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    The campaign slogan read, “We are committed to transparency and process.”

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    Thank you for the well stated commentary. I think over all the deal is good for Brookhaven however I would have liked to see the existing park or atleast the allowed acerage stay so that we don’t lose more old growth trees. I understand that the decision was made for several reasons including making sure that the “new” park is complete before the old one is redeveloped.

    If there is one good thing that is coming out of all of the development, executive sessions and such it is that we are gathering together as neighbors, getting to know each other better and becomming the community we want to be so that we can make our voices heard. While it took some painful lessons to get here and we have some big fights ahead of us there is definitely something great in the unification of the neighbors!

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    Hunter Burke

    Mayor Jay: I’ve been your supporter, but you really dropped the ball on this issue and recently on others. You’re not living up to your promises and we don’t need a better looking JMax. By the way, what ever happened to your moratorium on rezonings pending outcome of character areas? Get on track Mayor & Council.

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    Hunter Burke

    Tell that to the person who, presumed safely, just bought a house across from a city park and will now live with massive construction for 3 years and then a loud school with a phalanx of yellow school busses afterwards.

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    Brian Brown

    I have been involved in local issues for many years and understand the concerns regarding the Skyland property. I lived in Sexton Woods close to the new middle school so I understand and commiserate with the concerns expressed about traffic, lights at night and other issues that impact the immediate community. I am a little concerned that there is the appearance of this “deal” was made under the cover of darkness, however, many real estate deals, particularly those involving multiple government entities have to be done this way. Also, most times there is no perfect solution. I applaud the City Council on finding what may not be the perfect solution, but the best solution under the circumstances. It is unfortunate that the appearance, due the the speed of this decision and the lack of public forum make it appear as somehow underhanded. However, I believe in this case, there was no alternative and the best solution (not perfect) was reached by our city officials. Although admittedly not directly impacted, I think the City itself and overall will benefit. We elected the council members and mayor and trusted them to make tough decisions. I think, in this case, they made the best choice available.

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    And you believed those that told you this is how a new city government would operate? Must not have done an in-depth research of the people and their plan.

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    Riley OConnor

    It has been wisely stated that all politics is local. And it doesn’t get much more local than this. Down the road a bit, Dresden Drive near Peachtree is also struggling with several different developments that contain the potential to negatively affect neighborhood property values for years. District 1 just got through with a zoning matter that will surely be back again in the future. You can’t fight market economics, even when the market is just flat out wrong. The Dresden Drive projects will flood our streets with traffic and parked cars as people are drawn to the wonderful new things. So, too, the Skyland Park neighborhood is threatened.

    So, when this project quickly came upon the scene, our neighbors were not given the opportunity to give due consideration to the issues at hand. This seemed to be the first time for many in attendance to speak their minds about something which government has done that affects them. I don’t know who to blame for this one, but it appears that the spirit of transparency ran up against the powerful issues of the real estate market. Unfortunately, money always seems to win, and the greater good of the community seems to be prevailing, for better or worse.

    On the other hand, the neighborhood around Ashford Park School seems to be thriving, and it is not just DeKalb County schools that cause traffic problems. Take a look at the areas around St. Martins School and Marist School at certain hours of the day. (By the way, if you want to see an example of confusing traffic signage, take a look at the speed signs in front of St. Martins). Perhaps in a better world our children would all be walking to school, but that’s not the way to bet. It’s always someone else who should be taking public transit….

    In every election cycle, there are aspiring politicians who solemnly aver that “I’m a businessman and I will bring business principles to government.” Good luck with that. Business is business because there is the profit motive that motivates cost controls. On the other hand, government is government, and bringing the City budget in under cost runs into peoples’ need for better roads, better schools, better parks.

    I am hoping that all will be fine in the long run, but the short timeline of this matter makes the City look bad. I am assuming that there is a lot of back-channel conversation taking place about this and that, in the long run, we will all be better off for it.

