Rezoning #atozchallenge

Image by 格纳 马 from Pixabay

About the only word I could find that started with rez- was rezone and its various conjugations, so that’s what we’ll talk about.

When we first moved here, the area, although a suburb of Atlanta, was still pretty rural. There were still a number of horse farms along many of the main roads, there were large pieces of land that were still covered with trees, which in turn were overgrown with kudzu, many of the main roads were still two lanes. I had to drive a good mile to shop on Saturdays, there were very few restaurants (and almost no fast-food places) nearby, and in general we felt like we had to travel a good distance to get to civilization.

Over the 30+ years we’ve lived here, a lot has changed. The horse farms have become subdivisions with large houses on small lots, we’re now less than ten minutes from shopping and dining, the roads have all been widened to four lanes, and in general it’s much more urban than it had been. Whether that’s good or bad news is pretty much in the eyes of the beholder, but the simple truth was that the tax burden on the people who owned much of the land made keeping things the way they were impractical. In short, they had to sell or go bankrupt.

In order to subdivide the horse farms and the overgrown land, the buyers had to get the land rezoned, or they couldn’t use the land the way they wanted to, meaning they had to petition to the zoning board to do that. The zoning board is appointed by the county commissioners and has judiciary powers, meaning if things don’t go your way, you have to sue them in Superior Court and try to get the judge to see things your way. Normally, the zoning board is fairly easy to work with, and there haven’t been too many cases where they denied someone who wanted to sell the property to someone who wanted to change how the land is being used. The county is mostly interested in the tax revenue they can collect by repurposing the land. Of course, if the intended changes require changes to the infrastructure (primarily water, sewer, and roads), that might delay or cause them to put off the change until the infrastructure can be updated.

Then, there’s the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) factor. There was a veterinarian’s office sitting on a sizable piece of property, on which he had a corral that held his white Arabian horse and Brahma bull (their names were “Dream” and “King”). After Dream and King died, he wanted to sell the property to a developer who wanted to build townhomes for senior citizens there. The neighbors were not especially happy with the plans and fought it. Ultimately the land was rezoned and the neighbors just had to live with it.

And sometimes there’s no explanation for the denial. An older gentleman owned a house in a neighborhood that was going commercial, and wanted to have his land rezoned to commercial so he could sell it and move elsewhere, but the zoning board denied him on several occasions. He then erected a sign on his front lawn to protest. Not that it did him any good. Maybe it was the fact that the older gentleman was Lester Maddox, former governor of Georgia and restaurant owner who chased Black people out of his restaurant with a pickaxe handle back in the ’60’s.

And that wraps up the 2020 A to Z Challenge here at The Sound of One Hand Typing. Hope you enjoyed it!

42 thoughts on “Rezoning #atozchallenge

  1. I’ve been told that my neighborhood used to be an orange grove many years ago. Before they built our subdivision in the late nineties it was run down commercial property including an unsavory motel. Now it’s a very nice gated community where we’ve lived for the past 26 years.

    Since we’ve been here they’ve rezoned our area from being part of a 100 year flood plane to not being one. Considering our water situation and no real close proximity to any rivers that actually have much water in them, I can’t see us ever having a flood.

    Congratulations on an A to Z well done!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. My understanding is that the Tritt family (of which Travis is a member) owned a huge chunk of land that got sold off and divided, and that our house sits on part of that land.

      We aren’t close enough to a river or creek to have to be too concerned about flooding, but there are people who do, and we get all kinds of alerts (usually in the middle of the night) about a creek that’s ready to overflow its banks. Makes for some sleepless nights…

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  2. Wow, amazing Theme for this montly blogging. (wait, I still can´t get over the guy with pickaxe, this sounds hilarious now, but it would have been a terrifying sight) Anyway, congrats for this succesful month, and thank you for the new words I learned. I´ll keep following your blog, although my wordpress asks me to follow you again every time I visit your posts. There´s no escape from me, as my resigned husband already knows. Cheers, and see you around. Hannie, the stalker CowCorn.

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  3. John,

    Congrats on finishing another A to Z Challenge with flying colors! I had no clue how your theme might play out but you did a great job entertaining and educating me with each installment in your series. Rezoning brings to mind the many changes Knoxville has seen in our four decades of living here. I recall how the west side of town past Cedar Bluff (ext 378A) how a lot of the large tracts of land was mostly fields used by farmers. In the early 80s I began working just past Cedar Bluff at a newly developed office complex, Franklin Square, and remembering how eerie it was to have to drive in the dark with few businesses. Today, it’s a different place. Cows no longer graze those open fields and homes with huge front yards are gone. We’ve seen a lot of rezoning in various parts spreading city conveniences into rural areas. It makes me wonder what the next 40 years will bring. If I’m blessed to live that long then I’ll be in my late 90s. It’s possible! Thanks for popping by to check out pinup girl art sketches. Your support has meant a lot to me, my friend. Be healthy and blessed!

