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!