Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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School District Will Not Seek Construction Variance for Middle School
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2017-10-11

Updated 10/11/17 - 5:35 p.m.  

 

          Officials from the Upper Perkiomen School District will not seek a zoning variance to allow construction of the new middle school to take place in the evenings, weekends and some holidays. 

            The district recently submitted an application to the township's zoning hearing board seeking the variance to increase the hours and days construction can occur at the property at 901 Montgomery Ave. in Upper Hanover.

            Late Wednesday afternoon, close to press time, Superintendent Alexis McGloin confirmed, through a district employee, that school official's plans on withdrawing the request.

            Pennsburg officials were looking to have their input reflected in the zoning hearing board's decision. Last week, borough council voted to have Mayor Vicki Lightcap represent the municipality at the public hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. and request party status.

            The applicant seeks to increase "the time and days for the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling, earthmoving, excavating or demolition work associated with the proposed new middle school project," according to the legal notice provided by township Manager Stan Seitzinger Jr.

            It requests that township approve a proposal to do this work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays from March 15 to Nov. 15, Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the following legal holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, George Washington's Birthday/President's Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day.

            School district officials requested the ordinance with the priority of doing construction on Saturday, according to McGloin. In an email received Oct. 6, she stated that the additional time will help the district have the new school ready for the start of 2019-20 school year.

            She stated that it is "not typical that Saturday work is prohibited and in fact the ordinance does allow work on adjacent properties on Saturday as long as the noise is below" 85 decibels. The superintendent added that the contractor will comply with that requirement.

            "The team is committed to finishing on time," McGloin wrote. "[H]owever, there are many variables with construction, and weather is the biggest one. ...By moving quickly and getting the site stabilized, we will reduce potential for dirt on the streets and make sure we achieve the goal of finishing on time."

            The township's Zoning Ordinance "does not permit construction between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. the following day on a weekday or at any time on a weekend day or legal holiday, except for emergency work."

            According to council President Kris Kirkwood, Pennsburg council wants the municipality to participate in the quasi-judicial process. He said council wants the ability to speak for its residents – who live on the other side of Montgomery Avenue – who may be impacted by the construction.

            Borough officials have concerns that include additional truck traffic, damages to borough roads and the potential impact of blasting to residents, according to Kirkwood.

            "We're not necessarily opposed to the application," he said late last week.

According to McGloin, allowing the contractors to work on Saturdays during good weather would allow them to "beat the winter and make up for rain days or other issues during the week."

            In the same email, she stated that a "limitation for heavy deliveries to the site during school days limits the work week for those activities to approximately 32 hours.  There is also less traffic on Saturday so we feel it would be a safe situation."


 

 

 

 

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