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Old 02-18-2007, 11:04 AM
 
Location: a primitive state
9,817 posts, read 20,048,482 times
Reputation: 12204

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Hermit, you've hit the nail right on the head. It's a sad state of affairs that is not limited to the mountains.

I really wonder if most of the readers really get it or not.
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:56 AM
 
1,418 posts, read 9,342,972 times
Reputation: 913
I agree with much of what mountainhermit says, except two things. One, "Work" and truly rural regions don't go together. Not the kind of work everyone seems to want. Sure, if you want to pick fruit and vegitables for large land owners, you can find that kind of work. Or, if you have millions of dollars and a wealth of knowledge about agriculture, you could buy yourself several hundred acres some equipment and farm the land. I guess you could own a small retail store to supply the agriculture community. But, most likely someone has beat you to it.

Two, you can't really blame the locals, who have worked hard all of their lives scraping by, for wanting to cash in by selling or developing some of their land. If you've made a ton of money working in NY or California in the tech sector, entertainment, etc., it's all too easy to criticize local people for selling off their land for money, claiming that they are driven by greed. Or for wanting jobs in their towns so that their children will have some place to work, rather than up and move to Atlanta at the first chance they get.

If I were a native of Blue Ridge, owned and worked 100 acres all my life, and now some developer is going to offer me 2.5 million dollars for my land - 4 times more money that I've made in all my years of back-breaking work, what do you think I'm going to do? What I'm going to do is scream and hollar at ANYONE who is going to stand up at a county meeting and take my 2.5 million dolars away from me! It's easy to call this "greed", until you're 60 years old, have a heart problem and all of your kids have moved to the City, and now it's only you and your wife caring for 100 acres, squeaking out a meager living. 2.5 Million Dollars and get to relax a little, or keep grinding out the physical labor and die by age 68, Deal or No Deal?

I think I'd take the deal.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:29 AM
 
25 posts, read 99,870 times
Reputation: 18
Hmmm. I have lived in canton my entire 22 years of life. When I was born we didn't even have a Wal-mart and the K-mart was just being built. My entire life has been spent in one of the fastest growing areas in the country, and for better or worse I loved it all. Since about the age of 13 I lived out in West Cherokee county Growing up around the Lake and Mr. Sowells 5,000 acres. I loved the woods and all it offered me. Now in his old age he wishes to sell the land to a developer who wants to put 12000 homes on it and build a master planned community, the total population within the Canton city limits during the 2000 census was only 8000. So in light of this, I am still okay with people moving here. Canton and Cherokee county are interesting in many ways. Here the two places meet. Meaning the north of the county is trying its best to remain what it has been while the south in WoodStock has embraced the growth for years. In the middle we have Canton where the two converge. One benefit of Woodstock taking the plunge first is we were able to learn from their mistakes. Personally I like the people who move here from not only Fl, but also Cali. On the issue of Ellijay and Blueridge, many moving to those areas are a bit different then those moving to cherokee. Here the people need jobs for the most part. Many moving into the mountain towns are retired or very near retiring. Just minutes from these towns you can find more land then you can shake a stick at. Now its true that much of this land has went up in price, but so goes life. Walker county is years from development. The problem that people are having is the need to live next to the interstate. If people would detach themselves from the need to have quick access to the city they would probably find some places that fit their desire to remain in small towns. There is nothing wrong with this desire, but we have to remember if we have the idea then alot others do as well. Just one of the things about living along the interestate or major highways.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Blairsville, GA
3 posts, read 2,165 times
Reputation: 12
This may be a little long, but I hope that it helps the native Georgians to understand the heart of most native Floridians who are moving here. We probably are your closest ally in wanting to save the way of life and culture here.

Some of my earliest memories are of trees. Back in the sleepy 1950's town of Orlando, Florida, the stately oak trees protected us from the hot sun. Their Spanish moss decorated branches invited us kids to climb aboard for a merry adventure high above the ground. It was not unusual, in the Orlando of my childhood, for roads be built in a circle around a big old tree. For no one had the heart to cut down such a specimen of beauty.

