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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Protect Milton Update.


In response to Reporter, Candy Waylock’s article in the Milton Herald from Protect Milton:
This is not about the residents that live in close proximity to the school site as Katie Reeves of the BOE always attempts to portray unsuccessfully.

This site is wrong for our new City in so many ways as stated in the school petition and other letters from Protect Milton. Katie Reeves and the BOE will not succeed at trying to make it a "problem only for those that live near it" situation. This is a CITY problem and the majority of City Council has voiced their belief that the school should be put somewhere else in Milton, as have many of our residents, and only the BOE is not listening. They don’t care. They only chose this site because it was easy and convenient, not based on some long term study they would like to make the community believe was done. Their staff listed the sites below and they picked the easiest one, Freemanville. That is not responsible studying or planning. Richard Wernick willingly offered it to them on a silver platter in the middle of the night!

The other sites looked at are listed below:

1. Hopewell Road - The Trophy Club 120 acres. (Are you willing to believe this was actually a legitimate consideration, taking the Golf Course?) In reality would they take this site?

2. Cogburn Rd./Bethany Rd. - (they claim they didn’t take this site because the developer, David Chatham, got the zoning he desired to build homes, and decided not to take it from him, forgetting the fact that this site is on SEWER, and already has a traffic light, etc.)

3. Bethany Rd./Providence Rd. - 90 + acres, the owner wasn’t willing to sell? And it was too close to MHS? What about the Freemanville site, it’s only another .5 or less miles to MHS, and it isn’t too close enough as well?

4. Hopewell Road – 58 acres which they say was flood plain so they would have had to add adjacent acreage which would have brought the price per acres to $180,000 per acre. This would need to be proven with an appraisal, which Katie Reeves stated in the Summit Hill meeting that all of the properties had an appraisal done on them by the BOE.

Since when is it okay for someone not sell to the BOE given their jurisdiction? When did the BOE become so considerate as not to take land because a developer got his way on rezoning for building new homes? The Freemanville site was going to be residential homes as well, but that didn’t bother them in obtaining it. Go explain that to the families that ended up having to sell their property or the BOE was going to use Eminent Domain to take their homes during the building of the existing Milton High School. They didn’t have to use Eminent Domain as they stated because the threat was real for the families that owned the property if they refused to sell. Are people now allowed to "just say no" to the BOE when it comes to school sites?

What about the 124 acres on Birmingham Hwy currently available at the same price the BOE paid for the Freemanville Site, as well as the 70 acres directly across the street from it for a middle school, right under Chatham’s Blue Valley. They aren’t considering this site and won’t, or the number one site, going back into the Old Milton High School and rebuilding it for the Alpharetta students since once the high school is built in Milton, all the students going to the existing Milton HS will be Alpharetta students and not those from Milton. The City of Milton will pays for the roads, maintenance, Fire and Police for this school, and the students will come from Alpharetta, not Milton.

Katie Reeves stated in the meeting at Summit Hill, claiming around 75% or more students after redistricting would be from Alpharetta primarily in the existing Milton High School. Katie Reeves also stated at this meeting that they couldn’t possibly take the Independent students (450) currently using this underutilized Old High School site because they plan on having 850 Independent students there, mind you, not from this area, they will be busing these students in as they are now. It is more important to underutilize this school for students that aren’t from here then to adaptively reuse this great location and reclaim this historical High School site for a school for Alpharetta and its students.

I am asking the community to get involved now. This site is wrong for our City. This is not about a few residents upset that a school is being built near their homes and the BOE is not going to succeed at making this that kind of issue as they have always done in the past.

Go ask your City Council members how they feel about the placement of this school site. Go ask all of them and the candidates, Alan Tart and Burt Hewitt, running for office now. No one on Council has ever stated they are for this site. They have indicated and expressed that this site is wrong for Milton and the BOE should choose another site more appropriate. This site is too close to MHS, has environmental issues, and will compound the traffic issues already on Freemanville Road, Birmingham Highway, and surrounding roads. The Fulton County EPC already denied Kings Ridge two times the ability to build on this site as posted in the Protect Milton letter in June of 2007 on Access Milton.

