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Neighbors, Borough Want in on UPSD Middle School Building Appeal
Written by Larry Roeder Editor

Court to determine inclusion legality on March 20

                The parties in the appeal over the conditions imposed for approval of a new middle school on Montgomery Avenue in Upper Hanover Township may be growing. Some neighboring property owners and Pennsburg Borough officials have filed a petition to the appeal by the Upper Perkiomen School District over conditions set by Upper Hanover Township in November on the district's Conditional Use Application.

                According to court documents, Montgomery Avenue property owners David Pico and Len Mathews of Pennsburg and William Chrisman Jr. of Upper Hanover Township filed a Petition to Intervene in the appeal.  The Chrisman property is adjacent to the site of the proposed middle school; the Pico property is across the street and within 50 feet of the site; and the Mathews Property is within 1,000 feet of the site.

                On Tuesday night, Pennsburg officials voted to file a petition to intervene, as well.

                According to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure, any time during the pendency of an action, a person not a party of the action shall be permitted to intervene if such action may affect any legally enforceable interest of the person, whether or not they may be bound by a judgement in the action.

                Although two of the properties are in the borough of Pennsburg, previous actions have determined that municipal boundaries have no impact on the ability of a person to be aggrieved by the treatment of property in another municipality.

                In his response to the filing, attorney Joseph Bresnan, representing Upper Hanover Township, disputed the property owners' right to intervene and cited the reasons stated above as "erroneous."

                Among other items, Bresnan's response also claims that the Petition to Intervene was filed too late, being more than three months after the decision was issued and more than two months after the district filed an appeal.

                The response goes on to claim that the action between the school district and township  was a "friendly appeal through which the parties are seeking to clarify certain terms of the decision" and that "The District and Township are close to finalizing terms that will cause the appeal to be resolved entirely."

                In February, the Town and Country reported that some of the conditions required by Upper Hanover included a state Department of Transportation (DOT) review of student walking routes for both sides of Montgomery Avenue between 11th Street and Route 663 and speeding. 

                In lieu of a review, the district could install curbed sidewalks along that the south side of Montgomery Avenue (the school side) from Route 663 to 11th Street and that no approval would be granted and no building permits issued until DOT finds that none of the proposed walking routes are hazardous, or, that the district "agrees either through its plans or a developer's agreement that it will sidewalk improvements consistent with the conditions."

                Among other conditions were that in lieu of sidewalks, the district could bus students who would otherwise walk to the middle school, as long as additional conditions were met such as students are the last ones picked up and the first ones dropped off; parent notifications; staffing to keep students from walking along Montgomery Avenue for a period of time; additional signage; and others.

                A hearing has been scheduled on the property owners' petition by Judge Thomas M. Del Ricci for March 20.






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