The school has said a zoning change would make its property more marketable.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- The township zoning commission approved rezoning the Austintown Middle School property to business district zoning Thursday at a public hearing.
Michael P. Kurilla Jr., township zoning inspector, said that no one spoke against the change, which will change the 15-acre parcel from a mix of business, agricultural and residential zoning.
He said commission members kept a 50-foot buffer of residential zoning along Howard Avenue where the school property abuts homes.
The 89-year-old school on Mahoning Avenue is expected to be demolished when pupils move into a new middle school to be constructed on Raccoon Road. That move is expected in the 2006-07 school year.
School board members have said that though there is no buyer in place for the Mahoning Avenue property, the business zoning should make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Architects submitted plans last month for the new $26 million, three-floor, 174,668-square-foot school to the township's zoning and fire departments.
It will house sixth through eighth grades. Fourth- and fifth-graders will attend Frank Ohl Middle School. Frank Ohl and Austintown Middle School now house fifth- through eighth-graders with kindergarten through fourth-graders attending one of the district's five elementary schools.
The board borrowed the money to build the school through the 2.9-mill bond issue voters approved in November 2003.
The zoning commission also approved rezoning about 27 acres on the north side of New Road, near the Westwind Place intersection, to residential. The property's zoning had been a combination of agricultural and residential.
The owners, Jack and Mary Hutchison of Mary Courts, plan a housing development.
Kurilla said the plans for the 55-home development don't include an intention to connect Fairview and New roads. The street through the development will be extended south from Fairview and veer off into two cul-de-sacs.