Forest Hill Road Homepage

Forest Hill Road

    "Environmental Assessment" is Flawed:  

Macon, Ga

SOS forest

    Bibb County's - "Roads Improvement Program"  

  FHR (Forest Hill Road) GDOT-projects: STP-3213(1,3)/BRMLB-3213(5), Bibb County.
 P.I.No. 350520 & 351130/351135
MAAI signs in and Up
          to Privilidged Rooms
MAAI (Moreland-Altobelli Assoc. Inc) signs in before us (click for more signatures)

click above for You Tube  video of officials forcing the meeting closed...
or download the MPEG file (here)

GDOT sign in desk
GDOT sign in desk


stop recording

"Stop recordings and photos ... all attorneys out..."
- Gerald Ross, Ga DOT, Chief Engineer. 

stop recording

1- Gerald Ross - Ga DOT - Chief Engineer (404) 656-5277
2- Tom Scholl (citizen)
3- Susan Hanberry Martin (citizen)
4-   Steve Luxenberg <>,  Director of Program Development for FHWA (404) 562-3650
6- Ken Sheets - Bibb County Engineering
7-  Chuck Hasty (GDOT)
"Cox, Jonathan" <>,
9-, and later, was seated beside her.
11- Van Etheridge via Tonya Davis <>,
12- Karla Poshedly, MAAI
13- "Ford, Clinton" <>,
14- Mike Hancock, GDOT Program Delivery, supervisor of CFord.
15- L N Manchi (MAAI)
16- Stephen Daniel (MAAI)
17- "Buchan, Ben" <>,
18- Lindsay D Holliday (citizen)

draft minutes

Meeting started with Mr Steve Luxenberg, AICP.  Director of Program Development for FHWA (404) 562-3650 -,
  declaring himself as the facilitator and handing out an agenda of topics. 
He then asked for everyone to ID themselves by name and position.  Around the room we went.

Next, he asked for any attorneys in the room to ID themselves, because GDOT "did not prepare or plan to have any attorneys in the room"

Then he asked that all recording devices be turned off.  I objected to this, and I objected to government secrecy in general - Secrecy often results in poor and inaccurate intelligence.  This results in stupid government actions.   I videotaped the room (and the attendees) and asked for him to repeat this requirement; which he did.

I put my recorder away - in my pocket.   Ken Sheets asked that all cameras and recorders be placed outside the room; I raised his demand by asking that all cell phones (which can be used as A/V recorders) be placed outside too.  About 8 people placed the cell phones on the table in a pile... still in the room...  and occasionally during the 2 hour meeting, a cell phone would buzz or vibrate which shows that a number of these devices were left "on" and could have been recording the meeting. 

As he started into the agenda, I suggested that we 1st review the PPP the citizens brought, and then use the agenda to followup with any topics not covered in the PPP.  Without any objections, I began the PPP.  Susan recited an intro-overview "we want a better design", and we also praised GDOT and FHWA for the recent progressive policies on Roundabouts and other traffic calming promotions. 

Several officials were taking notes during the PP Presentation; so I offered that I would email this to Ms Poon-Atkins and she could make it available to the others.  

I also offered to send the link to my rough-notes about the EA which is posted here:

Tom spoke to traffic counts, projections and accident data.  He passed around a few printouts of spread sheets showing GDOT data.  We brought attention to the letter from GaDOT's  Harvey Keepler which is a significant basis for our distrust of GDOT accuracy in their conclusions.
Tom asked "how can FHWA look at 5-10 years of flat-traffic-volumes and yet agree to a miraculous 2% growth rate in the projections?"  Luxenberg said there were a lot of parameters that FHWA looked at, and that he (not his area of expertise) personally could not quote the guidelines at this time. 

They really couldn't say much about the traffic counts, and didn't dispute them nor did they dispute crash data.  We talked about speed and safety several times.

Chuck Hasty said we may lose Funding if the project is delayed.  MAY not WILL.  They also stated that the funding was in place for the southern section and that they would begin buying ROW in Nov.  

EA purpose and need
Katy Allen (FHWA signature) said that the p and n was not revisited each time the EA is updated because it is assumed that it will always stand for project. ... asked how we get errors corrected in the p and n, and she said it was correct when she signed off on the FONSI, and I tried to say something like of course that is true, and [you] were operating on the information you were given, but this project has gone on for so long that many things have changed, and some of the assumptions in the p and n are no longer correct.

We asked when the EA would be updated again and they said Nov. 2011 when the funds for buying ROW in the southern section are approved.

