Keep Knox Residential - Say No! to another private school
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We, the undersigned residents of Lower Merion, urge the Commissioners and officials of the Township of Lower Merion to enforce the spacing and density limitations of the zoning code, to protect the historic Knox farm property, and say “No!” to another private school in our neighborhood.
1) A private school on the Knox property will violate the Density and Spacing requirement of the Code, Section 155-11(Y)(3). This is because there is already a private school (Torah Academy) less than 200 feet away on the same block, and there is also third special exception (St. Paul’s Lutheran Church) on the same block less than 500 feet away from the Knox Home. The Spacing and Density requirement was enacted to prevent residential neighborhoods from being overrun by Special Exceptions. The township should enforce it, or that is exactly what will happen here.
2) Another private school will bring undue noise and light pollution, and trash, as well as large structures and parking lots to our residential neighborhood. The Knox property is not on the corner of a major intersection – it is in the middle of homes. This out-of-place school will have a significant negative impact on surrounding property values. Further, the school is not subject to the Open Space requirements of the Code, as residential development of the Knox property would be.
3) It is not consistent with historic preservation, or the Comprehensive Plan. The entire “Knox Farmhouse property” is a Class I historic resource because it is “one of the few nineteenth-century complexes that survived the changes brought by the coming of the railroad and the suburbanization of the Township.” Further, the Comprehensive Plan designates Argyle Road as a “Scenic Corridor,” which is subject to “additional … historic protection.” This school will have a massive negative impact on this important historic resource and degrade this designated Scenic Corridor.
4) This school will bring no benefits to our neighborhood, only a burden. The vast majority of 450 students at this school come from outside of Lower Merion Township, so the school does not reduce the burden on our public schools. At the same time, the school pays no property taxes.
5) This school will generate extraordinary traffic and street parking problems to this entire neighborhood. The vast majority of the school’s students arrive via automobile. The school projects 350 out of 450 students arriving by automobile. This means an extraordinary number of cars will clog our neighborhood, using our neighborhood side streets as cut-throughs and parking spaces.
Keep it residential! Residential development is consistent with the neighborhood, and subject to the Open Space requirements of the code, which means more open space!
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