In a two-day period (Dec. 6-7) the Buckhead Reporter received more than 40 letters – letters to the editor and copies of letters sent to members of the Atlanta Board of Education and the Atlanta School System—all in opposition to the possible selection of The Paces Apartments site on East Andrews Drive as the location for the new North Atlanta High School.
Here are the letters. Some of them have been edited for length.
I live within a mile of the Paces Apartments and traffic is horrible now. I have worked at One Buckhead Plaza and Two Buckhead Plaza for the last 15 years and I see how the traffic pattern has changed over those years…I can’t imagine a high school in Buckhead Village with all the students who are allowed to drive, with all the teachers driving to school and school personnel. Thanks for your consideration and find another location more suitable.
Anyone actually living in Buckhead that travels down West Paces Ferry Road or Roswell Road would immediately tell you that the placement of a high school will take an already impossible traffic congestion situation and turn it into intolerable. However, this is only one of the reasons the choice for the new high school at East Andrews and Roswell Road is a huge mistake.
Among many other reasons the board should not choose East Andrews for the new high school site is the devastation this development will do to the tree canopy and the streams that exist currently on this property. The pollution haze stops at this border and does not enter into Tuxedo Park because the trees keep the air cleaner. It is visible from any hi-rise condo or apartment. If you remove this buffer of trees, you will allow the pollution to enter into Tuxedo Park and this would be an outrage to child and adult as well living in this area. Further, the trees are what make Buckhead beautiful. To clear cut this huge area is to go against everything Tuxedo Park and Buckhead stands for.
To use the power of imminent domain to avoid any public recourse is a poor strategy during a time that Buckhead residents pay over 40 percent of the school tax income. Tthis should be a time when our education department and our communities work together for the greater good for all.
Dr. Jeri Breiner
I am against The Paces Apartments as the site for the new Buckhead high school. I think the IBM property on Northside Parkway would be a much better choice.
I have lived in the area for nearly 30 years. The traffic has and continues to grow at an uncontrollable pace. I’m strongly opposed to having a new High School built at the Paces location. The IBM site and also the old Home Depot site would provide lots of room for expansion and not cause an economic and a traffic disruption to the Buckhead Community! Also, the residents in the area would be severely impacted by noise, traffic, etc. If the city of Atlanta wants to build a state-of-the-art $100,000,000 school do it where it makes economic sense for the long term. The Paces is not the place!
Please carefully consider the location of the proposed new high school. The IBM location on Northside Parkway would be a far better choice in many opinions. Traffic, existing businesses, environmental considerations would be a big drawback for the Pace Apartment site whereas these problems would be minimal on Northside Parkway. Of great concern to everyone is the close proximity to business establishments which cater to college students and young adults at the Buckhead Village site.
This is a decision which can have a major impact on the success of our new high school
Carole and Gary Weaks
Buckhead traffic is already a nightmare. Do not vote for the school at Andrews and Roswell. My group will do everything in our power to see that you will never be re-elected to any post in Atlanta, not even dog catcher.
Listen to your constituents. That is your job, not to make independent judgments about what’s best for us.
David S Golden
I am a homeowner on Karland Drive and strongly oppose the proposed location of Paces Apartments for the new high school location. We do not need the excess traffic on surrounding streets and already busy intersections. We do not want to hear the band practice. Placing a school there would hurt the neighboring businesses. There are too many bars close by. Please, I beg you, to consider the IBM Campus or the old Home Depot at Sidney Marcus Blvd. These would be much more suitable locations for a new high school. Thank you for taking my words into consideration.
A worried homeowner and taxpayer,
I am writing about the proposed locations for the new public high school in Buckhead. I live on W. Paces Ferry Road and my children attend Morris Brandon Elementary School. I understand that the leading prospective location for the new high school is The Paces Apartments on E. Andrews Drive. I am pleading with you to reconsider this location for several reasons.
The leading three reasons not to use this location are traffic, traffic, and more traffic. Living on W. Paces, I have firsthand knowledge of the area’s traffic issues. It is a sad thing to witness how one of our city’s great streets has become a virtual parking lot. Constructing a high school on E. Andrews between Roswell Road and W. Paces will turn the already unmanageable traffic problem into a living nightmare.
The next reason not to use this location is because it is surrounded by liquor licensed restaurants, bars, and a porn shop. Is this really an appropriate environment for developing and impressionable15-18 year old young adults? I am asking APS to please consider the more logical locations on Sidney Marcus Boulevard (Home Depot site) or Northside Parkway (IBM building). These locations make so much more sense logistically, financially, and otherwise.