We proudly called that Orlando "The City BeautifuI" and we truly believed that it was the most beautiful city in the whole world. We lived our days surrounded by shiny lakes, thousands of acres of delightfully scented orange groves, and the sweet southern smiles of our neighbors and kin.

If you are one of the many Georgians who are puzzled and a little unnerved by the migration of native Floridians to Union County, perhaps this blog will help you understand. To us, life in the Northeast Georgia mountains feels like we have once again found our lost childhood home. Not surprisingly a large number of us trace at least a few of the roots of our family trees right back here to Georgia.

You won't find us chopping down all of the trees on a property just so that we can have an "unobstructed view." We cringe along with you when we see the mountains leveled for yet another department store or restaurant. We have carefully chosen our beloved "adopted" home. We promise to be good stewards of this land and this way of life because we are in it for the long haul. Like the old hymn, "Just As I Am," we love Blairsville just as it is. We wouldn't change a thing!
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:02 PM
 
3 posts, read 14,268 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prichard View Post
I agree with much of what mountainhermit says, except two things. One, "Work" and truly rural regions don't go together. Not the kind of work everyone seems to want. Sure, if you want to pick fruit and vegitables for large land owners, you can find that kind of work. Or, if you have millions of dollars and a wealth of knowledge about agriculture, you could buy yourself several hundred acres some equipment and farm the land. I guess you could own a small retail store to supply the agriculture community. But, most likely someone has beat you to it.

Two, you can't really blame the locals, who have worked hard all of their lives scraping by, for wanting to cash in by selling or developing some of their land. If you've made a ton of money working in NY or California in the tech sector, entertainment, etc., it's all too easy to criticize local people for selling off their land for money, claiming that they are driven by greed. Or for wanting jobs in their towns so that their children will have some place to work, rather than up and move to Atlanta at the first chance they get.

If I were a native of Blue Ridge, owned and worked 100 acres all my life, and now some developer is going to offer me 2.5 million dollars for my land - 4 times more money that I've made in all my years of back-breaking work, what do you think I'm going to do? What I'm going to do is scream and hollar at ANYONE who is going to stand up at a county meeting and take my 2.5 million dolars away from me! It's easy to call this "greed", until you're 60 years old, have a heart problem and all of your kids have moved to the City, and now it's only you and your wife caring for 100 acres, squeaking out a meager living. 2.5 Million Dollars and get to relax a little, or keep grinding out the physical labor and die by age 68, Deal or No Deal?

I think I'd take the deal.
So really what you have said is that money is justification for everything. Gimme that money and I don't care what you do to this property! I just want the money!

Therein lies the problem. It's a problem of human nature. At the base of human nature is greed, which is the desire to enrich oneself. There is always great justification for greed...a million reasons why we all need all the money we can get.

Yes, I'm from California...and I'm just about to turn 63 years of age. However, I came out here with my 84 Dodge van pulling a Uhaul trailer with everything I owned in it (that would fit). I am not rich and never have been. I am on Social Security Disability from complications of treatment of cancer.

I saw rampant growth in Orange County, California in the 1950's turn it from a rural agricultural area to a sprawling metropolis. I hated it, and I moved to Sacramento in northern California to get away from it. In 20 years Sacramento went from being a relatively quiet, peaceful community to being a traffic jammed, crime ridden, smog filled zoo of escalating prices and plunging quality of life. I moved to Jasper in May of 2001 because it was a quiet retirement community out of the path of greedy developers - or so I thought.
My mistake. It is prime development territory, and it is being converted as fast as possible into another traffic-filled suburbia.

I realize that some people like high density housing and busy streets. After all, the high rise buildings in Manhattan are full of people who love that lifestyle. I would like to see everyone in north Georgia who loves development and suburbia move to Manhattan or Atlanta or Roswell or Woodstock/Acworth/Marietta, or wherever if that's the life they enjoy. Too bad the mountains have to suffer from the unbridled greed of people.

