by: Craig Lucie Updated:
ROSWELL, Ga. - The Fulton County School Board could exercise eminent domain if it can't reach agreement with Roswell neighborhood property owners.
"The Board of Education has not formally voted on the condemnation proceedings; however, members of the board will consider what action to take at the public board meeting on
Aug. 22," said Fulton County school spokeswoman, Susan Hale. "Staff continues to hope that they will be able to reach agreement with the commercial property owners prior to the public meeting."
The school district plans to build a new West Roswell Elementary school near the Charles Place neighborhood on Georgia State Route 9. The construction of the school, which will hold more than 850 students when it opens in 2015, is forcing some residents to move.
"I thought I'd be here as long as I live," said 87-year-old Ruby Parker. "It's awfully disturbing."
Ruby said the thought of not being able to sit on her screen porch made her cry multiple times.
"I love to sit out in my screened porch," she said. "I sit out as much as I can while I have it. It's really upsetting. I've been torn up since they started it."
A Fulton County Schools spokeswoman issued a statement.
"Progress is being made toward acquisition of land needed for a new elementary school planned in the West Roswell area," it read. "The new school is a part of Fulton County School System's Capital Plan that was recently funded by an Education Special Purpose Local Option Sale Tax passed by voters in November 2011. All residential owners have agreed to terms for sale; however, full agreement with all of the commercial property owners has not been reached.
"Staff presented fair market offers to these owners; unfortunately, the counter offers by the commercial owners have been significantly higher, well above the appraised market value. In some cases, counter offers were twice as much as the independent appraisals."