As a long time resident of Buckhead, I am begging you not to put the new school at the site of The Paces Apartments. The traffic surrounding the area is a disaster and has been for years. There are no fast moving multi-lane streets around the site (Roswell Road is already a nightmare as is Peachtree) and the surface streets simply would not be able to handle the traffic. There are much better choices that would not cause turmoil to the constituents. The old Home Depot site seems to me to make the most sense. The surrounding businesses would welcome the extra business and the surrounding infrastructure would be able to handle the increase in traffic.
Please make sure the school buses arrive on time. Don’t put more traffic on West Paces Ferry.
I am writing to express my opposition to the construction of the new North Atlanta school at corner of West Paces Ferry Road. The City Council rejected a proposal just 3 years ago to allow the small private school of Pace Academy to build an athletic field because of the possibility of increased traffic on the already congested West Paces Ferry Road. It is inconceivable to me that this would now be considered a viable location given the opposition to the prior small project.
The North Atlanta school is significantly bigger and would bring in volumes of cars and buses onto West Paces in the morning, afternoon and early evening hours when the road is already congested. This is a two lane road that already suffers serious traffic concerns and flooding on rainy days. Adding more volume to the peak hours of the day would have a significant negative impact on the surrounding environment.
I strongly encourage you to consider the location on U.S. 41 near IBM where there is a 4 lane road that is better able to handle increased volume. In addition, there appears to be more space in an area that would not be negatively impacted by a project of this size.
Please note this confirms my opposition to the new high school being located in the heart of Buckhead. The two other site locations make much more sense for a high school.
I am a resident of the City of Atlanta and pay substantial property taxes on my properties at 171 Blackland Road, 161 Blackland Road and 163 Blackland Road, all Atlanta, GA 30342. I strongly oppose the selection of The Paces Apartments for the site of the proposed new high school.
Traffic near the intersection of E. Andrews and Roswell Road / E. Andrews and West Paces Ferry Road is already horrendous. Clearly, placing a new high school in the small distance between these two intersections would create a true traffic nightmare.
Furthermore, the additional congestion would make it difficult to patronize the shops in this area. These shops are one of a kind and cater specifically to the Buckhead residents. They give the area much of its charm and character. It is already difficult to find parking for shops like Boxwoods and Souper Jenny, two of my personal favorites. These are small businesses and the city should work to support them, not make it even more difficult to succeed in the current economic climate.
Finally, I understand that if the city moves forward with this site, there will likely be lawsuits. We could then have work stoppages adding to the blight that is the troubled Streets of Buckhead site.
Buckhead forms the majority of the city’s tax base and is underserved relative to its contribution. Please do not do further disservice to this important community by disrupting and ultimately destroying an import hub of Buckhead Village life at East Andrews.
Mary Michael (Molly) Minnear
The two other sites, i.e. Home Depot and IBM, sound so superior that it is a no brainer. There has to be some underlying reason such as political or personal to want the “Buckhead” area. It is almost ludicrous. And why is a new high school needed in this general area? This has been so hush hush. No one has known about it.
Mary Ann HArt
Please be advised that I oppose The Paces Apartments in Buckhead for the site of a new high school. I prefer the old Home Depot site.
I challenge anyone who thinks The Paces Apartment site is fit for a school to spend some time in the area when school would be starting/ending, etc. For one the traffic in the area is insane without any additional draws. Secondly, and the most important, that is one of the most thriving bar districts in Buckhead.Not exactly where I would like my sons wandering around after school.
Justin P. Jones
I am opposed to the proposed location at The Paces Apartments. I can’t believe we would want to increase the current problems we face in this area.
Dave Wolf Jr
As a parent of two children in the APS district and a resident of Buckhead, I highly oppose the consideration of a high school in the Buckhead Village. The traffic congestion is already an issue with existing businesses and residents that travel the Roswell Rd.-West Paces corridor. It is critical that a high school site be chosen as soon as possible and I support the expansion but ask that the board strongly consider other options, ie. the IBM property which has also been mentioned as a possible site.
Tammy S. Driggers
My husband and I are very much opposed to building a high school in the heart of Buckhead. We live on Slaton Drive, an extension of East Andrews, and the traffic is already atrocious. We also think a school would be out of place where there are bars so readily accessible. We really can’t think of any reasons to put it on East Andrews. In our opinion, it should be built at the IBM site.
