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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Milton moves high school project forward.


by Candy Waylock / Appen Newspapers

February 22, 2010 Milton - The Fulton County Board of Education cleared a major hurdle in the construction of the Bethany Bend high school site with the approval of site variances by Milton.

Fulton officials were seeking two variances to "allow minor encroachments into the stream buffers associated with intermittent streams" on the property site. The variances impact about one-tenth of one acre on the 65 acre site.

In a letter to the Milton zoning board, school architect Robert Sussenbach wrote the site design has gone through many versions in its effort to minimize the need for variances.

"The [current] site plan is the last of many attempts by the design team to place all of the building and site elements required by [Fulton's] Educational Specifications for high schools," noted Sussenbach. "Every effort has been made to preserve the streams and buffers and place the buildings in areas already disturbed by previous development."

The site was originally approved for a 187-home subdivision and had gone through the early stages of development before the plan was abandoned two years ago and the property sold to the Fulton County School System. The Bethany Bend high school is on schedule to open in August 2012.

Sussenbach noted the encroachments were partly the result of complying with stipulations handed down by Milton. The city asked the school system to provide access for a potential school entrance off Ga. 9. The school system does not now own the connecting parcel of land. To accommodate this request, architects shifted the stadium to the north, resulting in the running track and retaining wall encroaching on the wetlands by .04 acres.

Sussenbach said the school system has received approval for the encroachment by the Army Corps of Engineers for the wetlands disturbance.

Milton's fire marshal also required an access road around the entire perimeter of the school buildings for fire truck access. This road and accompanying retaining wall will cause encroachment into the 75-foot buffer by 0.03 acres. Fulton Schools also asked for variances to encroach into stream buffers with the placement of a roadway to the athletic field complex. The variance covers .06 acres, for a total variance allowance of .13 acres.

After more than two hours of discussion, including consideration of deferring the vote, the request for variances was approved on a 5-2 vote by the Milton Zoning Board. The members also considered a letter from a community organization urging denial of the request.

In a letter from Protect Milton, chairwoman Lisa Cauley said the Fulton County Board of Education failed to perform "due diligence" before purchasing the site to determine if there would be negative impacts to the environment.

"We are especially concerned about the request to encroach into the stream. This request of the Army Corps of Engineers would allow the FCBOE engineers to destroy the stream bed by piping and filling this intermittent stream," wrote Cauley.

Cauley also headed the opposition to the original site of the high school off Freemanville Road several years ago. The prior site was purchased with the intent to build both a middle school and high school – similar to the Milton High and Northwestern Middle setup – but was determined to be too small for both campuses. Plans are for the middle school to open in 2013, with any excess lands sold off.

High School on Track for 2012

Despite the rampant rumors of the high school's demise or delay, school officials say the new high school is on track for a 2012 completion. Funding woes are plaguing the school system, but the funding for the construction of the Bethany Bend high school is contained within the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

While SPLOST revenues have fallen below projections, construction costs have also declined with the lagging economy. Alpharetta School Board member Katie Reeves noted the Bethany Bend high school site will likely be the last major project completed in the current SPLOST cycle which ends on 2012. For that reason, it is very important the project stays on track.

"Our planners are telling us that Milton High School will be out of room for more portables by 2012," said Reeves. "The only option will be to bring in bulldozers and start carving out more space. It is so important that we work closely with the city of Milton to keep on schedule."

Milton High School is projected to have 2,700 students by 2012 in a school built for 1,950. City officials note they are working closely with the school system to ensure the needs of both the community and the students are being considered.

"The City of Milton and Board Education each have their own set of responsibilities in this process and both are moving forward with those responsibilities," said Lynn Tully, Milton's director of Community Development. "It is a positive partnership that will result in a win for the community."

With the variances approved, the school system will soon be applying for a Land Disturbance Permit which will allow construction to begin in June.

The final issue between the city of Milton and the Fulton School System is to work out a traffic plan that is agreeable to both sides. Patrick Burke, chief operations officer for Fulton Schools, noted the school system cannot legally fund offsite improvements on land it does not own, but is working collaboratively with the city of Milton to come up with solutions for traffic flow.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled that the City of Milton is working with FCBOE to make sure the new high school will be built without delay.

Our elementary schools are too crowded, our middle schools are too crowded and Milton High School is already too crowded. The projected 2,700 students at MHS in 2012 would be an absolute disaster.

Fulton County's role is to build schools where they are needed - and we NEED a new high school in Milton. The City of Milton's role is not to block construction of new schools. It is to make sure the proper infrastructure is in place to accommodate the schools we need.

Traffic congestion on Cogburn Road is a big problem and it will certainly get worse with the construction of another school. With proper planning, traffic is a fixable problem - our City's elected officials and staff need to focus on fixing the traffic problem on Cogburn Road, not delaying construction of the school.

Tim Enloe said...