Logical Termini
Ben Buchan and Steve Luenberg both entered the discussion.  Ben claimed that Vineville WAS a logical terminus for FHR even at capacity because presumable the project would relieve congestion on FHR, whether or not it added to Vineville, and this meets the definition.  Each section does not have to stand alone, the termini can be at either end of the whole project.  Does this make sense?  If each SEGMENT can have its own purpose without regard to the NETWORK?  And relieivng "congestion on FHR" can be accomplished by merely improving the 3 intersections where it occurs!

Traffic Calming in Bibb may be limited to only neighborhood roads with max of 25mph traffic - speed bumps or tables  according to Ken Sheets.  I am to followup with a request to view protocol and maybe to request Traffic Calming protocols for faster traffic in minor arterials, neighborhood collectors, etc...   Protocols are needed for roundabouts, trees, geometry, chicanes, etc...
I showed the 2002
Traffic Calming article published in the paper -
I showed where the RIP paid $80,000 for this, I pointed out where Van Etheridge was quoted in the article.   Then Van spoke up to say that there is now a policy for speed bumps.  I did not go into the minor detail that this policy was developed just a few years ago as a separate impetus by Macon City Council.

EA misrepresents the perennial stream:
I showed pictures on the PPP and additional photos of the ROW p
lat which shows major and incompletely mapped disturbances in ROW at 744 inside of 25 foot stream buffer:

after we ended the meeting, one of the attendees said he was from California and he was impressed at how prepared we were compared to meetings he had attended out West.  

Problems with the (EA) Environmental Assesment

Our original concerns are posted here -

The EA for Forest Hill Road contains Serious Flaws as outlined below:

1- The Accident data is wrong:

2- the Traffic Projections are based "on faulty data. The projected traffic counts, the number of cars expected to use the road by 2024, are pure fantasy. - Telegraph Editors 11-5-07 here"

3- The Needs and Purpose Statement used to justify and launch this project is no longer applicable. . .  So they changed the N+P.  or they are proceeding on an outdated N+P.
    - The newest version is here:

4- The Hydrology study is flawed.

This creek is incorrectly categorized as intermittent.  But it is perennial.  So mitigation formula is also in error.

5- A county commissioner (Elmo Richardson) who has consistently voted to pursue the project and is still drawing a salary from his company, Stantec, who designed the project has had a professional engineering complaint filed against him with the Professional Surveying and Licensing Board.

6- Citizens have not seen the final plan for the road.  Example:  Dr Ron Lemon was twice rebuffed when requesting a copy of the plan.  Finally he paid $30 for a copy which he later learned was not the "current plan"!

7- Citizens have not seen landscaping plan. What we have learned, however, is that the wrong kinds of trees and shrubs are being planted. Native trees were requested by the stakeholder's group, but the trees listed to be planted are Ginkos which are not native, may include some female trees which drop very smelly seed balls in the fall, and do not offer a "canopy" shape which was requested, and desired by the stakeholder's group. The American Beauty bushes, although native, are deciduous.

Highway Safety Organization reports that Georgia lost $7.8 Billion Dollars last year to accidents on Ga roads.

- a Summary in 8 Minutes -
of the entire Forest Hill Road fiasco

funnier and shorter -
Speeding Patrolled/ Enforced by Air:
looks like FHR with 2 x 11 foot lanes

p6 of 51:
lists numerous "Environmental Requirements" which are currently "incomplete"  at the time including -
- "Macon-Bibb are currently developing guidelines for - traffic calming - when completed, citizens will be able to request a traffic study through those guidelines"
- context sensitive lighting,
- lighting variances,
- "A Nationwide 14 permit with the Army Corps"
- 230 feet of stream impacts will need over 791 feet of mitigation credits
- landscape plan

Easements were reduced using a canti-levered retaining wall at the Holliday House property to protect the stream, etc...

Social Changes
- Public Controversy see attachments 1,5,7
- Public Involvement see 1,6

Other significant Changes:
- Historic Sites
- 4 (f)
- Streams 1,3  
- Air 1,4,8
- Stream Buffer Variance

There is no need for additional Public Involvement because one meeting was held on June 11, 2001 and there have been no additional changes to the Design or to Environmental Effects which would change or alter those conclusions.

History Survey Report (written in 1998) was updated because it was "over 5 Years Old"...
- Holliday House added as a historic property and additional efforts to minimize impacts.

ROUNDABOUTS considered after Macon Council passed a Resolution on Feb 21, 2006

"It was stated [by Whom?] that any redesign {Roundabouts} would threaten the (FY) 2006 ROW Funds as well as the potential 2008 Construction Funds".

Public involvement
2 meetings of "Stakeholders" are described for Landscaping and Lighting.  These are not truly "public meetings" because the public was not allowed to comment in the meetings.  Only the politically appointed "Stakeholders" could speak.
Apr 14, 2005, and
Dec 12, 2005

Air Quality conformity
- supposed to improve due to less congestion (they do not consider Induced Traffic)

Interagency decided there was No Air Quality concern that could maybe trigger a "Hot-Spot" analysis.
Stream Buffer Variance will be required.

p32 and 33
LOS "D" is acceptable to GDOT on an Urban Arterial such as is FHR in their plans.