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    singing to the choir Hunter, but it’s not going to change unless we band together and fight the next one coming down the street. I was surprised by the change on my street – it didn’t require zoning because Dekalb slipped it in as a parting gift. Now we have to look at the “gifts” and all of the new development on Dresden, Clairmont, New Peachtree and just this morning I hear that Brookhaven Station might be looking at redeveloping in to a High Density Mixed Use Nightmare …. My point is that while whe can’t change what is done we are starting to realize we have a voice when we get together and help each other stay informed, get involved and make a difference.

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    Bill Lowe

    It shall be most interesting to see which students will attend this new school. Which overcrowded schools are to be relieved? There are so many to choose from—and proximity may not be required. As far as the transparency goes…..well, the Brookhaven Innovation Academy could have been here if they had their own financing arranged for. Either way, a school is a school is a school, even in a minefield.

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    The signage in front of St. Martins is confusing because they have different hours on Wednesdays. It definitely could be presented better. The new school will be a good thing for many families. I agree that living near a school is not a definite death sentence for a neighborhood or home. The true issue here should be the city and the underhanded things that seem to be happening inside its closed doors every single day.

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    Man, if the previous mayor did this, people would (rightly) be up in arms over the process. New mayor, now its okay to be completely un-transparent? 3 government entities and there can’t be any disclosure? Give me a break.

    Remember when the city wanted to buy the property, and it was attempted just as quick? People were in a rage!

    Just because we all think a school will be a positive impact doesn’t mean we should be okay. And we shouldn’t just be mad at Brookhaven City Council, same goes for the state and DeKalb BOE.

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    They have said Woodward, Montclair and Dresden.

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    The Brookhaven Post

    Verbatim from a DCSD news release:



    An important step in dealing with overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster

    Today, the DeKalb County Board of Education announced agreements with the City of Brookhaven and the Georgia State Properties Commission to acquire 11.2 acres at Skyland Park for a new elementary school. The total purchase price to the District will be $7.5 million.

    When final agreements are reached, a new 900-seat, $22 million elementary school is scheduled to be built on the site. The Brookhaven City council is scheduled to vote on the agreement at their monthly meeting on May 10, 2016. The State Properties Commission is scheduled to sign the agreement within a week. The District is expected to close on these properties with the State and the City in January 2017.

    “This is a major step in our long-term plan to relieve the serious over-crowding in the Cross Keys Cluster,” said Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green. “The situation in the Cross Keys Cluster where we have more than 110 portable classrooms is intolerable and will not be allowed to continue.”

    “The Board has already implemented a short-term redistricting plan that will provide some relief,” said Dr. Melvin Johnson, Board Chair. “We are committed to providing safe, healthy learning environments for all our students.”

    The new elementary school, which should be completed for the Fall of 2019, will provide relief for several existing elementary schools including Dresden, Montclair, and Woodward.
    The intergovernmental agreement with the City of Brookhaven and the State of Georgia will involve the District:
    • Acquiring the former Skyland Elementary School site from the State of Georgia, which now houses the State Vital Records Office for $2.8 million for 5.3 acres.
    • Transferring 4.17 acres of the acquired state property to the City of Brookhaven.
    • Purchasing the existing Skyland Park of 10.6 acres for $4.7 million from the City of Brookhaven.”

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    I think the real difference there was that the city was going to BUY the building – now they are selling part of a park. Am I concerned that this happened so quickly and behind closed doors, yes. Is it the same as buying it for the BIA, no.

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    Riley OConnor

    The only thing that the sign does not include is “Except in a month with no “R””.

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    Thank you, Jennifer, for your great point, but it is far worse, coming just 15 days before you have a vote on the school sales tax.I wonder what are current city mayor and council will do in October, before we have a vote on the county sales tax.

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    Hunter, you forgot to state that ALL these actions we’re in just FIVE months we still have three years and seven months to go .

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