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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Back off!

I'm happy to report that the eminent-domain oafs who tried to muscle in on a group's plans for a private school, reported on yesterday, have backed off. Note that, though school officials had sent the group a "strongly worded" threatening letter, they now say it was all a "misunderstanding." Cretins.

Here is the followup story (from the same annoying newspaper site that requires registration):

Fulton County school officials have withdrawn their threat to take a 19-acre site from a private school in Sandy Springs.

Fulton Schools had offered the Weber School $18.7 million for the site on Roswell Road on which it wanted to build an elementary school to alleviate crowding.

When Weber officials said they had no desire to sell the site, Fulton indicated in a strongly worded letter that unless Weber agreed by Monday to sell the property, the school board would use eminent domain to obtain it.

On Sunday, during a groundbreaking for a high school they plan to build at the site, Weber school leaders said they would not sell the site and would fight any attempts the board made to take the land.

On Monday, Fulton Schools Superintendent James Wilson told Weber board president Steve Berman in writing and by phone that the district would no longer pursue the Weber property and that he regretted the misunderstanding. "It is in our interest to be a good neighbor," he said.

Fulton school board president Gail Dean said the board had been under the impression that the district was in negotiations with a willing seller.

"Had we known they had no interest in selling, we would not have pursued it," she said.

In the spring, Berman had presented to his board a $17 million offer Fultonhad made on the land in May, according to a letter Berman sent to Wilson. The private Jewish school's board rejected that offer, responding that it would take at least $20 million and an alternative site for Weber to consider Fulton's offer. That would cover architectural fees, site planning and other monies they had already invested, Berman wrote to Wilson.

Dean said Weber School officials had inspected some other sites Fulton school officials had identified that might suit their needs.

"We thought we were in negotiations. Clearly there was some miscommunication," said Dean.

Berman said he was "relieved and thrilled to put this chapter behind us. We now can look forward to building our school and having children on the campus next year at this time." Weber expected to begin renovations this month on the former Lucent Technology building to create a 500-student high school.

Expressions of outrage apaprently poured in from all over the country. Think that had anything to do with the change of heart?