NEW CASTLE Judge upholds decision to close street for school
An appeal on the city's decision to issue a conditional use permit is still pending.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A judge has upheld city council's decision to close Reis Street to make way for a new city high school.
Judge Ralph D. Pratt of Lawrence County Common Pleas Court issued an order Thursday dismissing an appeal filed by Reis Street neighbors who had opposed council's decision to close a portion of their street.
Neighbors John Albano, Dawn McCune and James and Bonnie Geddis filed the lawsuit in common pleas court asking the court to reverse a city council decision.
School plans: Council agreed to close to the street to for the New Castle Area School District, which is planning to build a high school on property that includes the street.
In a separate lawsuit, the neighbors are also appealing council's decision to give the school district a conditional use permit for the new building. That case is still pending, and a hearing is slated for Sept. 24.
When contacted Thursday afternoon, the Geddises said they were not aware that a judgment had been handed down and that a hearing scheduled for Friday was canceled. Their attorney, Ed Leymarie, could not be reached to comment.
Appeal ended: Thomas Piccione, solicitor for the school district, said the order was handed down after the district, the city and attorneys for the Geddises and other neighbors agreed to end the appeal. The school district had later joined the appeal as one of the defendants.
The neighbors had claimed that the street was part of a plot plan, something that would require residents to give permission before it could be closed and that closing the street was an abuse of council's power because it made the area unsafe.
City's discretion: James Manolis, city solicitor, said they were able to prove that the street was not part of a plot plan, but had been established by city ordinance, which allows council to close it at their discretion. The safety issue was also dropped by attorneys representing the neighbors, but Manolis did not know why.