Joan and Dr. Dave Davis
We would like to emphatically object to The Paces Apartments site on E. Andrews Drive for the proposed Buckhead High School.
This choice of location is replete with all kinds of problems:
1) Locating a high school here would clearly cause more severe traffic congestion to this already crowded part of Buckhead. The roads going in and out of this location are not suitable to carry traffic needs of a high school.
2) The businesses in this area will certainly face serious negative impacts both discouraging their current customer base from frequenting their establishments and inviting eventual loss of business and tax revenues to the city. This comes at a time when the city can least afford it and invites many potential unnecessary lawsuits.
3) Home values in the surrounding neighborhoods will surely drop due to noise and congestion affecting sales in an already depressed residential market.
4) Access for students to nearby businesses, restaurants, and hotels that have the highest concentration of liquor licenses in Buckhead, would be an inexcusably poor choice for any high school.
5) A campus location that will be unnecessarily challenging for staff to provide adequate supervision for students.
The other two choices under consideration, the ex-IBM and Home Depot locations, would be obvious superior alternatives to the Paces Apartment location and would not incur the problems outlined above.
It is ludicrous to believe that our elected school board member, Ms. Nancy Meister, has not heard a significant number of complaints. Therefore, we would like to formally and publically lodge an objection to the proposed Paces Apartment site on E. Andrews.
Mr. & Mrs. Russell E. Butner
As a Buckhead resident I strongly oppose allowing a school to be built at the site of the Paces Apartments/Condos. The traffic congestion would be unmanageable. Plus there are businesses in that area that should not be adjacent to a school, especially a high school. Please consider the other alternatives. Thank you.
It has come to my attention that Ms. (Nancy) Meister has not received much opposition to the proposed new high school at the Paces apartments on Roswell Rd. Please let this letter serve as another citizen opposition. My last letters went to Ms. Beverly Hall and given she is resigning after the many issues involving APS, I’m sure she has not passed on concerns.
I am in favor of keeping our schools competitive and much work is needed. I can’t think of many great cities where the high school is in the middle of the social scene and retail district of a major destination. Atlanta has invested dearly in the hotels, condo’s, restaurants, shopping , etc to grow our image and improve our economy. With many better destinations (such as the IBM facility off of Northside), I’m surprised that we would choose the most expensive per acre real estate in a not so suitable area for a high school. Please help me understand given our budget issues, how we would choose the most expensive and least suitable area.
Again, I strongly oppose the proposal for building a school on the property belonging to the Paces Apartments.
Please, please, please do not vote to build a new high school at The Paces location. Buckhead traffic is already a nightmare. The IBM or the old Home Depot sites are far superior choices. Please think smart and chose one of these locations for the school.
Surely there is political chicanery in this location choice.
I think the IBM campus would be quite good. It gives the school room to grow and is not jamming up heavy traffic which occurs in the Buckhead Village.
Please state the reasons this Buckhead Village selection makes any sense.
I would like you to know that I oppose the new high school in Buckhead Village. I think that this location is a horrible idea. The traffic along West Paces Ferry and near Peachtree is already extremely difficult to navigate at many different times of the day, not just the school hours. This would exacerbate that traffic exponentially. The streams that could be affected could impact the Buckhead area greatly. One creek that runs near my property has already increased the frequency of flooding enormously in the 10 years we have lived her, because there has been so much construction, and “black-topping” of the Buckhead area. We literally get soap suds bubbling up in our yard with the heavy rains and the Buckhead run off. Please change the focus to exploring the other two, much more worthy locations.
Have you people lost your minds?
I live around the corner from the site (Paces on Andrews) and I will tell you from very first hand experience this is NO place to put a high school!! It is actually so outrageous I really thought it was just a bad joke when I first heard the idea. With all the Booze, Boobs, Street Babes & Bars within walking distance of this site how could anyone consider adding a school full of impressionable teenagers?
APS deserves to lose its accreditation with this example of leadership over our public schools. This site should have never even been considered…….there is no upside benefit…….what were you thinking?