They (Fulton County) denied it because it didn’t fit in with the Fulton County 2025 Land Use Plan, traffic issues, and environmental issues. If they denied a land use permit for Kings Ridge due to these reasons, then shouldn’t these same reasons hold water for a much larger High School and now a possible Middle School? Kings Ridge eventually got a use permit for this site due to major concessions they were willing to make to build on it. Obviously they felt it was better to move their location and build the school the way they envisioned it, then to have to sacrifice by making concessions to their site plans based on the problems with this site.

Bottom line, the Freemanville site, was an easy cop out for the BOE, and not surprisingly it is far from the best site choice for our new City. Our petition is growing and we welcome your support and input regarding this school site being moved. Just because the BOE claims the school will be built, doesn’t mean it is so. Don’t be fooled and deterred because the BOE says it is a done deal.

It is not.

Lisa Cauley
Protect Milton Group
ProtectMilton@aol.com or CMschoolpetition@aol.com
Petition link: www.gopetition.com/petitions/new-school-site-opposition.html

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lisa Honey,

Love you madly and appreciate and respect your stand on the Freemanville Site. But just how many more schools etc do you want those of us living on Cogburn Road to have to deal with.

In less than 1.3 miles along Cogburn from the interesection of Bethany Bend towards the other interesection at Cogburn Woods we have:

1)Kings Ridge School (still a work in progress)with lots more development to come (stadiums etc).
2)North Park and all it's light, noise and traffic pollution
3)Various Churches and their associated traffic
4)St Francis School
5)Cogburn Woods School
6)Hopewell Middle School

Then of course there's the Mormon Church that is apparently negotiating with David Chatham to purchase the 9 acres at the corner of Bethany and Cogburn (directly adjacent to my house) Not to mention all the through traffic from around your area and beyond bringing kids to North Park on a daily basis, going to work, trying to reach 400, to Walmart, to Costco, to the Restaurants etc

We treasure our homes on Highway 9 too. People work hard - their homes (lavish or humble)are their sanctity and quiet time - both of which are being eroded in this area. I really don't think we deserve another school.

Let Alpharetta provide schools for its children - there are more than enough schools in Milton to easily accomodate Milton's children.

Just an alternative viewpoint

Niks

Anonymous said...

Exactly Nikki, that's why the number one choice for Protect Milton is for the FCBOE to rebuild the "Old Milton High School" since the need is for Alpharetta Students. If this were not true then they wouldn't have to rezone and redistrict so that the majority of the students that will attend the existing Milton High School are ALPHARETTA STUDENTS.

Again, there is 1 HS for Alpharetta for 65,000 residents, and Milton will have 2 High Schools on the same road (2.5 miles apart) in Milton for 20,000 residents. Where is the logic and rational behind this? It is rational to them because there is available land all over Milton for schools. Milton has twice the land and 1/3 the population of Alpharetta and the only reason they chose the Freemanville site over any other site was because it was an easy cop out. The community can thank Richard Wernick for that atrosity.

We need schools as we grow, but our numbers to not indicate a need for a new high school now, Alpharetta is in need of another school, and they needed one when they built the new Milton HS. They should have built 2 schools then, not just one elaborate one. This is more proof of irresponsible planning by the BOE.

If the old school was overcrowded then how does condemming the old school and building only one new one with the same capacity fix the over capacity problem. It didn't.

They didn't factor in back then Milton becoming a City, and now MHS is in Milton, not Alpharetta.

I don't promote any of their prospective locations. I was pointing out their considerations are weak. The top 2 locations in my mind are the Birmingham 124 acres and additional 65-70 acres across the road. If they build there now, however, the (BOE) will redistrict and rezone and Milton will lose Milton High School to Alpharetta as Katie Reeves pointed out at the Summit Hill meeting in September that over 75% of all the students in the existing MHS will be Alpharetta students only.

