HJ-ED-DHJ

Nov. 27, 2006

School gets variance for construction, neighbor questions timing

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Winsted residents living on Fourth Street North have an up-front view of the busy construction site across the street from their once quiet neighborhood.

It also made Doug Telecky, owner of a home on Fourth Street North, wish that he would have had the opportunity to speak to the city council about the new addition to the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Elementary School sooner, he told the council Tuesday.

Anxious to get long-awaited plans moving forward, the school started its preliminary work doing underground utility work, which does not require a building permit or zoning approval.

The remodeling includes an addition on the west side of the current building. Telecky said that he would prefer it be on the east side, away from his home.

In addition, Telecky has also had to deal with numerous cars being parked on the street in front of his home, and is afraid that one of the children leaving the school might get hurt in traffic.

“We have had no voice in this,” he said.

The city council approved the variance to facilitate the expansion of the elementary school in Winsted.

The variance would allow an encroachment of 21 feet into the front setback off of Fourth Street North and a 19-foot encroachment into the front setback off of Albert Avenue.

The building would be set back approximately 20 feet off of the curb line, as setbacks are measured from the property line and not the curb.

A key point in the issue is that work not requiring a permit was started before the variance process took place, thus limiting the practical alternatives.

Mayor Don Guggemos explained that the temporary mobile units on the east side are in use, and the construction needed to be started so it can be completed by the beginning of the 2007-08 school year.

The temporary building would not be moved until school is out in May, and would not allow enough time to build the addition and have it ready for the opening of school in the fall of 2007.

HLWW Superintendent George Ladd said they are trying to work out a parking arrangement to keep staff from parking on city streets. They are not considering the east side of the building because they are planning for buses to pick up the children, and if cars are parked there the buses cannot turn around.

Ladd said the new addition in the pre-k through fifth grade building will have enough room for 300 students. There will be six new classrooms – a new kindergarten room, preschool, and four regular classrooms. It will also include new bathrooms and other upgrades like a sprinkler system.

If there are additional funds available when the project is completed, a new gym could possibly be added and the current gym would be used for a library or dining area.


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