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Board balks at land grant request
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County's government may have to negotiate with its school system for property to widen Castleberry Road.

The Board of Education voted 5-0 on Thursday night against donating 0.70 acres of right of way and 0.51 acres of permanent construction easement to the county.

The property is near Whitlow Elementary School, which is under construction southwest of Cumming and expected to open in fall 2009.

Robert Sewell, chief facilities and operations officer for the school district, said the property, valued at $278,448, would be used as part of the county's road-widening project.

"They are asking it be donated to them, grant the right of way and donate without purchase," Sewell said.

Citing the county's funding plan for the current 1-cent sales tax collection, board member Tom Cleveland said it was "only to purchase right of way down Castleberry for this extension -- not to actually build the road."

Cleveland said the state Department of Transportation has slated the road-building project for 2010, but that construction likely won't begin for a few years after that.

"A delay in this I don't think is going to cause any problems," he said.

Board members also discussed the project's contentious nature.

"There are still a lot of homeowners that are going to be displaced," Cleveland said. "It's going to take out some homes up and down Castleberry to do this."

The board did, however, unanimously approve a motion to donate an $8,000 utility easement at Old Atlanta and Nichols roads in south Forsyth for a traffic light at Lambert High School, which is also set to open next fall.

Sewell said the county's engineering department would be responsible for maintaining the light.