Bustleton group approves church’s plan to lease classroom space

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. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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