West Chester, Montessori School agree to enrollment, traffic limits

The Station Road Schoolhouse in West Chester Twp. was purchased by Community Montessori School. Some residents have voiced concerns regarding future traffic at the site at 6670 Station Road. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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The Station Road Schoolhouse in West Chester Twp. was purchased by Community Montessori School. Some residents have voiced concerns regarding future traffic at the site at 6670 Station Road. STAFF FILE PHOTO

West Chester Twp. trustees and the owners of Community Montessori School have submitted a consent degree in Butler County Common Pleas Court that limits students and car stacking to ease traffic at the Station Road Schoolhouse at 6670 Station Road.

Addressing concerns some residents have voiced regarding traffic at the site, the township is prohibiting “stacking” of cars waiting to get into the school, the student population cannot go over 100, schools hours will be from 8:40 a.m. to 3 p.m. and nighttime activities “will be limited in nature to those activities that are conducive to the residential character of the neighborhood.”

MORE: West Chester agrees to sell historic schoolhouse despite objections

There is no mention of owner Todd Minniear’s statement that the entrance will be moved to the west side of the property to improve visibility.

The township’s attorney, Scott Phillips, said he could not comment on the omission.

“The township is not simply approving the conditional use requested by the appellant in the form in which it was submitted to the township,” Phillips wrote in his consent decree motion. “The township has added a variety of conditions that are intended to preserve the character of the area and protect neighboring landowners.”

The township trustees agreed to sell the historic schoolhouse to Todd and Jamie Minniear for $250,000 in May — the same price the township paid in 1999 — saying it was a “money pit.” The Minniears own the Community Montessori School currently at 9035 Cincinnati Dayton Road. The sale was conditioned on approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

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They planned to build a 3,800-square-foot addition onto the historic schoolhouse so it can house new fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade programs.

The school currently has 46 students enrolled in its early childhood programs.

“We’ve been turning away people for a couple years now,” Jamie Minniear said at the time, adding that the historic schoolhouse will allow for more space in pre-school and kindergarten classrooms.

She said they plan to use an architect who can match the historic look of the former school.

The Minniears filed an appeal in Butler County Common Pleas Court and the two sides have reached an agreement so the sale is back on, pending approval by Judge Jennifer Muench-McElfresh. However two residents have filed a motion to intervene in the case and filed a motion opposing the consent decree.

The residents’ attorney, Tim Mara, said in his motion the consent decree is unenforceable where the traffic problem is concerned.

“If motorists are stacked up waiting to turn left into the subject property or stuck behind those who are waiting to turn left, there is no way the appellant can stop them,” he wrote. “So, the very notion that this provision in any way is effective in protecting the community is absurd.”

Mara told the Journal-News he is hoping the judge will allow him to have input at a hearing that is scheduled for Dec. 7.