I appreciate your feed back regarding what will be the 9th public school being built in Milton. Before I continue, I want to stress that I also respect your passion for the students. My assumption is that you are a Mom actively involved in your kids. If
that is the case, I have great respect for you.

I have been dealing the the BOE for over ten years. They actually attempted to kick my mother out of her home for the new Milton High School. Even though streams behind her property blocked them from doing so, they still forced seven families out of their homes for the new school on Freemanville. This is a fact the BOE doesn't want you to know.These people were in tears as they were forced
under the threat of emminent domain to "sign here." Some had lived their for over 40 years.

I have the infamous Katie Reeves on tape stating that in 1996, the county did an evaluation of all the schools and conditions. They have all the money in the world and could have easily purchased land up and down Windward Parkway for schools in order to plan ahead. In 1996 Windward Parkway was cow pastures.

Instead, they sat on their hands. The end result was making others pay for their lack of planning, preparation, and foresight.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the BOE's responsibility to make sure our children practice foresight and planning for a positive future? Too bad the BOE
doesn't practice what they preach.

Their justification was the the old MHS was in horrible condition and not fit for students. I find this humorous as I attended that location during my entire HS career. It was common place to witness buildings being knocked down, the smell of fume filled paint covering the halls,
and the sound of drills everywhere.

They also claimed the new school was needed to address overcrowding. Well, right as they opened up on Freemanville, the old location suddenly became fit for students again even though no repairs were done. Keep in mind that the new student body who would be attending the old facility were young pregnant mothers and problem students.
Reminds me of the used book scenario from the 50's & 60's. While not a fan of Jessie Jackson, this bias is perfect for him.

Finally, they stated that the new requirements for high schools was that they needed to sit on 70 acres and the old campus sat on only 40 plus.

Well, as I am sure you are aware, the property on Bethany & Cogburn is 60 acres. However, due to various issues, the foot print of
the school & facilities will only be in the 40 plus range - the same amount of area that the old MHS harbors which current has only 350 kids. Ever heard of knock down and rebuild? This approach happens often in Cherokee county with good results.

Did you also know that when this HS opens, the attendance zones will shift with the majority of MHS students being from outside of Milton?

Did you know that Alpharetta, which has three times the population of Milton, will have the same amount of schools that Milton does?

Are you aware that the BOE pays no taxes to the cities in which they are located? ZERO. They do not pay for road improvements,fire, police, traffic, or infrastructure issues - Con't

Tim Enloe said...

The noise that we hear on Bethany from the new MHS is obnoxious as hell. It is so loud you can hear what they are saying inside our homes. During the battle of the bands, our windows vibrate much like they do from a thunder storm. When we asked them to tone it down, Principal Ron Tesch's response was "We don't want to be known as the marching mimes." Basically saying, up yours, we will do what we want.

Speeding on Bethany has increased ten fold with students going up to 90mph. The BOE refuses to address the issue even though they
created the problem.

With the BOE being the largest land owner in Milton and paying not taxes, it is a major stab in Milton's financial success.

Also, keep in mind that we have very little retail which is typically where cities get the most of their revenue. This is a huge issue regarding Milton's fragile state.

Finally, do not trust Katie Reeves. The woman is a socialist and liar. The reason you are witnessing meetings regarding the new HS is to placate you and nothing more. They already know what they are doing and they view what you are telling them as side noise.

I believe that in a free society; we all answer to the other. When you have a group that doesn't follow this rule of thumb, the repercussions can be severe.

Many others used to tell me I was wrong about Reeves and the BOE, but you would be amazed at how many people have come to
me since and said "You were right."

Bottom line. Be careful and don't trust what they say.

All the best to you and your family.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

I wonder when Ms. Reeves is going to have enough of your bs and file suit against you for slander or liable? Have you not heard of attracting flies with honey instead of vinegar? You come across so bitter and angry, no wonder you get nowhere. Perhaps if you used you energy in a positive manner, you would be happier. If not, you'll turn out like ob, a bitter looser.

Anonymous said...

Last poster-are you a looser as you call Tim or are you a LOSER?

Anonymous said...

Tim, the last poster, and OB need to just get laid!

Anonymous said...

Tim, can we get spell check on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Tim,
Why did you describe Katie Reeves as a socialist?

Tim Enloe said...

Look at Reeve's BOE record and then apply it to the definition of the term "socialist." There in lies your answer, my friend.

Re honey comment. We tried that initially and got no where.

Re claims of supposed defamation and slander. I recommend you under each before claiming such.

I have done many positive things for Milton including donating equipment to the fire and police departments,volunteered for both the Birmingham Park Clean up and was a round up volunteer,adopted a road, created the first Milton People's Forum, a founding member of the Milton Business Alliance,created the "feed a cop" program, created the Crabapple Farmer's Market, am a member of CPAC, and didn't sue the city for stealing a logo I created. Tell me, what have you done?

