I had a meeting tonight to discuss the ongoing problem of the Riverside School district. Here is some information that I was told.
In December 2016, a Bond Levy was passed to build two new schools. One behind the current Madison school in Painesville, and the other somewhere in Concord or Leroy Township. The conditional use for the new Madison school was obtained without a problem, but the Concord Zoning Board and the Concord Trustees said that they could not discuss the proposed Concord property until the school owned the property.
The School Board purchased the property on Route 608 near the Summerwood development (I was told $450,000, but I seem to remember a higher number) and then the Board of Zoning Appeals declined their request for a conditional use on the basis that the school did not meet the majority of the requirements of Section 1305 of the Ohio Revised Code. The school was not told which requirements they did not meet.
The only option for the school was to sue Concord Township. It is currently in the court system in front of Judge Collins.
There were two residents adjacent to the proposed property that were against building the school. There was also some innuendo that a politically connected neighbor objected to the school being built, but we would rather deal in hard facts.
There is another wrinkle that will cost taxpayers in the Riverside School District some serious money. They have calculated that there will an increase in construction costs if the two schools are not built simultaneously……Hold on to your wallet….you may want to hold on real tight…..the estimated cost is $1.5 million dollars to build the schools at different times!
Let’s do the math…..$450,000 to buy the property, $1,500,000 in extra construction costs, how about we throw in $100,000 for legal fees – a very conservative number considering the taxpayers are paying for both attorneys. Looks like the total is north of $2,050,000.
Our question to the school board is why did they not purchase the land with a contingency that the sale would be voided if the school could not obtain the conditional use permit?
In any event, the Riverside School Board rolled the dice, and came up with “snake eyes”. Gambling is easy and so much fun when you play with other peoples’ money. Passing any future school levies may be a challenge for this School Board.