One day, I will leave this area to all of you who love growth. You can have it. I won't look back any more than I look back at Anaheim, California and wish I was there. Believe me, I don't. I have no interest in returning to Sacramento, and I will have no interest in Pickens County other than a memory of when it was a nice place to live. People moving here now will never know what it once was. Too bad.

At least a few hundred people will get big bucks for their properties so they can move out of here! That makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

And the developers and politicians can live on estates in the country with acreage and fences to protect them from subdivisions and commercial developments, so they don't mind at all.

But the average Joe and Jill will see their housing options shrinking. Wages aren't climbing here...in fact, they are pitifully low. Employment laws here protect employers and ignore employees. No state disability. No animal control. Volunteer fire departments in the county. Water regulation even when water is in surplus. Headline news in the Progress saying "forested areas in North Georgia slated for massive development".

What a great place to live.
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:18 PM
 
1,418 posts, read 9,342,972 times
Reputation: 913
Quote:
So really what you have said is that money is justification for everything. Gimme that money and I don't care what you do to this property! I just want the money!
No, that's not what I've said. It's easy for you to sit back, collect your SSI, and live off the "fat of the land". But, what about the 63 year old farmer who can't do the hard physical labor anymore? He has a means of supporting himself by selling the land that he has worked all of his life. Are you suggesting that he give away his land and then live off of social security? All just so you don't have to live near too many people and put up with traffic?

What has happened in this country to the concept of a man's land is his and NOT YOURS, unless you pay him for it? If you don't like your neighbor selling off his land for development, then you have two options - buy it from him, or rally the majority of voters to dissalow the land to be subdivided.

Why are we criticizing people who make money by selling one of their assets that they paid for, that they've paid taxes on for years, that they'v cared for so that they can support themselves and live in relative comfort? Is this a sin to you?

I love the land as much as the next person. I don't want to see developers subdividing large tracts of land in the N. Georgia mountains any more than you do. But, I also love my freedom and independance. I value personal repsonsibility for providing for your own financial security until the day that you die. I squirl away whatever I can during my working years so that I may one day retire, even if the social security I've paid into for years is abolished. I have no expectation of my government taking care of me. From the time that I was seventeen, I've foregon luxuries, pleasures, status objects, new cars, fancy homes, and a lot of other things to make sure that I can provide for myself. This includes real estate investments, which I fully intend to sell some day for as much money as I can possibly get. And, eventhough I see pleanty of value in buying up Mountain property, holding it and developing some little by little - that is one investment that I have passed on, because I love the natural beauty of that land so much. But, that is my choice, and I can afford to make that choice.

If all I had in life was a 30 acre parcel of land that was never desireable to anyone, but now is very popular - I can't honestly say that I wouldn't capitalize on selling it if I had to. In this regard, I can understand and sympathize with some of the locals who are "cashing in".
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Old 02-20-2007, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Australia
30 posts, read 100,234 times
Reputation: 22
The Exact same is happening here where I live in the Hills area of West Aust. This area used to be "out in the back of nowhere" so to speak, but now there are loads of farmers subdividing large portions of their properties into five to ten acre lots and selling them off. Let me tell you they are going like hot cakes too, everyone wants the 'country' sort of lifestyle and from here its only a two hour drive to the Capital City (Perth), so people think it's great.
I bought here because it was peaceful and secluded and tucked away from everything, but hey if someone has bought up all the land around here and wants to subdivide I say go for it at least we will get a sealed road lol!
and what am I going to do in 10 to 15 years time? Sell of course, places around here will be worth a mint then, do I think I am greedy???? nahhhhhh course not, I think I owe myself that much!

cheers
Echidna
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, of course.
1 posts, read 3,181 times
Reputation: 13
Default Reality Check

I have owned a second home in the Blue Ridge area for several years. The venting of a few angry few on this board has motivated me to state that not once have I encountered a problem with a hostile local. I think most of the anger originates from a few isolationist and cowards via anonymous forum and Blog posts. The complaints of these folks are nothing new, just new to North Georgia and other recent development hot spots. Some locals in other second home or retirement markets have felt the same for years. Did it stop second home buyers and retirees from moving into Florida, the Carolinas, Maine or any other vacation destination? No, it clearly has not. It’s just easier to find this information these days due to the internet. I’m convinced that many of these dissidents don’t even live in the area. For those that do, you will always have a small segment of the population that complains but doesn’t have the courage of conviction to do anything about the perceived problem. These complainers are the same few who can’t cope or compete with globalization and think their woes are someone else’s responsibility. Most people reading this will know a person who fits this description. They live in towns and cities all over the US.

