Think About It: How the fight got started

Don Meyer, Ph.D., is the president of Valley Forge Christian College and writes the weekly column, "Think About It."

SCHUYLKILL - Pending a decision by the zoning hearing board, the planning commission at Wednesday's meeting paved the way for supervisors to give their preliminary/final approval, with conditions, for the Schuylkill Elementary School at either a March or April supervisors' meeting.

Students may occupy the Schuylkill Elementary School at Whitehorse and Pothouse roads by Spring 2006 or "at the best" by the previous Christmas break, according to Phoenixville Area School District Superintendent David Noyes, Ph.D.

Noyes said the district had hoped to move into the school in September 2005, but "through nobody's fault," several aspects of the project still need to be addressed.

Noyes said that those issues include the work of architects, township zoning officer, planning commission, supervisors and township engineer.

"We're hoping for a quick zoning hearing board decision," said Noyes.

The zoning hearing board met on Tuesday and is required to decide within 45 days whether the school district is burdened by a hardship and to allow several variance and special exceptions.

Supervisor Lee Ledbetter seemed to be in favor of a quick resolution when he said in the public comment segment that the project had a "clean set of conditions" that were "mostly administrative."

The school district asked the zoning hearing board to consider installation of a culvert as part of a flood plain, the movement of topsoil, installment of a sign, some cut and fill work and a decrease in the number of parking spaces at the Schuylkill Elementary School from 240 to 200.

According to project engineer Domenick Colangelo, of The Quad Three Group, Inc., PennDOT required several changes to district plans including installation of four-foot shoulders on both Pothouse and Whitehorse roads and changes to the curbs to make way for inlets for the stormwater system.

The grade of an internal road at the school will decrease from 10 to 8 percent and a driveway will be widened from 24 to 28 feet. PennDOT also required the crown of the road to be increased.

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