Covering development’s schools cost contentious at Iron Bridge Corner

The amendment to zoning of the Iron Bridge Corner LC request will be heard on March 28. The case may set a precedent concerning how many bedrooms constitutes a unit that qualifies for school proffers. That is a promise to pay what it costs the school division to provide infrastructure or buildings and classroom space to accommodate the number of children who would be generated by the development – in this  case an apartment complex.

Carrie Coyner, on behalf of Iron Bridge Corner LC., last month argued that the developer should not have to pay the school proffers. The day before the meeting she offered a compromise. The developer would only build 15-three bedroom apartments and pay the full proffer on those units. The net cost to the schools division is $8,882 per unit.

Currently there is an age restriction on the 19.8 acres that is covered by a clause that would preclude anyone under the age of 55 from renting the apartments. Iron bridge Corner LC has requested that the age restriction be abandoned; school proffers be paid up to 15 units and no more than 100 units be built on the property. The 100 unit stipulation is currently a part of the existing zoning case from 2007.

The planning staff and planning commission denied the case because the proposed proffered conditions do not adequately address the proposed development’s impacts on capital facilities (schools.)

According to Coyner who is also a Chesterfield County School Board member, at question is the number of school students that the development would generate. Coyer argued that other apartment complexes, particularly in the Village Green apartment development in Chester, do not have school age students living in the development, she continued. Dr. Cynthia Richardson, director of Chesterfield County Schools stated at a planning commission meeting that Salem Middle School was overcrowded and was using trailers as classrooms.

During the meeting Dale District Jim Holland questioned the overcrowding issue at Salem Middle.

Dr. Richardson, stated she had made a mistake at the planning commission meeting and there are 14 trailers on site at Salem Middle School being used while a renovation is taking place.
Richardson said that the capacity of Salem Middle School, after renovations, will be 1,112 students. Richardson stated the school was in need of expansion.

Ms. Jaeckle made a motion, seconded by Mr. Elswick, for the Board to suspend the rules to consider the revised proffered conditions.

Mr. Warren stated he would support the motion.

Mr. Gecker stated he did not support the motion. He further stated public input is essential before moving forward.

Mr. Holland stated he is uncomfortable with the last minute changes. He expressed concerns relative to impacts on surrounding facilities.

Due to the vote on the motion to suspend the rules not being unanimous, the case will be heard by the Board at the March 28, 2012 meeting in accordance with the Board’s procedural rules.

Information contained in this article was pulled from the February 22, 2012 board minutes.


Conflict of Interest?

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it at least mildly distasteful that a sitting school board member is actively pressing a legal defense in a case that essentially opposes the very school district she purports to represent? At the very least, it seems to me that Ms. Coyner should recuse herself in this case.

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