New School Gets OK to Build in Town and Country
After much discussion and concerns voiced by residents, aldermen voted Monday night to approve the preliminary site plan for Raintree Learning Community so it can move into the city.
As previously reported by Town and Country - Manchester Patch, Raintree Learning Community wants to move from its Ballwin location and build a new school at 2000 to 2016 Amonte Drive in Town and Country.
Despite a handful of residents speaking out against the project, the Town and Country Planning and Zoning Commission approved the preliminary site development plan for the new school on Mason Road near Manchester Road in August. Monday night, the Town and Country Board of Aldermen also unanimously approved the site plan.
Monday night, residents once again spoke out against the school moving in and said they have collected signatures from nearby residents in opposition of the school.
"We have 139 people against this project," resident Mary Sertl told aldermen.
She said most of the residents she spoke with had no knowledge of the plan to build a school at that location.
"We would like to request a delay of three months," Sertl said.
She also suggested an ordinance be put in place to better alert residents to public notices about such plans for the city.
"We take your comments and concerns very seriously," Mayor Jon Dalton explained. He also asked Town and Country's Planning Director Sharon Rothmel to review the process that has taken place prior to Monday night's meeting, which included the public notice, notification of nearby residents, a public hearing and planning and zoning commission meetings.
"There's only so much we can and should do," Daton said. "But one thing we should do is make sure interested parties receive notice."
Dalton said the city will look into the claims by some residents within 300 feet of the site that they did not receive notice.
"Public notice is something we strive to do better and better and better on," Dalton said. "We try our best. We do not always succeed, but it is not for lack of trying."
Dalton also said that the school's owner, Ilya Eydelman, worked very closely with the city to make adjustments to the plan to accommodate many concerns brought up by residents.
"I think we've built into this ordinance all kinds of protections to make sure this school operates in a way that is consistent with this community. I'm going to support it and I think we should move forward," Alderman Skip Mange said prior to Monday night's vote.
The new site plan requires the Raintree Learning Community to include the word "school" in its plan, limits student occupancy to 70, limits hours of operation, states children cannot be enrolled in the school if they are under two years of age, and addresses other concerns previously reported by Patch.
Alderman Lynn Wright voted to approve the site plan and said she lives right next to the Churchill Learning Center and School in Town and Country and it's the "best neighbor" she's ever had.
Eydelman's goal is to have the new school open in Town and Country for the 2013-2014 school year, but he tells Patch he is not sure when construction will begin.
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