” and supported, then and now, by Robert Ham and Kevin Flannagan. Yes, the current lame duck Commissioner Ham who was soundly rejected by voters in his district. Yes the same Kevin Flannagan who was then and is again on the current Lee County Planning Commission. Ted Little sponsored the legislation, Act 2007-401. Thank you, Senator Little, you've begun the degradation of property rights, the security of longtime residents of Lee county, and the very way of life in rural areas of Lee County- the precise quality that Lee County formerly hung its hat on: remember the "loveliest village on the plains"? The "improved" vertical landscape blocks the sun and one's depth of vision; there is insufficient parking; the traffic is too great and unsafe for the inadequate highway infrastructure. Developers, unhampered by adequate codes to accommodate traffic generated by new high density construction, are happy. City Hall is happy because the greater population and greater number of buildings and businesses generate a greater revenue stream. Build it high, build it wide. Pack them in like sardines. Bumper to bumper, that's truly a higher standard of living, a better way to live.

Auburn is no longer a village, it’s replete with high-rises, peak hour traffic tangles in every direction in and out of the metropolis for miles. But these Master Planners are not content to despoil their formerly quaint towns, they want to turn the entire county into their idea of progress: Urban Blight, crime, asphalt and concrete, complete with insufficient and narrow-laned roads. How 'bout that gas tax? Seen improvement in the condition of rural roads? The aim is to reduce the property rights of those who’ve owned property and lived in Rural Lee County for generations. There's money to be made for for greedy Developers, but they've just about run out of land to develop within the five mile urban jurisdictions. They care nothing about a way of life that has survived for hundreds of years, a culture that promotes independence, self-subsistence, and the quiet enjoyment of one’s property. If these folks leave their property to their children, Developers will have no land upon which to cram homebuyers onto tiny lots. How can developers then make their money and how can cities increase their revenue stream to increase government and bureaucracy? Master Planners will determine what you can do on your property, increase your property taxes, continue to make you pay an occupation tax, anything they can do to generate a revenue stream they can use to hire people to monitor what you're doing on your own land and enforce rules that redistribute your wealth to their crony contractors.

What’s gentrification have to do with the Master Plan? One recalls how mostly black property owners were preyed upon by developers, who then built student apartments, etc. The former owners received a pittance of what the property was worth, but where are they living now? Folks, the scripture says, “in as much as ye have done unto them, you have done it unto Me”. If Master Planners can get rich in North Auburn by turning those folks' property and security into apartments, etc., they most assuredly will do it unto you. Master Planners, Master Citizens, Masters of everyone else? NO, but Master Planners think rural folk are simply uneducated and don’t know how to act, Master Planners will make the choices for them and their children. This will spell the death of a wholesome, independent rural way of life. The urban lifestyle and unsafe traffic of Auburn/Opelika will eventually swallow the entire county if Master Planners have their way. Shouldn't the property owner decide if he wants to live in a Mini-Atlanta? What was wrong with the "loveliest village"? What's wrong with a return to place where it's safe and pleasant to drive to and from work or the grocery store? Stop letting Robert Ham reduce minimum lane width in the Lee County Subdivision Regulations and export the cost and inconvenience from the developer to the taxpayer.

What is Robert Ham? There is ample evidence that he is an unscrupulous developer who leveraged his former position on the Planning Commission into a position on the County Commission and during his tenure there, altered Lee County Land development and subdivision rules to his and fellow Developers' benefit. When Creekwood Quarry threatened the value of property in beat 13, the Commission told folks in beat 13 that if they voted to establish a Planning Commission in their beat, the County could stop the Quarry. After Beat 13 adopted the Planning Commission, the County Commission admitted they could not stop the Quarry. However, the Commission immediately developed zoning regulations which dilute the property rights of citizens owning property in Beat 13. Beat 13, undo this abomination of a Zoning Commission. Every other Beat in Lee County need be concerned about their property rights.

Act 2007-401 provides that zoning will be imposed beat by beat by the vote of the property owners in each beat. Ham and Flannagan know that Rural beats do not want their property rights stripped from them by a Zoning Board. Mr. Flannagan has advised the members of the Planning Commission to talk to the Lee County delegation: the Senators, Representatives, etc. and encourage the delegation to pass a local act just as Ted Little did, but this time to force Zoning on Rural Lee County by legislation, rather than letting each beat vote as was set forth by Act 2007-401. Don't let them do this end run. Pay attention, let the Lee County Delegation know you don’t want a Zoning Board to dictate how you can use your own land. Master Planners will will not rest until they have installed a Countywide Zoning Board. Undo the establishment of the Rural Lee County Zoning Board.

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