Holliday House

Incorrectly lists as "Intermittent" Two Unnamed  Streams
Thus, their Worksheet to determine Mitigation on p50 is Wrong.
US Fish and Wildlife 
Interagency communications dated December 2005

No effect expected on the Wood Storks, Bald Eagles, Trilliums, etc...

Technical Addendum to AIR Quality Impact Assessment

this "project would be considered a Minor Widening which is classified as a Low Potential MSAT (Mobile Source Air Toxics) Emissions type project"
[we might look into the definitions of MINOR]

MSAT Discussions thru p14

Public Controversy Attachments
City Council Resolution

MATS Policy minutes of Apr 5, 2006
"Sam Hart and Joe Allen moved and voted to proceed with FHR as designed"

Attachment #6 is Transcripts of Stakeholders Meeting for Landscaping held on Apr 14th, 2005

p26 is page 8 of Transcripts -

Missing pages #5, 7, 9 , 11, 13, 15, 17.. all odd page numbers thru p58
end of scan
...missing All odd pages of Transcript...
Susan asks for Van's email for people to send in comments.
Stakeholders adjourn at p112 of the Transcript

Handwritten Feedback
St Francis Church - Don Thompson

Paul Fisher

Steve Skalko of FHR UMC

Sign In Sheets

Stakeholders roster

Lindsay Holliday

Susan Hanberry - email to Joe Wood

no other emails are in this collection!!???

Stakeholders meeting of Dec 12th, 2005
...MISSING All Even Pages....

end of scan at page 25 of the Transcripts Hill Road/351130a4.pdf
starts at page  27 of Transcript is missing every Even Numbered Page...

p12 of 57 is last page of Transcript.

Attachment #7
Update of Traffic Analysis

explanation of Why they did Not use 2030 MATS projections that showed Less Traffic on FHR in the year 2030 than the year 2004.!!!

Intersections Turning Numbers Drawings

Reeval - Public Responses to Hot Spots

Letter from FHWA says this project is exempt

Letter from Leslie Sparrow - Roundabouts

Barbara Altman

Lynne Bryan

Lindsay Holliday referencing webpages

p29, 30
Grace Sparrow - - was later deceived about slopes of driveway reconstruction

Lee Martin with copy of Tom Scholl's letter of November 1, 2001

Aaron Bowers - roundabouts

Vineville Neighborhood Association - Susan Long

Nick Pietrzak, Sr.

p40 - p57 - end of scan.
Harvey Keepler - standard response letters
- he never addresses the benefit of roundabouts to reduce road fumes. Hill Road/350520a.pdf

Feb 8, 2008
Reevaluation of the SOUTHERN PROJECT between WIMBISH and VINEVILLE
Green Sheets showing complete/incomplete steps.
- Incomplete steps:
-- Landscaping Plans - but is does show that the County has already reviewed the plans with the Public.
--- Stream Buffer Variances, Permit 14, Mitigations, etc...

-***---Traffic Calming can be requested???

Historical Documentation is Incomplete

Overlook Ave and Linkous House landscaping plans are incomplete

p 9

project description with
Changes in
- Public Controversy
- Historic Sites
- 4 (f)

project location maps

Traffic Data is explained - Why they fudged the 2030 numbers

Vineville Ave will decrease from LOS-C to LOS-D under Build Conditions

Vineville may be widened to 5 Lanes - - NOT in any PLANS
Park Street will be LOS-F under Build or Not

Crash and Injury rates are Higher than statewide average [again] - Need to Check on this

Rationale for Turn Lanes

Review of environmental effects


Land-use Map

review of Roundabouts controversy

any ReDesign would "threaten the ROW Funding" !!! ???

Public involvement in Landscaping meetings

p33 - 52
Historic review shows No Effect on Prado Gates, Overlook gates and several houses.
Discussion of several more houses Hill Road/350520b.pdf

Historic properties - Proposed Improvements
Weaver House
St Francis
Davidson House
Linkous House
Park Street
p19 -Map is not scanned properly

Water Quality - "Minimal Effects"

Air Quality effects

Attachment #2

p37 -49 (end of scan)
MOU for 9 historic properties with FHWA Hill Road/350520c.pdf
Attachment #3
Public Involvement

Stebin Horne to GDOT re Council Resolution opposing design sponsored by Mike Cranford - Feb 2006

MATS Policy Minutes of 4-5-06

p8-40 (end of scan)
Letters to Keepler and his responses

- CAUTION Macon -

Forest Hill Road