Green Woods proposal goes before zoning board this week

Plans that would see a longtime Roxborough restaurant and catering hall replaced by an environmental charter school will go before the city this week.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday will hear an application for a certificate to allow the Green Woods Charter School to move to the Domino Lane location that has been home to Keenan’s Valley View Inn since the early 1980s.

The hearing, scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at 1515 Arch St., will consider an application to combine five separate parcels, currently owned by William J. Keenan, into one larger property at 468 Domino Lane, on which a new Green Woods Charter School campus would be created.

The fast-track application has the support of the Ridge Park Civic Association, which voted to approve Green Woods’ plan at their March meeting. One neighbor, who lives on Domino Lane, told the civic she had concerns about increased traffic, but Green Woods has faced none of the opposition it saw when the school tried to move to Chestnut Hill last spring.

Founded in 2002 at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Green Woods serves K-8 students in a secluded setting, allowing focus on outdoor learning. The design for the 5.5-acre Domino Lane site includes several outdoor learning labs around ponds and other natural elements, and a 60,000 square-foot school building with 27 classrooms and 60 parking spaces. Green Woods’ charter allows for growth up to an eventual 675 students.

The new school, designed by Joe Jancuska of j2a Architects, wouldn’t be ready until September, 2013. In the meantime, Green Woods students will attend classes next year at two former Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools in Manayunk, and use local natural areas and Fairmount Park for outdoor environmental work, school officials have said.

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