042419_MNS_Holy_Spirit_plans_002 old and new Holy Spirit plan/maps

This diagram shows the original and amended master plans Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Holy Spirit Preparatory School created in September and April, respectively, and then filed with the city of Sandy Springs regarding its proposal to develop 13 acres of land next to the school and church.

DEAR EDITOR:

I am writing in response to the two-full-page open letter from the head of Holy Spirit Preparatory School that appeared in your publication (May 8) promoting Holy Spirit’s proposed development plan.

Holy Spirit wants approval to build an extensive development to combine the school’s existing lower school campus located on Long Island Drive near Roswell Road with its upper campus on the Mount Paran Road campus.

I am a stakeholder and a person with “standing” in this matter since my property on Allen Court adjoins the parcel of land intended for further development. I was involved in a similar Holy Spirit development effort from 1998 until 2003 that resulted in a signed agreement and a special-use permit that allowed the present Holy Spirit School development on the site and prohibited the school from adding more buildings on the city of Atlanta property or contiguous property.

The agreement was made with the neighborhood, including myself. The proposed development is incongruous with a neighborhood of single-family homes and threatens the existence of a forest containing many landmark 100-plus-year-old hardwood trees as well as water features, abundant bird and wildlife.

It is disingenuous that Holy Spirit initially denied the existence of an agreement prohibiting such destruction. At stake are vital concerns such as traffic, parking, stormwater runoff, tree canopy removal and overall quality-of-life considerations in a residential, verdant community.

There is precedent in that Mount Vernon Christian Academy/Whitefield Academy recognized the wisdom of relocating from this site to a setting more appropriate for the school’s growth. Similarly, Wesleyan School, which had a small campus on Mount Vernon Road near Sandy Springs Circle years ago relocated to a large campus in Peachtree Corners, where the school has grown and prospered.

Surely there must exist a better location for Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Holy Spirit Preparatory School to combine all their desires for expansion of the school and continued growth of the church while maintaining harmony with the neighborhood.

Don Vellek

Buckhead

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