If they go back into the Old Milton High School site or build another HS in Alpharetta, the school will be utilized for Alpharetta/Roswell students which is where the need truly is. With this option Milton residents will continue to enjoy having there children attend Milton High School until the need for an additional High School is truly needed in Milton. What is our density now? What does our city plan to do with our density? Keep it the same as it is now. Control growth. So where is the need?

There are 14 schools within 4 - 4.5 miles of the White Columns gated entrance on Freemanville Road. If you add the new Elementary to be built on Wood Rd/Birmingham Hwy. and a middle school and high school, then this will be 17 schools with in a 4.5 mile radius of White Columns.

Looks like to me that Milton is going to be the target area as this area has been for the schools. The BOE needs to be held accountible for choosing locations in Milton for schools in a more responsible manner. Not just basing it on the cheapest and easiet route.

Would you buy a home that way, a car? Or do you look at the big picture? The BOE is not looking at the BIG PICTURE in Milton.

The City of Milton and the DOT are responsible for paying the tab on all the roads and traffic issues that are caused by the placement of these schools. Do you think for one minute they did a traffic study prior and took this into consideration before they picked these school sites. NO. They didn't and won't because they are not held accountible and don't have to.

Schools need to be built, this is a fact. But the BOE needs to be more responsible in Milton for many reasons, traffic issues, our Land Use Plan ( we are AG-1), and the number one fact is that we are on SEPTIC, not sewer, so they can't go plopping down schools like we are a commercial area. They need to be more diligent and responsible when purchasing land out here for schools, bottom line.

We continue to give them money, yet we have no input or say so in the end with what they do with this money. They are untethered. How many people are aware that their budget for the 2007-2008 school year (one year mind you) is to the tune of $890,000,000 (yes that's millions folks.

I hope at the end of the day, what is best for Milton and our residents comes to fruitition. I hope that more residents become involved in holding the BOE responsible in the future with the use of OUR money. They are all on our payroll.

Best Regards!
Lisa

Rhonda Newell said...

Lisa,

Just an fyi for you--Alpharetta does not have just 1 high school for 65,000 people. There are 3 other public high schools in Alpharetta---Northview, Chattahoochee, Centennial and another new high school to be built in the coming years!

Also the old Milton high school was not built 80 years ago to handle the high school population that our new school holds today. If you have ever been in the old and the new you would see the huge difference in both schools. When my son was a freshman at the old Milton, there were 700 kids that had their classes in trailers in the back parking lot that was lovingly called "The Freshman Village".

Anonymous said...

Rhonda-

You are almost correct...but, the City of Alpharetta only has 1 high school inside it's city limits, Alpharetta High School.

Northview and Chattahoochee are both located in John's Creek and Centennial in Roswell.

I do understand your point however about capacity...but everyone needs to keep in mind that this is the Fulton County BOE that we are fighting and that school districts are not restricted by city limits.

We complain that our schools are servicing the children that live in neighboring cities, but it's nearly impossible for them not to.

If it was still in use for traditional students, most of the children living in Milton would be going to Milton High School in Alpharetta...

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

To add on to that a little...it seems to me that the Fulton County BOE is mainly interested in insuring that Alpharetta's students have schools without considering the problems this causes in surrounding municipalities.

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

Rhonda,
Travis is correct.

Who is saying the old Highschool built 80 years ago was meant to handle today's student population?

Two schools should have been built back 2004 instead of just one. The existing MHS didn't fix any overcrowding situation which is evident. I believe the following year MHS needed trailers?

Here are a few quesitons for yourself and the community. If the old high school was hazardous for students due to asbestos as I have been told, in addition to it's over population, then why is it now deemed fit for other students outside of Milton and Alpharetta to use it now?

