West Chester residents want to intervene in Montessori lawsuit

  • Denise G. Callahan
  • Staff Writer
6:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 West Chester & Liberty Twp
Neighbors of the Station Road schoolhouse have filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit the owners of the Montessori School filed against West Chester Twp. The township has agreed to sell the property to the school, over objections of neighbors. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

Two West Chester Twp. residents are trying to become parties to the lawsuit the owners of the Community Montessori School filed against the township because they want to protect their property rights.

Dave Lindenschmidt, who was a candidate for township trustee, and his neighbor, Gary Bolte, have hired a lawyer and filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed by Todd and Jamie Minniear against the township.

The trustees last week agreed to enter into a consent decree with the Minniears that will transfer the property to them for $250,000.

MORE: Despite objections, West Chester trustees sell historic schoolhouse

“Any consent decree between the township and J. Lyn (the Minniears) is nothing but an end run by the trustees and J. Lyn to get their way despite the BZA (board of zoning appeals) disapproval,” attorney Tim Mara wrote. “The trustees should not be the deciders of their own de facto appeal of the BZA denial and in fact lack authority to overturn the BZA decision, such power resting solely with this court.”

The motion reiterates the residents concerns about the property sale — voiced at the BZA hearing — that traffic, a negative impact on their property values and lack of buffering will be a detriment to them. They want to be part of the lawsuit so they can protect their property rights.

Last week Todd Minniear spoke about the project, saying traffic was not identified by the Butler County engineer as an issue. As part of the conditional use they are agreeing to — as part of the lawsuit consent decree — move the entrance to the west side of the property which will improve visibility.

“School traffic is at non-rush hours, non-peak traffic periods,” he said. “Our submitted plan, which has been reviewed by the engineer’s office and West Chester development, illustrates space for cars will be five times more than is needed at maximum student capacity. Also it is a specific conditional use requirement that no cars be queued on Station Road, it will not happen.”

MORE: Restaurant expands with first Butler County location

The township’s attorney, Scott Phillips, has filed a motion as well, asking the court to disallow the intervention because it is too late.

“Because they sat on their hands for the past three months with no sign that they desired to be a party to this lawsuit until now — after it has been largely resolved — the court should deem the motion untimely and deny it in its entirety,” Phillips wrote.

Minniear said he could not comment on the motion.