At a community meeting in October on the plan, residents raised the issue of a 2003 agreement. The agreement is a list of conditions that the City of Atlanta attached to its Special Use Authorization, which allowed the construction of the Upper School, then called Donnellan School. But the debate among some 250 residents at the nearly four-hour churchtime meeting showed that any new agreement has a big void to fill, with often emotional arguments playing quality of life against quality of schooling. Several of the dozens of comments were personal anecdotes about the school and neighborhood rather than looking at the proposal`s peculiarities, although new details about disputed tree losses and traffic impacts have emerged. Neil Johnson, a project owner who is also chairman of the school board, said they were trying to negotiate with people „who just don`t want to see anything built.“ Opponents say it`s because the decades-long agreement bans any building. In his presentation, Phillips gave a story about how the deal came out of the old legal hardball. In January 1998, he says, the school — then called Donnellan School — tried to enter the site with an expanded building and parking bridge. After months of discussions with residents, the school withdrew and filed with the city. More than 800 opponents gathered for a meeting and teamed up with Atlanta officials, who ultimately rejected the plan. The school then tried to use a permit from a previous school it had purchased; The city opposed it. Only then did the school return to its neighbors and search for the agreement signed in 2003, five years later.
Pietrantonio also complained of inconvenient activities related to the signs. He said that on the night of Palm Sunday — an important Christian celebration — someone planted a large number of signs in the school fields and on the buses parked there. And recently, he said, some students who were carrying Holy Spirit materials to the Atlanta airport met someone who said they were „sticking to the agreement better.“ „We`re trying to respect the spirit of the agreement,“ Hillman said. She added: „At some point, it becomes unreasonable.“ Holy Spirit`s purely legal response was that Atlanta agents assured them that the agreement would not be an obstacle to expansion into the other city of Sandy Springs and would not interfere with the existing special use authorization for the operation of the school. A spokesman for the Department of Urban Planning did not respond to questions about this discussion. . . .