The power company condemned seven acres of the Atlanta couple’s property along a ridge where the Joneses were planning to erect vacation cabins. Then utility loggers began clear-cutting forest in sight of the couple’s newly built lodge, said their Cartersville attorney, Donald C. Evans Jr.
Georgia Power appraisers said the condemned land, which did not include the lodge, was worth $26,000. But the high-voltage line and the gargantuan steel towers that support it sabotaged the Joneses’ dreams of a pristine wilderness setting and ended their Bartow County business venture, Evans said. When the couple refused to accept a $33,000 court-mediated settlement offer, Georgia Power sued.
On Sept. 16, a Bartow jury awarded the Joneses $1,003,500 – a verdict the county historian says may well be the largest in Bartow’s history – to compensate them for their loss.