As a massive multiuse development nears completion in Alpharetta, some residents worry what impact it will have on schools.
Avalon is a $600 million project that includes shops, restaurants, office space and housing. It is one of the largest developments under construction in the country.
Residents said they are worried the 101 new homes and 250 apartments will cause an influx of students into local schools which they say are already fairly full.
"I don't think it's good," said Joy Burns, who sends her children to private school because of overcrowding in the public system. "I think that it's very shortsighted to think it's great growth for our economy to have people moving to our area."
Some point to Alpharetta High School as an example. The school currently has 5,500 apartments zoned to it. Avalon will add to that high number.
"The bigger the schools, obviously the less attention that is available to the children," said Yvonne Crisp, who plans to move her son out of Alpharetta High because of large class sizes.
Alpharetta leaders said they must legally consider several factors, including traffic and the environment, but not the impact on schools.
"Because we can't legally make decisions based on the school impact, it's essential that we have strong quality relationships and open communication with the school system," said James Drinkard, assistant city administrator.
Drinkard noted that Alpharetta has a master plan and has not approved new apartments in two years.
"Schools are a huge factor in Alpharetta and all of North Fulton and we want to protect that," said Drinkard.
Still, residents are concerned about the growth and its impact.
"It's really bad when you look at the downside of our kids not getting a great education, which that's our future."
Calls and emails to the Fulton County school district for comment were not returned.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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