Was this was a real issue and used as reasoning to build a new school for Alpharetta, and if it did have asbestos contamination, was asbestos abatement done on the school before allowing other students back in to use the school? If not, why not? Anyone have the answer to that question?

How would the rebuilding of the old school be more expensive then aquiring new land in today's market, and building a new school where the existing MHS is now? They already owned the land for the old school site which they acquired over 80 years ago, so do you feel rebuilding it would have been fiscally irresponsible and cost more to rebuild it on that previous site, then building the existing MHS?

Would it have cost them over $80,000,000 to rebuild it on that site?

Would you like for Alpharetta to have their historic school site back and utilize it for their students? Why not? Their student need is the reason the the BOE is building another High School, not Milton's density and student population.

Do you prefer the BOE to fill up the exisiting Milton High School, in our City boundaries, with Alpharetta students (which Katie Reeves said at the Summit Hill meeting in September they will have over 75% Alpharetta students only in MHS), and have the City of Milton fit the bill for the cost of road improvements and traffic issues associated with building a new school on Freemanville Rd. in such close proximity to MHS?

Lisa

Anonymous said...

One more question. Would rebuilding a school for students TODAY on the historic site, be more fiscally responsible and less expensive then acquiring new land to build a new school?

Rhonda Newell said...

I would personally not be against taking down the old Milton high and building another school in its place. One real issue that I know exists is space. Not only to build the buildings but for all of the extra curricular activities that go on at the schools. My son played football and Lacrosse for all 4 years at Milton. When he was at the old school, we used to have to pick up our boys and take them to another location after school just to practice Lacrosse(which as a mom of 4) was very difficult and trying to make everything happen in the afternoons for all 4 boys was a nightmare. The old MHS had no room for all of the activities to take place and it became a real problem for everyone whose children participated in these wonderful activities.

Even at the new site with all of the wonderful space that we have, there are still times when 3 different groups have to use the same fields on any given day--thus a revolving door occurs---band,JV Lacrosse and Varsity Lacrosse all use the same field. We've even had to cancel practices for cross country meets who run through that field on their meets.

So with that said, old Milton is very much landlocked and would have real issues with these extra curricular activities which I believe are truly a huge part of any kids high school experience--not only for today but for what it teaches them in dealing with life in the future.

And yes some people from Alpharetta do attend and will probably always attend Milton high school.Everyone on the south side of Crabapple road and down Mid-Broadwell are Alpha addresses but all go to MHS, as they should. The whole thing is really crazy as all 4 of my children were born in alpharetta but now that we have moved 1 mile down Crabapple Rd and across the street, when I sign them up for sports through the Alpha Rec they are considered non-residents. They know nothing else in their lives except Alpharetta but they are considered no residents because of a 1 mile move???? Crazy isn't it??

Rhonda Newell said...

Oh and one thing I forgot to mention. At the old location, we had somewhere around 20-30 trailers or more on every available slice of grass or concrete they could put one on. We lost 1000 students to Alpharetta high school 1 or 2 years before new Milton was built. We have gone 2 years with no trailers and yes they have had to bring in 2-4 trailers this year. The school was built to house only 2000 students which is a number set by the Ga BOE(I guess). All of the new development in Crabapple and up Birmingham and Freemanville just continue adding daily to our high school population. The only way to stop this is to stop the 4 house per acre developments that these developers are trying to get past our city council in Milton and Alpharetta. If we cut off development right now, maybe MHS could suffice for the next few years???? or maybe not??

Anonymous said...

Houses make babies?

News to me

Rhonda Newell said...

Build and they will come!! haha

Anonymous said...

I think the 3 of us need to get together for lunch...lol

-Travis

Rhonda Newell said...

Are you buying?

sandee callaway said...

There was an article in the Milton Herald written by Candy Waylock entitled "Not in my backyard" which so aptly diagnosed this current debate over the site for next new high school which will service our area.

