Charter School Proposal Discussed at City Council

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.

Officials representing the Pioneer Charter School of Science in Everett and their attorney, David O’Neil, appeared before the Everett City Council Monday night and provided the Council with a short presentation of their plans to transform a former manufacturing building at 7-9 Plymouth Street in the village into a K-8 educational building to allow the charter school to grow.

The proposal does not require City Council approval, and indeed, the presentation was not even required by the charter school, as state law allows the use to be approved without local site plan review and the school does not plan to alter the dimensional configurations of the building or the site.s

The Planning Board had previously heard a presentation about the plans, and in the end also recognized that they had no jurisdiction over the use proposal.

The issue was brought forward on a resolution by City Councilor Michael McLaughlin to allow the Council to gather information about the proposal, uses of the building, and to ask questions about traffic and public safety planning.

Attorney O’Neil noted for the Council that they had no jurisdiction over the proposal and that the Pioneer School proponents were participating in the meeting willingly, to provide information and clarify misconceptions about the project.

McLaughlin noted that he personally was concerned that the proposed re-use of the former manufacturing facility was not a good fit for the neighborhood and stated said several times that the City had to be sure to “protect the village” from the traffic and impacts the school may create.

Each councilor took turns asking questions of O’Neil and his clients and both sides expressed concern that traffic be managed in a way so as to not negatively impact the neighborhood or endanger the children attending the school.

In the end, Councilors Fred Capone and Peter Napolitano noted that the Council has no authority to limit or review the proposal officially and the Council voted 9-0-1 to refer the matter to the Traffic Commission and ask the Pioneer School to work with the public safety departments to ensure the traffic management and parking management plans were appropriate for all sides.

 

Sidebar –

The Pioneer Charter School of Science last week clarified a misconception that came up at a Planning Board meeting last month – a misunderstanding that they will be moving our of the old Immaculate Conception School on Summer Street.

In fact, the school told the Independent, they will only be moving the 7th and 8th grade students out of the Summer Street location to the proposed new facility on Plymouth Street, which will also house a full elementary school as well.

That was confused during a contentious, late-night meeting last month at the Planning Board. The building plans call for the high school students, grade 9-12, to remain at the Summer Street location and it will not be vacated when the new facility is built.

“The new building will house our elementary and middle school, while our high school program will remain on Summer Street at the site of the old Immaculate Conception School,” read a letter to the Independent from the school. “We are hopeful our elementary school students will be able to move into the new building in January.”

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