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Owner of historic cemetery wants to build home on it, neighbors outraged

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SANDY SPRINGS, GA (CBS46) -

CBS Atlanta News questioned the owner of a historic Sandy Springs cemetery that would like to build a home on the property. Neighbors living near the historic site said they are outraged.

"It was meant to be left like this," Neighbor Gloria Taylor said.

Taylor lives next to the cemetery on Heards Drive. The 1-acre site dates back to the 1800s, but Taylor said she fears the integrity of the cemetery could be destroyed for the first time in more than 100 years.

"Imagine it with a house sitting in the background because those trees are going to go, because you can't put up a house on that small piece of property without losing all of those trees," Taylor said.

Taylor and some of her neighbors said the owner of the property would like to build a home in the cemetery behind the grave sites, but Taylor said county records show that the property was deeded as the Heard burying ground back in 1900.

"We don't honor enough, I don't think quite often, the heritage that we have," Taylor said.

Neighbor Rachel Rosner told CBS Atlanta News that she agrees with Taylor.

"Not only is it just this beautiful, peaceful, thinking spot kind of cemetery, but also it played a strategic role in the Civil War where the Union troops did cross over and they camped on this ridge, so I would hate to see this destroyed," she said.

Neighbors said the city of Sandy Springs has denied any construction on the site to this point, so the owner of the property is now suing the city. 

"When it's gone, you can't get it back, you can't get it back. It's gone permanently and that's a shame," Taylor said.

CBS Atlanta News called the owner of the property, Christopher Mills, but he did not want to comment because the case is involved in litigation.

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