NEW CASTLE SCHOOLS Residents amend appeal

Hearings are set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 24 to argue the appeals.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A group of North Hill neighbors have more complaints about a city council decision that paves the way for a new high school.
An appeal filed earlier this year by John Albano, Dawn McCune and James and Bonnie Geddis has been amended in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.
Albano, McCune and the Geddises own property near the area where New Castle Area School District plans to build a high school.
Earlier appeal: They filed an appeal in common pleas court earlier this year when city council agreed to close a portion of Reis Street and gave the school district a conditional-use permit to build the new school.
Reis Street, they say, is the most direct access used by emergency vehicles to their homes.
School officials say a portion of Reis Street must be closed to connect their planned education and arts wings. However, school officials agreed to change their plans after hearing the resident's safety concerns.
The new plans call for Berger Place to be extended to East Street, which will give better access to their homes. School officials also added an auditorium balcony and 128 parking spaces to the school plan.
Those changes were approved by council July 31.
The neighbors filed their amended appeal this week based on that council decision.
New one: The new appeal contends council made an error granting the conditional use because the school district did not have approval for a subdivision, something needed when a street is closed.
They also say the district should have outlined a storm-water drainage plan when it added the 128 parking spaces to its plan.
Ed Leymarie, attorney for the neighbors, could not be reached.
City Solicitor James Manolis said the subdivision approval and storm-water drainage plan are needed before building can start, but don't need to be done before conditional use is granted.
He said council made the conditional use dependent on school officials completing both of those things before construction.
He said city laws don't require a subdivision be granted before a conditional-use permit.
Those issues will be argued at hearings Aug. 31 and Sept. 24 in common pleas court.
Other arguments the neighbors raise in their first set of appeals will also be heard. They include the claim that Reis Street is part of a plot plan that cannot be closed without permission of the residents.

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