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Time extension on St. Joe’s plan granted

Submitted by on 1, November 24, 2009 – 5:50 amNo Comment

On Monday night, the Planning Board put another 15 years on the clock for the St. Joseph’s Community to complete an already approved list of expansion and improvements. Without the extension, the plan approval would have lapsed at the end of this month.

The city’s permission for the plan was granted for a decade beyond its 1999 approval date. But the school’s reps said that the sluggish economy has made it difficult for them to raise the money they need to finish their list of projects, and they need more time.

A handful of residents who live near St. Joe’s, which includes a church, an elementary school and a high school, said the Planning Board should deny the request, citing traffic and parking issues. But board members said that if anything, they thought St. Joe’s would need more than 15 years to raise the additional $15 million they need to complete the projects.

“I think that St Joseph’s provides an excellent and necessary alternative to the other educational opportunities in Alameda and the community. I think that this planned development will improve upon that,” Vice President Art Autorino said before the board voted 5-0 to grant the extension.

St. Joseph’s Andrew Reed said that about 40 percent of the planned work has been completed so far. The list of completed projects includes a high school library, remodeled high school science labs and a gym, elementary and high school music rooms, a new driveway, parking lot and perimeter fencing. To be completed projects include completion of the Science/Communication Arts Facility Building and second floor offices, Notre Dame Hall expansion and interior and outdoor gathering spaces.

Board members Anne Cook and Andrew Cunningham recused themselves from the debate over the extension, citing potential conflicts of interest. Cunningham is a parishioner at St. Joe’s and a neighbor, and Cook is also a parishioner and has a child at the school.

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