More importantly, my community of homes in Blue Ridge is a very peaceful place. Filled with folks from all over the Eastern seaboard. Do we have problems? Only occasionally. When we have problems is usually created by a few local developers without respect for the land (not all are like this). This is same type of problem you run into in any neighborhood in any part of this country.

Is Blue Ridge busy? Honestly it is much less traveled than many vacation destinations in the Southeast and the average Blue Ridge tourist is not what you would find in Dollywood. The Blue Ridge tourist or second home owner is a much different demographic, much more affluent. This is neither good nor bad, simply an observation. Is there a drug problem? If so the problem is isolated to a very small group of locals and not the general population. Again this is no different than any other part of the country. Honestly much less of a problem in Fannin County.

I have enjoyed my interaction with the locals. I have found contractors and vendors to be sincere and helpful. None of the contractors asked for a deposit on products or services simply payment when the project was completed! A simple “thank you” and “have a good day” or “would you like a drink?” goes a long way whether you are in Blue Ridge, Miami, Washington D.C., or Atlanta. My experiences in restaurants off the beaten path have been very enjoyable. Folks have stopped by table to make small talk with my children on many occasions. Employees at utilities companies have been efficient, honest, and professional.

For those of you reading this and considering a move to North Georgia you will find it a welcoming place. The quality of life is truly world class. Is it a wilderness area? It is some where between a wilderness and recreational area. If I want to get a way from civilization, visit the Cohuttas or Cooper Creek where it is unlikely you’ll see anyone during your day. If you want a quick exposure to nature get in your car and visit Sandy Bottoms or rent a canoe from one of the two Toccoa River vendors.

Local amenities at most levels range from adequate to terrific and major airports are only 2 hours a way. The limited alcohol laws keep rift raft out of Blue Ridge and the downtown area very safe. The county is starting to tighten down zoning and building codes. This has been needed for some time as some locals (the minority) have abused the latitude given to them in regards to zoning and build quality. This again is a challenge you can be faced with anywhere. The answer to these past sins is simple; have your property professional inspected and survey prior to closing. Over development will be difficult because 42% of the county is National Forest Service property. Is there a chance this property will be sold? Yes, but it is unlikely that large tracts will be sold. If such a sale is ever approved, it will be the 100 acre parcels that are isolated from the larger NFS tracts. The last proposed and defeated sale was as such. Again, this sale was shot down.

Again I have been a property owner in Blue Ridge for many years and it has been a pleasure. My only regret is that I can’t spend more time in that beautiful area and with its gentle people.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:47 AM
 
12 posts, read 61,815 times
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I'm with you, MountainHermit. My husband and I were just talking about wanting to quit the "rat race" and find a small town to move to, where it wouldn't take us 45 minutes to go to work 16 miles away, where people knew each other and looked out for each other, and builders weren't claiming every empty lot they saw. We can't find any that we can afford!

When we moved to Jacksonville, it was considered one of Florida's "smaller" towns, in comparison to Orlando and Miami, although it encompasses the entire county of Duval. The previous mayor was trying to promote tourism to get the snowbirds to stop on their way to Boca and Ft Lauderdale. I wanted to cry when I thought about all of that following us out of S Florida.

Are there any places left that developers and politicians haven't found, and started to destroy in the name of progress? You're right - all they see are the dollar signs, not the crime figures or the unemployment numbers. It's just sickening.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:53 AM
 
1,025 posts, read 3,759,096 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsA View Post
Are there any places left that developers and politicians haven't found, and started to destroy in the name of progress?
Beautiful Alabama (except near the beaches).
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