Dear Editor: While I usually don’t pay attention to rezoning news in your newspaper, something did strike me about this one (Gum Springs Church Rd. project.) There was one individual that objected to the approval and for a very good reason, effective growth management.
Parenthetically, this will be a very challenging issue over the short and long term future as the ongoing expansion of Metro Atlanta continues to invade Jackson County from the west. It’s even happening now. Look about. You won’t recognize west and north sides of Jackson County 15-20 years from now. Our middle-aged predecessors will delight the young whipper-snappers with an age-old story: “Yep, I could be a millionaire if I had only robbed a bank back in the early 2000s and bought some of that cheap land in West Jackson!”
But I digress.
While the rezoning has been approved, and it’s probably way too late, one of the conditions of rezoning, which probably wouldn’t fly anyway, should have been to promise a sizable chunk of change to help GDOT fund a new interstate interchange on I-85 at Hwy. 332.
Think about it. Once this project is fully built out, it will indeed have an impact in the immediate area and even the not so immediate area. This, of course, will not be the only contributing development. Far from it. Y’all think the rush hour traffic gridlock on Hwy. 53 approaching I-85 is bad now? Ha! You ain’t seen nothing yet! Ten years from now, those that attempt to traverse it will have to get up an hour earlier just to get on I-85! (You’ll really appreciate GDOT's Vision of 6-laning the Interstate down to Gwinnett County. They know what’s coming!).
Anyway, the already emerging fast growth in west and north Jackson County will dictate that a new interchange, as described above, needs to be constructed now, not 20 years from now as now planned.
Yes, I know the long-term plan is to place the new interchange on Hwy. 60 at I-85, but the GDOT and county highway planners need to think about that. Would one at Hwy. 332 make more sense? Maybe the smart thing to do is place it at Hwy. 60 first, then Hwy. 332 in the 15 year period. I’ll leave that to the experts, but the point is planning/funding/construction for at least one should start now, not 10-15 years from now and the growth projects in the extended area around “Plumb Nearly” should be funded, in part, by the growth projects that are driving the need for the interchange, including the Gum Springs project.
Do it, do it now!
Plumb Nearly “The Friendliest Village in Jackson County. We’re here to sell you stuff!”
P.S. The new Jackson County High School now under construction on Skelton Rd. and the other schools to be built on that campus? Yes, Jackson County BOE, y’all need to put some money in the kitty too!