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  4. I remember when my home village got rezoned as part of a city… we suddenly had city buses!
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! It has been an interesting theme, I’m impressed you did it all the way through 🙂

    The Multicolored Diary

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  5. Concats for finishing the A to Z Challenge in style. I think most areas have changed. They redeveloped our waterfront. Built million $ condos on land contaminated with chromium which will probably flood if we get another Sandy, Us poor people live on the hill where it’s not contaminated in our little cheap $400,000 houses and condos.

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    1. It always amazes me that people will buy incredibly expensive homes in places that are subject to destruction (thinking specifically about Malibu, where mudslides threaten the homes all the time). I don’t even wannt to be in a flood plain…

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      1. I’m thinking it might be. Hope life can get back to normal. I know Chicago won’t be open for business anytime soon. So I’ll have the husband under foot for awhile yet. Which is okay, I kind of like him after 44 years 😉 Stay safe and be well Mr. John H ❤

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  6. Our area has changed in the 20 years we’ve been here. I used to hear the cows mooing when I sat on our deck, now there are homes on those fields. It’s a real balance to keep the zoning current and practical, while keeping the citizens happy. Congrats on finishing the A to Z challenge.

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    1. Thanks! Seems that no matter what happens, someone’s going to be put out by it. They were building an electrical substation not far from us, and one of my neighbors got all upset and had all the TV stations out and talked about how dangerous the electromagnetic radiation would be for her children. So they relocated the substation… and she and her husband sold their home. Turns out she was afraid that it would lower her property values.

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  7. Well, that was a good idea… zoning! I remember when that was going on… not that I understood any of it then. I remember when we bought a home in Chicago on 48th St. and there were projects on 42nd St. and the builder told us oh don’t worry those will be torn down next year. They never did. All that stuff was mumbo jumbo to me and still is. Anyway, I’ll stop here because as I said I don’t know enough about that subject to go on. CONGRATS for making it all the way through my friend. I know I enjoyed myself reading your pages… and you were the only one that I saw every day… thank you my friend so much! WOO HOO’! PARTYYYYYYY

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      1. Ashland? We use to live on 48th & Elizabeth years ago which was one block west of Racine.. but I’m talking like 1975. What I was saying above when I was little I was born in Bridgeport until I was 5 and then we moved 5 blks west of Cicero Ave. 48th & Lawler Ave.

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        1. I worked with a guy that lived a little further south on Elizabeth in 1978-79, and it was definitely a changed neighborhood by then.

          I always liked how they did that: from Pulaski to Cicero, street names started with K (except Tripp), between Cicero and Austin, they started with L, Austin to Central was M…

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    1. I didn’t fall back on using it as a prefix too often, either. There were only a couple where I couldn’t find a word that wasn’t a verb, and once when I did it because I liked the word (reorganize). Thanks!

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      1. LOL. I think they just want to split it up and make 3 states out of it. North California, South California and California. Split it in half for NorCal and SoCal and then the SF Peninsula down to LA would be California. Craziness happens when politicians get talking doesn’t it?

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    1. If that’s where the story of Lester Maddox ended, you’d be right, but as governor he did more for African Americans than any governor that came before him: he integrated the Georgia State Patrol and appointed Blacks to positions of authority in state government offices, including his budget director. A lot of people voted for him thinking he was going to do everything short of bringing slavery back, but he made it clear from Day 1 he wasn’t going to govern that way. There’s a great article from around the time Atlanta hosted the Olympics: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-06-30-mn-19911-story.html . He and Hosea Williams, one of the many civil rights leaders that came of that era, were evidently pretty good friends. He was by no means perfect, but not as bad as you might think…

      Anyway, thanks!

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  8. Congrats on the A to Z! Rezoning happens daily, everywhere and, in some cases I understand but I always feel sad when beautiful land is taken by developers who rezone it and create subdivisions that look like LEGO brick houses. It is hard to see here where our land, great for fruit is all gone and made way for the freeway and tons of ugly houses.

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    1. I can’t say that I don’t miss the horse farms, but the owners had to face reality and realize that having all that land was a luxury they could no longer afford. It’s sad that it came to that, but it came to that…

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  9. Nicely done, John. You finished in find form. Up here, the state Has a program that offers cash payments and reduced taxes to farmers who agreed to designate their land as farmland forever. After agreeing, the land can never be developed (under the existing law). This is the only thing that allowed the small dairy farm we shop at, to survive.

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      1. We do. We are losing some tobacco farms, but holding close to 2,000 acres. Some have taken the tax break, and switched to other crops, some have sold for big money to developers. It tends to be governed by location.

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  10. Your place seems to have changed a lot during those 30 years. Great last AtoZ post, your theme was fun! It took me a whole week to remember your theme, even if I had read it the day it was posted 😉
    Thank you for being a co-host of this amazing challenge, and for visiting me so often!
    Z is for Zakka

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