Wilkes-Barre Zoning Hearing Board to hear plans on proposed new high school

i Oct 5th 2016

By Jerry Lynott, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — More details about the new high school Wilkes-Barre Area School District wants to build should come out at the next public meeting of the city’s Zoning Hearing Board.

The board’s agenda for the Oct. 19 session listed three items regarding the proposed construction on the grounds of Coughlin high school on North Washington Street.

The nearby Times Leader building on North Main Street also figures into the district’s plans.

Panzitta Enterprises Inc. is asking for a special exception to change the existing nonconforming use of the Times Leader building from a newspaper publishing and distributing facility into “a public school building,” according to the agenda.

Panzitta has been in discussion with Civitas Media, the parent owner of the Times Leader, about purchasing the building.

The school district has two pending requests regarding the proposed construction.

In one it’s seeking approval to build “a 350,000 square foot public school building’ on the 80 N. Washington St. property. The city’s zoning code permits a 25 percent expansion on the site, but the district wants to go further to 55 percent. In order to make deliveries to the new building, vehicles would have to back in and back out of the loading area onto the street and the width of the driveway would have to be increased to 42.25 feet from the maximum allowed 30 feet.

In the other, the district wants to reconfigure a parking lot at 83 N. Washington St. and reduce the required setback distance to 5 feet from 10 feet and increase the width of the driveway to 35 feet from the maximum allowed 30 feet. The distance between the driveways would also have to reduced to 20 feet from the required 40 feet.

The hearing begins at 4:30 p.m. and will be held in city council chambers on the fourth floor of City Hall.