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Westwood Park Resident Asks Alpharetta for Help with Unsightly Mud Hole

Work stopped months ago at Fulton Science Academy's new school site off Maxwell Road and Fanfare Way, next door to this community.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Gomes submitted this letter to Alpharetta City Council prior to its Monday, June 4 meeting. During public comment at the meeting, he was told it was not a time for Q&A, and that the city doesn't own the property. Prospect Park's years of neglect were mentioned, and the homeowner representative said that's just what his community fears as he reiterated his community's concerns.

I am writing to ask you to support the protection of the homeowners of Westwood Park and the overall landscape aesthetics of the city of Alpharetta in regards to a development project off the Georgia 400 corridor also known as the “ Fulton Science Academy” and in doing so, show real vision and leadership for our city.

This used to be a wonderful natural area for wildlife and served as a buffer from the busy Georgia 400 traffic noise. I understand that the land owner sold the land to Fulton Science Academy, which started construction earlier this year and devastated the forest setting and ecosystem in plans to build their new school.  It is my understanding reading in the newspapers that the school failed to get accreditation and also ran into financial troubles and as a result stopped construction on the project indefinitely.

As a result, the property has become an unsightly mud hole and eyesore to all those who live and travel through the area, especially the Westwood Park homeowners. In addition, the rainwater collected on this property breeds mosquitoes and other variety of insects which are a health hazard to our families and Alpharetta citizens at large.

We pay hefty property taxes to the city and county and demand that the City of Alpharetta get involved in determining and disclosing what the future plans are for this parcel. We are very concerned about our property values. At minimum, the city/county should force the land owner to replant trees, grass or look into other suitable options and restore the property.

This is an important issue for our community. Please make the right decision and take action to Preserve, Protect and Enhance our neighborhood. 

Mario Gomes

Westwood Park

Jim Obremski June 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
I support this 100%.....this is an eyesore and I feel OUR council should support us and help lend pressure on the School, which truly is acting irresponsibly. They destroyed our peaceful natural buffer zone, then ran out of money, and left us with a mess and lower property values. WE are paying the price for their poor business decisions. I think the City of Alpharetta should support those of us who elect them when property owners act irresponsibly and further decrease the city's beauty and our property values. Looking the other way tells others they can do as they please....I don't think these are the principals Alpharetta wants to espouse.
Jamie June 06, 2012 at 11:50 AM
As a Westwood park homeowner I purchased my home because of the beautiful natural surroundings. Prior to the desecration of the land directly across from our neighborhood, I had seen many deer, rabbits, birds and coyotes, now I see a huge mud hole and can hear all of the traffic on 400. I do not know why a permit was issued without some assurance that the project would go through and that plans would be followed. The city issued the permits and now says its not our problem. This is a great disappointment and a shirk of its responsibility. It is it's responsibility to maintain the beauty and preservation of the area! I urge the city counsel to rectify this wrong!
Lawrence June 06, 2012 at 12:59 PM
As a resident, I would ask why we never were informed of these plans in the first place, and that we had to find out about this project only after the trees were knocked down. I do not recall ever having seen a sign indicating that the area was going to be destroyed and subsequently abandoned for an ill-fated school... The first time I actually witnessed a public sign for a meeting over the 'proposal' for the school, it was after the trees had been cleared, after the construction of the school was left for dead. This is what gives government a bad name. This is what ruins our government: ill-equipped, malfeasant 'leaders.' The city failed at their duty, and now they need to show that they know it, and that they need to rectify it before the eyes of their fellow citizens.
Lee at rootsinalpharetta.com June 06, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I feel for the residents of this area. At this point there is little the city can do. FSA likely doesn't have the funds to do anything with this property now that the bond is in default and they have lost their charter. I think residents should pose questions to the Alpharetta Development Authority. They were a check and balance in this process because they had to approve the bond issuance last year. Keep in mind though that we have hindsight in our favor. A year ago things didn't look bleak for FSA. Nevertheless the city did approve the bond. It's also worth mentioning that the construction (now mud pit) is not in the GA400 buffer. This parcel has been designated for educational use for a while now, going back to the master plan put together by Cousins. The trees were going to come down eventually.
MarkMunoz June 23, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Members of this "group" that manage the school are known for not getting permission for expansions and other questionable activities. Their attitude is you should be grateful they are here to educate your children and for this you should extend more bond financing for them. At least they didn't end up in a lawsuit with the local construction firm as they did in Texas (JR Johnson Construction vs. Cosmos Foundation dba Harmony Science Academy) Be thankful they didn't rape your money too much. Next they will have to answer to their landlord who they are defaulting on the loan with Wells Fargo Bank. You need to follow this and hope that WFB doesn't re develop this land for housing or something far worse than the mud hole.

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