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

I understand your history with the FCBOE, but your knee-jerk reaction against any new school in Milton is just plain wrong. New schools are needed in Milton because of the tremendous growth in Milton’s student population over the past decade.

Families move to Milton because it has an abundant supply of newly built 4-5 bedroom homes with big, family-friendly backyards, and because Milton’s schools are among the best in the state - and are trending up.

In contrast, much of the housing stock in Alpharetta was built in the 1980s and the first generation of kids raised in those homes have long since graduated. Alpharetta also has a more diversified mix of housing – including condos, townhomes and apartments - that do not attract as many families with school-aged kids. You cannot simply compare total populations to determine how many classrooms we need – you have to look at student populations, now and going forward.

The best indicator of Milton’s future high school enrollment is our elementary school population – and our elementary schools are “bursting at the seams” with students from Milton. More than 2,500 elementary school students attend Cogburn Woods, Summit Hill and Birmingham Falls and, with the exception of a few small subdivisions in Alpharetta, all of those students live in Milton. In addition, hundreds of elementary school students from Milton attend Crabapple Crossing and, even after last year’s redistricting, many elementary students from Milton still attend Manning Oaks in Alpharetta.

Finally, a significant number of high school students from the east side of Milton (including residents of the 600+ single family homes in Avensong) do not go to high school in Milton – they now attend Alpharetta High School. Presumably, these students will attend the new high school in Milton with other Milton residents – which will help unite and benefit the entire City of Milton.

I am not a big fan of the FCBOE in many respects, but Milton's residents and officials have no choice but to work with the FCBOE to ensure that the needs of Milton’s many students are met.

Tim Enloe said...

I agree with many of your points and respect your knowledge in this area. However, I think what you are forgetting is that I am not saying another HS is not need in our area. What I am saying is the same HS can be built at the old MHS location. Knock down and rebuild. Happens all the time in America. Keep in mind that the Bethany parcel is one of the last parcels in Milton that is currently approved for sewer. With the FCBOE invading again, we have lost an incredible amount of tax revenue which therefore hinders our police and fire depts coverage and success greatly. Finally, when this school does open, we will have two hs in Milton as opposed to Alpharetta having one even though they have three times the population. This is trouble brewing...trust me.

All the best -

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

It does seem unfair that Alpharetta will have only one high school - while Milton, Roswell and Johns Creek will each have two. But, if you consider how much Alpharetta’s commercial base contributes in county taxes (which fund our school budgets) and SPLOST revenues (which fund school construction) Alpharetta is contributing much more than its “fair” share. Viewed in this context, Milton is getting a pretty good deal.

Ten years from now, I am sure Milton residents will be very happy and proud that these two high schools--which are likely to be the best in the state--were built in the City of Milton.

Anonymous said...

Im w / tim - if this keeps up miltn wont exist in 10 yrs

Anonymous said...

Milton wasn't here ten years ago!

Anonymous said...

The schools in milton that are built because of the multitude of students from Alpharetta and Roswell, are sittting on land, in our city, and we are not collecting taxes on those properties, hundreds of acres. Hundreds of acres which homes could be built on or rezoned commercial to create revenue for our city. Anyone who live actually in MILTON would want our schools to either contain majorily Milton children, or put the dawg gone schools closer to where the children are coming from. The statement that Alphretta pays more taxes then Milton, and that we should not be resisitent to schools being built here is ludicrous. Is it okay for Alpharetta to save their land in their city for commercial or residential, which creates revenue for their city, and to use Milton as the red headed step child for schools, because they can, and they intimidate our Council and BZA board, to never challenge or just say no! Milton is co-dependent!

Anonymous said...

The overwhelming majority of students attending Milton's 7 public schools live in Milton, not Alpharetta.

The only "red-headed step children" are the students who live on the east side of Milton who attend Alpharetta HS because there is no room for them at Milton HS.

The new high school will allow these students to attend school in Milton with other Milton residents.

Tim Enloe said...

I think you are wrong on that. Even the infamous Katie Reeves has stated that there will be a redistricting when the new HS opens with the majority of Milton High students living outside of the city limits.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Redistricting will be a movement of students from from west to east. I.E. students living in Roswell will be attending that cost overrun Taj Mahal the BOE built in Crabapple. Get real; municipal boundaries have no effect on attendance zones.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Milton residents will probably make up less than 50% of a redistricted Milton HS.

I suspect that the Milton residents who live west of 400 and north of Windward will be rezoned from Alpharetta to the new high school. Students from east and north Milton will probably also be moved from Milton HS to the new school - which will create space at Milton HS for more students from Alpharetta and Roswell. If this happens, the new high school will be made up of almost all Milton residents.

This is just a guess but it is consistent with what Katie Reeves has been saying and what FCBOE has done in the past (in the elementary school redistricting.)