Second time seems to be a charm for SWR parking lot plan

05/17/2015 12:00 PM |
Resident Michael Burns (center) addresses the board last week as neighbors watch on. Mr. Burns was one of a handful to criticize a plan to build a new parking lot. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Resident Michael Burns (center) addresses the board last week as neighbors watch on. Mr. Burns was one of a handful to criticize a plan to build a new parking lot. (Credit: Paul Squire)

After a swarm of angry Miller Avenue Elementary School neighbors attended the Shoreham-Wading River school board meeting last week, demanding the district reconsider plans to build a new parking lot near their homes, architects presented second and third proposals for the project at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

The residents had accused the board of not notifying them of plans to construct a new parking lot at the Miller Avenue school as part of recently approved school bond upgrades. Though the plans were included at budget presentations and were available online, the residents claimed they “trusted” the board not to do anything too drastic.

“The school may have observed the strict legal requirements … but if you don’t put that little bit of effort up front, the bad feelings that arise from that will be very harmful to the district and the community,” said neighbor Masako Stampf.

In January, district voters overwhelmingly approved $48 million in construction projects, which included the parking lot.

BBS architect Ken Schupner presented two new options to the board and residents Tuesday night, one of which seemed to gain traction with the vocal crowd.

That plan would limit the clearing of nearby woods by reducing the size of the soccer field, although some trees would still need to be taken down.

A second alternate proposal went down in flames under a hail of criticism.

After Mr. Schupner turned the page to show the old plans, the residents seated in the auditorium at the meeting cried out in disapproval.

“Ugh!” “Awful!” “It’s terrible!” “Tear it up!”

One resident demanded to know why the district hadn’t sent the new proposals out to the community. School board member John Zukowski said the board hadn’t seen the plans before either, and would make them publicly available at the district office for anyone who wanted a copy.

Despite their reaction to the first plan — and the second option drafted — the residents thanked the BBS architect for coming up with two new proposals on such short notice.

The school board will not make a decision on the new plans until a survey is completed at the site and a more complete proposal is created.

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