When it is all boiled down, include the environmental and traffic impact as well as the cost to improve the roads, etc... nobody wants a school that will house potentially 2000 students located in THEIR BACKYARD.

Whether you have a palatial view from your home or a more humble perspective, at the end of this debate, I think we all can conclude that no one wants to view this from their home.

I agree with Rhonda Newell. Though growth is inevitable, we should start to slow it, particularly the 4 homes per acre developments.

We all want our area to stay as pristine and green as it was when we first moved here, but reality says this can only be constrained not prevented.

Unfortunately, because we have allowed unbridled growth to occurred in our area, we have to pay the piper by the continual building of schools to house the children of said developments.

Let's put an end to this by significantly slowing development.
Our newly elected City Council has and should make this a #1 priority.

Anonymous said...

The FACTS about this site support the REAL AND ONLY reasons it needs be moved to a better place for our City and why the residents of our community are involved to try and get it moved. The only reason.

Michelle - Milton Resident

Anonymous said...

This new school site is bad anyway you look at, it in my opinion. I really don't care who lives across the street! We don't need another school - or THREE schools - built right next to each other at this site. We already have that just two miles down the road.

There are many environmental issues with this site. Traffic issues and more. I think this site may have been purchased by the BOE because it was an easy transaction. What exactly was their reasoning for this particular parcel?

Didn't Mr. Wernick also sell another large tract of land to the BOE for Milton High? Doesn't it seem as if he is in the business of purchasing and selling land to the BOE via Katie Reeves? I mean what are the odds of this happening anywhere else? How long did Mr. Wernick own these parcels? Who did he purchase them from originally? What happened to the denial for King's Ridge? Where did Jan Jones stand then? And what about Fulton County? Does anyone know more about any of this?

Perhaps our local paper, the Milton Herald, could do some INVESTIGATIVE journalism for us and dig much deeper for the truth about this school placement.

And, I hope our City Council does the same for the benefit of all of us in Milton.

-Patti Silva

Anonymous said...

Alpharetta allowed unbridled growth and the 4/per acre. Not Milton.

Not sure of any 4/acre residential developments in Milton anywhere. Hwy 9 is Hwy 9 and a result of what Alpharetta did.

Maybe Chatham's development across from Kings Ridge only, but is that Alpharetta or Milton land?

Nonetheless that would be one
4/acre in Milton unless anyone else would like to name a few others, havent' seen them.

Milton is 1 home per acre density.

Michelle - Milton Resident

Anonymous said...

I believe the voters elected candidates for Council that will protect the density and growth by not allowing sewer into Milton.

Anonymous said...

Beware...someone is trying to sneak a sewer into the back entrance of your subdivision!!!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle-

The East side of the HWY 9 Corridor is full of high density developements as well as parts of Crabapple and I actually live in a townhouse community on Cogburn which is high density and on sewer...

But let's get one thing straight, this is NOT a result of anything that Alpharetta did, this is solely the responsibility of FULTON COUNTY...including all the approvals they made in Crabapple...

This area was always outside the city limits of Alpharetta, so they had no control whatsoever...

Mr. Chatham's property across from King's Ridge is in the City of Milton, as shown on the maps available from www.cityofmiltonga.us

Anonymous said...

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

Travis, I meant Fulton County allowed the unbridled growth, not Alpharetta itself. I thought Alpharetta went up Hwy 9 before Milton became a City, what was it prior if it wasn't Alpharetta? (From Winward up to McFarland towards Forsyth off of Hwy 9.) I know it was Fulton for sure. And I do realize a lot of zoning and developments got passed through at the 11th hour before Milton became a City. At least that is what the rumors are. I could check and see exactly what was pased thru the eve before. Sounds like a project!

Michelle

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should do something besides making "beds an babies."

Anonymous said...

I'm so old I can remember Dylan singing.

"Oxford town, Oxford town.........Somebody better go Investigate "

Anonymous said...

