Phoenixville Area School District's proposed development plans spark controversy

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Some residents are concerned that a new school district development project could hurt their quiet community. (WPVI)

Some residents are concerned that a new school district development project in Chester County could hurt their quiet community.

Meadowbook is a onetime golf course with more than 400 big trees. Neighbors are opposed to a plan that will see 300 of those trees cut down by its new owner the Phoenixville Area School District.

"It's too much. It's an overkill," said Larry Nye.

The neighbors know there is a need for a new school and expected a few playing fields, but not what's proposed.

In the planned layout, the school is dwarfed by six tightly packed playing fields and 250 parking spaces.

Residents are worried about what may follow.

"Noise from a PA system, a huge concession stand and all the congestion come with it," said Kathleen Mraz.

The district says the fields are needed by both school teams and on weekends by community teams.

The district also has downplayed traffic but neighbors are skeptical.

"Their studies, they say, that maybe show that it won't have an impact but do they really know? We won't know until we experience it," said Peter Mercuri.

Another worry - once the fields are built there will be field lights.

"There is no intent to put lights up. We are not requesting permission from the township to put lights up. Lights are not an issue," said Stan Johnson.

The neighbors hoping the township will step in and cut the number of fields from six to three preserving open space and some of the doomed trees.

"I would like to make sure that they scale back this project. We know that the elementary school will be built, it's just what else would be built on this property," said Mraz.

Could the school district accept that?

"No our assessment is that we need the six fields," said Johnson.

The district adds that one of the reasons they need the field is that they are already bussing 19 different teams over year to off campus location.

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