Members of the Greater Bustleton Civic League last week conditionally approved a church’s plan to lease classroom space on the 600 block of Welsh Road to a charter school.
Many of those attending the league’s May meeting at Temple Beth Ami on Old Bustleton Avenue had objections to the proposal by First Philadelphia Charter School for Literacy to rent space for two years from St. Thomas Syro-Malobar Catholic Church, 608 Welsh Road.
About 150 pupils would be in kindergarten and first grade.
The charter school is building a second campus and needed to lease classrooms while the new structure is being erected.
Some members said the neighborhood already has too many schools and Welsh Road traffic already is congested near the church.
Last month, members discussed the proposal but did not vote on it.
On June 15, more than 100 new members signed up, said the civic group’s president, John McKeever, and many of them were church members. By league by-laws, new members have the right to vote immediately.
The decision not to oppose the church proposal to rent the classrooms for two years was approved by a healthy margin, but only if a traffic study concludes that the move won’t be dangerous, McKeever said.
The church’s property is zoned residential, McKeever said, so a variance is needed for a school to be operated there.
A synagogue had been on the property before the church purchased it, and a Hebrew school had operated after-school classes there once, he said, but the building had not been a full-time school.
Also last week, members gave $100 each to Gabrielle Toshia, of CCA Baldi Middle School; Emily Walters, of Joseph Greenberg School; and Andrea Poretta, of Maternity BVM parish school.
The cash awards honor the pupils’ community involvement. ••