Green Woods Charter zoning hearing postponed until May 9

A paperwork snafu has set the Green Woods Charter School’s effort to move to Domino Lane in Roxborough back another month, as talks continue with neighbors over some details of the plan.

Green Woods wants to relocate from the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education to 146 Domino Lane, at the current Keenan’s Valley View Inn property, but needs zoning approval to combine three parcels into one and to allow the school use on a site zoned for residential use. But because neither Green Woods’ architect nor lawyer brought along detailed floor plans for the school building, zoning board president Lynette Brown-Sow postponed the hearing until May 9 at 2 p.m.

Architect Joe Jancuska included the site plan for the new campus in the information offered before the board, but Brown-Sow said they needed the more detailed floor plans before they could fully consider the application.

“I need floor-by-floor plans,” she said.

Bill and Beth Keenan have operated their restaurant and catering hall on the site since 1981. He has declined to talk about the deal with Green Woods or his future plans.

“Just say I’m still open for business,” Keenan said.

Since the Ridge Park Civic Association voted to support the plans in early March, there have been some changes as a result of ongoing meetings between the school and the civic association, and also with at least two other sets of neighbors.

The school moved a proposed bus parking area closer to Silverwood Street to avoid having vehicles idle near apartments in the Abbey House complex at 450 Domino Lane. Also, the school has been in contact with a group of 11 neighbors whose homes on Paoli Avenue abut the rear of the campus. Three of those neighbors appeared at the meeting yesterday and told the board they were in ongoing talks with the school.

Brown-Sow told attorney Vern Anastasio, who appeared on behalf of the RPCA, to coordinate a meeting among all those groups. The civic has not yet issued a letter backing the project, but RPCA president Patti Brennan said the group was still in support and have been working on a number of items.

They include a deed restriction keeping traffic off Silverwood Street and limiting driveway access to Domino Lane. Also, in response to some concerns about traffic along busy Domino Lane, the agreement would call for a flashing school zone sign and a ban on parking buses along that street.

If the deal goes through, Green Woods students would move into temporary quarters in the former St. John the Baptist and St. Mary of the Assumption schools in Manayunk for the next school year, while the new campus is built. The new school, a 60,000 square-foot building with 60 parking spaces, would be ready in September 2013 to accommodate the projected 675 students Green Woods would eventually enroll.

Brennan said she’s confident the plan will go through, but said she worried the uncertainty could drive away Keenan’s customers in the meantime.

“It’s a disgrace, because at the end of the day, everybody will be fine, and the school’s going to get their site, and he’ll lose business,” Brennan said.

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