I am vehemently opposed to building the new high school in the heart of Buckhead Village. I know of no one professionally or personally who supports this idea of the school being built on the property of The Paces Apartments Following are some but not all logical reasons:
* overwhelming densification of the neighborhood
* intolerable traffic congestion
* green issue with the removal of mature trees and foliation on a site which should remain residential
* student access to nearby businesses which sell alcoholic beverages
* less containment of student population creating a safety issue for students
* overall change of the Buckhead Village charm
* intrusion on residential home owners whose intrinsic right to peace and quiet enjoyment would be denied
There are many more appropriate alternate sites which would optimally accommodate the new school. Please rethink this plan in the interest of the students as well as Buckhead Village and all that the Village defines.
As a resident of Valley Road since 2004, I can truly appreciate the opposition of the proposed Buckhead site for a new school. Please consider this email as an endorsement to locate elsewhere such as the old IBM site.
As one who has lived at the Paces Apartments on E. Andrews Drive, I know what a bad choice that property would be for a high school.
Really? Do you want to build a 20 foot fence around a school with a guarded gate? That’s what it would take to keep kids on the property. Do you want to completely sink the development of Buckhead? All those hotels and shops on Peachtree in the heart of Buckhead that were halted by the economy will remain holes in the ground if you build a public high school a block away. It will completely change the atmosphere of the area.
The best location would be the I.B.M. property on Northside Parkway. That site is a park like setting, on a major artery, with close access to I-75, it is near other excellent schools, and a huge church. It is a perfect setting for a serious school. With this property on the shopping list, I can’t imagine why you would consider the E. Andrews Drive location.
I wouldn’t consider the old Home Depot a wholesome site either….too close to shopping and a transitional neighborhood. I wouldn’t send my child there.
Barbara P. Harkey
I have a child at Warren T. Jackson and intend to keep him in the Atlanta School System. I am opposed to the proposed location of The Paces Apartment site for our high school. I currently reside on Knollwood Drive on the corner of Habersham Road, so my backyard runs down Habersham Road.. We have lived at this address for almost six years. There is high volume, speeding traffic and reckless driving that occurs on Habersham Road. In the six years we have lived here we have had five accidents right outside our house. The road curves, and if you are speeding it is dangerous. Two of these accidents were so horrible that they caused injuries and totaled cars.
Also, in the afternoons the southbound traffic on Habersham Road backs up from the light at West Paces Ferry past Knollwood Dr., blocking my driveway on Habersham.
The addition of the High School site in Buckhead Village will make this already bad traffic situation worse.
My opinion is that the IBM site is a much better choice for multiple reasons, but mostly as a safer place to learn for our children.
This email is to voice my strong opposition to the proposed Buckhead Village site (site of the current Paces Apartments on Andrews Ave.) for a new state-of-the-art high school. While I am certainly not opposed to improvements in the city of Atlanta educational system, this site is inappropriate for the following reasons:
? Rush-hour traffic at the intersections of West paces ferry Roswell road and Peachtree Road is already nightmarish, and the excess traffic will spill over to Mt. Paran, Habersham, West Wesley,and Peachtree Battle.
? The highest concentration of liquor licensed establishments in Buckhead is in close proximity to the site, and there are approximately 150 businesses and a residential area that will be negatively impacted. The St. Regis hotel is across the street and could be hurt badly.
? There are two streams that run through the property and it could take up to a year and a half to get environmental approval to disturb them.
? There will probably be lawsuits filed by those negatively affected as well as by the owner, who has a contract of sale pending to other buyers, and the litigation could go on for years.
The proposed site should be immediately withdrawn from consideration. I am certainly not alone in my opposition and the collective opposing voice must not be ignored.
Mark H. DuPuis, MD
As an 18 year resident of the Northside Dr/Blackland Rd/Habersham Rd neighborhoods, I am expressing my strong opposition to The Paces Apartments location for the proposed new high school. Traffic from the Buckhead village, new development on Roswell Rd, and recent expansion of the Buckhead Loop has already stressed some of our neighborhood streets to the breaking point. Obviously, alternatives such as the Old Home Depot or IBM on Hwy 41 are better choices.
I’m writing this to let all of you know my extreme opposition to the potential school location site surrounded by Roswell Rd., East Andrews and W. Paces Ferry. I live directly across the street from this site. When I initially heard of the idea I thought it was some type of joke. Of all the locations why would anyone want it there? The traffic is horrendous as is.
What do you think it would be like after a school is there. Please don’t ruin my neighborhood.
I’m against building a new high school in the Buckhead Village area off of Roswell Road. It doesn’t make any sense to put a school in this area. I hope you will take this in consideration when looking at this project.
