DEAR EDITOR:

The emotions behind this letter are triggered by details learned from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article published this past week. I pray they are not true and if they’re not, then I take back comments in this letter, but I fear they are!

Friday evening, while preparing to take our granddaughters to enjoy Christmas on Dixie, one of the many things they love about visiting us here in rural Rutledge, we were alerted that the AJC, as well as several other newspapers, had dropped a story that could be found on Facebook, “Georgia plans to announce next week it has landed a factory from well-financed electric vehicle startup Rivian, a deal that officials hope will make the state a leader in the next generation of the automotive industry, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.”

That factory is to be located in the unincorporated part of Morgan County known as Rutledge. This is an area zoned agricultural and is set aside in the Morgan County Comprehensive Land Use Plan as recommended to be best served by remaining rural and agricultural. It was never intended to be an extension of the JDA’s Stanton Springs project.

It is especially disturbing to read this quote from the AJC: “In November, the AJC first reported Rivian was in late-stage negotiations with the state and county leaders east of Atlanta while simultaneously in discussions with other states, including Texas.”

Do you realize that behind our backs, for many months and probably several years, our county administration and representatives were working against our interests? The JDA and our county government were working with the state and Rivian. The JDA and our county leaders have sold us out!

What happened to our rural and agricultural future? And just how much in tax relief and other incentives, at the expense of its residents, has been offered to Rivian. All in secrecy.

Most of us living in Rutledge only learned about the proposed factory three weeks ago when our neighbors were visited by representatives of the project to be advised that their homes were to be bought so that a factory could be built on their property. They were shocked; shocked and hurt.

Those of us who live close but not close enough to be “bought out” will also suffer losses. Our property values will decline, our roads, already in poor condition, will be worsened by the 8,000 employees driving to and from work, we will have terrible traffic in this small community. The Georgia State Observatory, already having problems from the lights of Stanton Springs, will surely see deterioration of the dark skies, and commercial growth will spring up rapidly as soon as the county’s rezoning moratorium expires.

Rutledge has been sacrificed by county leaders who are also our neighbors! If you are concerned, please join and follow a new Facebook page, Rutledge Opposes Rivian Assembly Plant.

JoEllen Artz,

Rutledge

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