Huh? I must be way too young, don'thave a clue what that meant.
Who is this Dylan person?

Anonymous said...

Michelle

WOW! It is pretty scary when people who want their opinion to be taken seriously in this debate over many of the BOE issues don't seem to know that our schools are districted within the county of Fulton and not within a city's limits.

I think most people know that just because one resides in the City of Milton, it does not mean their child is going to attend a school that is located within it's city limits.

Rhonda Newell said...

Yes Michelle, that is what I was saying when I mentioned earlier in this blog that we have more than one high school in Alpharetta. Milton, Northview,Chattahoochee and Centennial all have alpharetta residents in each one of their schools--it is determined by Fulton County not each city!

Anonymous said...

I am just curious...was there as much of a stink made by the residents on Wood Road and Birmingham Highway regarding the placement of the school which is to be built on that site as there has been over the Freemanville site chosen for the new high school?

Hey, I have some close friends that live on Wood. They own a beautiful horse farm. I am going to call them tomorrow and get some feed back.

In the mean time, does anyone know if there was ever a petitioned opposition to Wood Rd/B'ham Elementary site?

Anonymous said...

"Who is Dylan?"

In the "Island" post on the main page, do you know who the guy is Between Dawn Wells and Tina Louise?

Anonymous said...

There's a great documentary on Bob Dylan on Georgia PBS. Look for it and watch it. I was never a fan until I saw the documentary, realized how young Dylan was at the height of his fame and listened to the lyrics of the songs he wrote. They were indicative of the times and helped shape the music movement by mobilizing many teens and young people. Quite a dramatic change coming out of the McCarthy era and the reserved attitudes of the 50's. Anyone looking back on that era can gain a sense of history and significant Americana.

Regarding the "island" picture: the man in the middle of Tina Louise and Dawn Wells is Bob Denver aka Gilligan.

miltonville said...

To the last one who wrote about Bob Dylan:

Who are you? Why is it that not many folks post their names on Access Milton? It would be so nice to get to know other Miltonians via their interests and creative ideas. I'm a huge fan of ALL music and anything creative so I'm curious who else is here in my favorite city....

Also, anyone want to start a photography club here? We've got about 6 of us who want to get something together. If you are interested, please email me at miltonville@gmail.com

-Patti Silva

miltonville said...

Oops, just realized my last post falls under PM Update. Tim, if you can, please post something about a photgraphy club starting here in January 2008. With more details to follow. Thx!
-Patti

Anonymous said...

Patti if you're a music lover check out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLF9iEXnBRo

Paul sings
"Nessun Dorma"

Anonymous said...

First impressions can often be misleading or they can be dead-on.
Time is the only thing that can usually tell which is the accurate perception.

I met someone the other night at a gathering of friends and neighbors whom after a short exchange with, walked away with a decidedly negative impression of.

Whereas this initial meeting probably won't yield a fond friendship in the near future, I want to say to this person now,(and I am sure she will know who she is) THANK YOU!

Fulton County has never given our neck of the woods much consideration except for the treasure chest of tax revenues that could be gleamed from it.

This individual that I met the other night is actually fighting for us and helping make our fight against wrong developement in our area stronger.

To think one could or should divorce one's personal interest from one's community interest is wrong. After thinking of my own interest in connection with the BOE's attempt at building another high school on Freemanville, I have to say, I too have personal as well as a civic interests that I want to protect.

Sometimes when we tend to get offended because we feel we've been "dissed", it is always a good thing to backtrack and make sure our motives are worthy of the energy we expend trying to defend them.

Once again, THANK YOU for taking on the challege of disputing the Fulton County BOE and it's interestingly wrong choice of land for the (potential) site for our next high school.

Besides signing the petition, which is a good place to start this fight, let us all demand answers to the great questions posed by Patti Silva earlier in this blog.

sandee said...

I wanted to sign my name to the last blog, but forgot my darn password!