Harris County residents push back against proposed development

Some residents say the proposed development threatens their way of life.

HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. - There's a small chicken coop attached to the man cave in the backyard of James Burditt's Harris County home, which may be an indicator that city life is only welcomed on planned trips along interstate 185. 

"Heavier traffic, higher crime rate, I'm just going on what I see in Columbus and that's the reason why we left Columbus because crime had gotten so out of hand in the areas we lived in, and that's why we wanted country life," says Burditt. 

Burditt is one of many residents, like Meghan Guenther who has no desire to live in what they view as a new Columbus. 

"We live ten miles from Columbus now. I live ten miles from two Publix stores. I don't need a Publix off the exit that I live off of," says Guenther. "We chose this area because we have the convenience of Columbus, but we are away from Columbus. We don't necessarily want it at our back door." 

But according to many residents, the county isn't listening to their concerns nor are they prepared for the proposed changes. 

"It's not that we're opposed to progress, that's not it," says Keith Seeley. "We're opposed to forced progress. And that's what this is all about. They're forcing progress." 

But the fast pace of the progress is threatening to interrupt the land they've come to love.

"I prefer to stay here in Harris County," says Burditt. "Harris County is a good county. And I love living here."

But if growth comes at the expense of losing everything they say makes Harris County a great place to live-leaving might be the only thing to do. 

A petition titled "Help Save The Rural Integrity of Harris County, Georgia" has garnered over 1,600 signatures online. Harris County residents are scheduled to meet with district commissioners on March 6 to discuss the proposed development. 

Editor's Note: In our broadcast report we inaccurately reported that Hughston Homes had plans to build houses along with apartment buildings and retail space along Highway 315 in Harris County. We have since heard from the owner of Hughston Homes who informed us that he only plans to build 80 single-family homes on two-acre lots in one subdivision in that area.He says his development is well within the zoning rules in Harris County and that he has absolutely no plans for apartments or retail on his property. We apologize for the error and we're happy to set the record straight.


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