Board de­bates fix­ing pri­vate road

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Eric_Devlin on Twit­ter

PHOENIXVILLE >> In a test of its good neigh­bor pol­icy, school of­fi­cials in Phoenixville are de­bat­ing whether to ap­prove up to ap­prox­i­mately $15,000 of tax­payer money to pay for a one-time paving of a pri­vate street.

Neigh­bors have asked the district if it would pave Gay Street be­tween Pot­house Road and Hal­low­ell Av­enue, near the con­struc­tion site of the in­com­ing Phoenixville Early Learn­ing Cen­ter and Manavon El­e­men­tary School. The street is in need of re­pair, but the district is un­der no obli­ga­tion to pave it. The ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­cepted a bid of $15,150 from Charlestown Paving to pave the road­way, leav­ing it to the board to de­cide whether it was will­ing to make re­pairs and if so, how much it would spend.

The board was split over the de­ci­sion. The ma­jor­ity said they were will­ing to at least chip in a per­cent­age of the cost if neigh­bors

would pay a share, con­sid­er­ing these neigh­bors have been among the most af­fected by the con­struc­tion site. How­ever, oth­ers said tak­ing pub­lic money to pave a pri­vate street is un­fair to tax­pay­ers who wouldn’t stand to gain any­thing from it.

When Meadow Brook Golf Club owned the prop­erty, the owner would take care of the street and did chip in the last time it was paved, ac­cord­ing to Stan John­son, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions, dur­ing the Sept. 8 school board work­shop meet­ing.

“The pre­vi­ous owner was un­der no obli­ga­tion but did it be­cause a lot of the folks that did use his golf course came in that way,” John­son said at the time. “So the neigh­bors are say­ing (to the) school district ‘you now own the prop­erty. Will you take care of the street?’ And that’s the ques­tion for the board.”

The district has made ac­com­mo­da­tions for other neigh­bors in that de­vel­op­ment in the past, board mem­ber Ken Butera said at the Sept. 8 meet­ing. Along with res­i­dents from Mead­ow­brook Lane, the Pick­er­ing Glen de­vel­op­ment, these neigh­bors have been among the most af­fected by con­struc­tion.

On Thurs­day board mem­ber Joshua Gould sug­gested the district pay two-thirds of the cost, and neigh­bors can pay the rest. The district has made ac­com­mo­da­tions for other neigh­bor­hoods near the con­struc­tion site that have been in­con­ve­nienced and “those were higher dol­lar amounts.”

“I think ask­ing neigh­bors to cough up $5,000 is a de­cent deal and the district would toss in $10,000,” he said.

Butera ex­pressed a con­cern about set­ting a prece­dent by ap­prov­ing the project, to which Gould replied that if the district were to move for­ward on the project it would have to be un­der­stood that this was a one-time deal.

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