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Waynesboro seeks to resolve high school parking issue

July 17, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Parking issues at Waynesboro Area Senior High School have long had the town council circling the fight ring with school officials - and the councilmen proved Wednesday that they are ready for battle.

In fact, the school's occupancy permit might be the first victim.

"I really don't know how we can issue an occupancy permit without (them) providing parking," Councilman Ronnie Martin said.

The possible withholding of an occupancy permit and new parking restrictions around the school will be the topics of a special borough council meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 6. Members of council agreed to send letters notifying affected residents of the meeting, but made no mention of extending such an invitation to any school leader.

At issue are parking problems that developed with construction related to a $46 million renovation and expansion at the high school. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in January 2007, and construction is expected to last through the late fall or early winter of 2009.

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"It's difficult to provide parking in the middle of a construction site," school board President Stanley Barkdoll said when he was contacted by phone after Wednesday's council meeting.

"We're providing as much space as construction allows," he said.

Student drivers lost parking due to construction and have spilled onto area streets, generating several complaints from residents of Myrtle Avenue. The borough already installed signs at several houses, but would take those down if the council approves its latest plan:

· Parking would be allowed on Enterprise Avenue, the east side of Virginia Avenue, and the stretch of Second Street from the school to where the road meets East Main Street.

n Parking would be prohibited on all of Myrtle Avenue south of the alley behind McDonald's. Parking also would be banned on Second Street from Clayton Avenue to Virginia Avenue; Third Street from Clayton Avenue to Myrtle Avenue; and the west side of Virginia Avenue, except for the front of the fire hall.

· Parking restrictions would be in place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"I think the residents in that area - Myrtle Avenue and Second Street - need some relief," Martin said. "I think (the plan) is taking care of parking, but it's also protecting our residents."

Martin and other councilmen said they have had less-than-productive meetings with school representatives. While he did not attend meetings, Barkdoll said he's seen summary reports that indicate those meetings were "disappointing."

"It's extremely difficult to get them to communicate," Councilman C. Harold Mumma said.

The council had pushed the school district to open an extension of Third Street for student use, but were reportedly told that the money was not budgeted for 2008-09.

"When you're dealing with $47 million, they can certainly find $30,000 or $40,000 to rough out Third Street," Mumma said.

Ed Hykes, who lives on Myrtle Avenue, encouraged council to talk to neighbors before making a decision.

"I have visitors. They can't park there?" Hykes asked. "I'd rather share parking and still have the parking."

He agreed with council that parking permits might be a good option to consider.

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