This letter is to state my opposition to the proposed site for this new school at The Paces Apartments site. This site is adjacent to the central Buckhead entertainment zone, which is filled with bars, porn shops, “Lingere Shops”, and adult entertainment stores. To put a high school in this type of environment is totally contrary to the future business development in this area. It will fill the local bars with high school kids. It will destroy the culture of Buckhead Village, which would be choked by traffic.
The other two sites under consideration for the school is the IBM property on Northside Drive or the old Home Depot site on Sidney Marcus. Each of these locations represent a much better choice. There would be much less impact on traffic in these other locations, Neighborhoods would not be choked out, and our children would not be exposed to nearby bars and adult entertainment ventures.
W. Kevin Thomas, M.D.
The site for the new high school at E. Andrews, Roswell Rd. and Paces Ferry is totally unacceptable. I’m aBuckhead resident and travel that area often. Why the board would even consider a site that would face huge neighborhood opposition, travel congestion and environmental problems is beyond me. The ideal site would be on Northside Parkway. There would be acceptable traffic conditions, room to grow, and it would not disturb the neighborhood. Can the School Board afford a long legal suit?
Anne Eldridge The proposal to move the high school to Buckhead Village is an outrage. Just a few years ago, the Atlanta City Council would not approve the expansion of the fields of the small Pace Academy for fear that Pace would institute a football program which would create additional traffic on Fridays. Now you are poised to approve the construction of an entirely new school which will bring not only Friday night traffic, but daily morning, afternoon and evening traffic to an already congested West Paces Ferry Road. This road is already overburdened with traffic that flows both directions to the various office buildings of Buckhead.
Please eliminate this location as a possibility and reconsider the location off 41 near the IBM properties.
Meg and Steve Heyer
This is the stupidest idea ever conceived. Even someone with a 6th grade education can see all of the drawbacks. I am vehemently opposed to this and I hope you “hear” me. Send me your phone numbers and I will call to make sure.
What’s next, a school shoehorned between runways at Hartsfield airport? Use your common sense, the roads will never be able to handle the traffic, there are far better sites near major thoroughfares and not in the middle of a commercial zone where a lot of people make the money that pays the taxes to fund such projects.
You are simply encouraging people to move out of Buckhead. I am from Detroit originally and this type of short sighted, inconsiderate attitude left Detroit a slum- the taxpayers moved out of the city. You may win the battle but you won’t win the war with this strategy.
Again, look at that site and see for yourself how difficult it will be for the students to access it , if you don’t care about the local people who will be impacted. Then go look at the old Home Depot site or the IBM site. Be honest with yourselves and forget your other agendas, no one in their right mind would put a high school at that location if they had other choices.
I take it none of you will have to go to work at that location- too bad, because you would be late every day getting to work and getting home.
Again, use some common sense,
We are most concerned about a proposed high school being built where The Paces Apartments are presently located. We hope the APS board will find another site more suitable. A high school in the Paces location would have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood and on the city of Atlanta.
A high school there would increase traffic in the already severely congested streets nearby.
It would involve destruction of old growth hardwood trees.
The city would be deprived of property taxes for this large parcel of land.
The noise pollution of a stadium would have negative effect on the residents near the school.
Any extra building there would increase water runoff into the Grant Estates neighborhood that already has problems with flooding. There are two or three streams on that parcel which drain into the Wolf Creek system. One of these is channeled through a 36 inch storm water pipe which is already overwhelmed by heavy rain.
Carmen and GeneTalley
Location, Location, Location. It is irresponsible to even consider The Paces Apartments as a location for a new high school.
Alcohol is consumed within a block of this site seven days a week, how can a public school board justify spending public tax dollars for this location to educate our children and make them productive citizens of our future?
Physically, the site is not large enough and unable to support the buildings required for a new high school much less the auxiliary facilities for sports and athletic fields, appropriate green space and parking that is required for a high school of the 21st century that delivers full circle learning opportunities to our children.
The site is physically impaired with two streams and challenged with a rolling topography and boundary that will force significant engineering costs and the loss of additional land (which site is insufficient is size to begin with.)
How can the APS cost justify land in the heart of the commercial district of Buckhead for a school which will pull significant tax revenue from Fulton County and the city of Atlanta and, at the end of the day, be a physcially inadequate site for its intended purpose?
Location, location, location – it’s not here!
Anne Joyner Sheehan