“We want to do this anyway, regardless of busing,” said township commissioner Ryan Conrad, who was at the meeting but not a member of the planning committee. “And the parents want it. They are very concerned about this. And it’s not just five or six parents.”
Lancsek said other new schools don’t have such features.
Countered Conrad: “There is no reason not move forward with this.”
Fosselman and Conrad said money is in Lower Macungie’s 2013 budget to do the work. It has earmarked $85,000 for the project and also has a $100,000 state grant that will be used, said Conrad.
Lancsek, the former township zoning officer, said East Penn did not present Willow Lane Elementary as a walking school to the township before it was built. If it had been, he said, all improvements now being discussed already would have been made – and the school district would have picked up the entire tab.
Pandl said Lower Macungie now has an expedited approval process that should benefit the proposed Willow Lane Elementary improvements.
But Lancsek continued to push for a conditional use hearing on the district’s plans, even though the township’s solicitor already determined one is not required. Saying “I feel strongly about a conditional use hearing,” Lancsek indicated such a hearing would not delay needed improvements, because it could be held on the same night East Penn’s plan comes to the five commissioners for final approval.
Lancsek said there may be additional costs that the school district, not the township, should pay. He explained that would be brought up at a conditional use hearing.
“When it comes in front of us, they are expecting final approval,” said Brown.
Lancsek said conditions could be put on that final approval.
Erdman said if Lower Macungie does want a conditional use hearing, the school district must know that “the sooner the better” and its propped improvements also might have to go the township planning commission.