Urbana city and school officials recently had a “positive” meeting about the development of one of the new school buildings and the roads to access it, city officials said.
Urbana City Schools officials and city representatives met last week to continue to discuss a contentious request by the Urbana Planning Commission to extend Washington Avenue as part of the pre-kindergarten to grade eight school to be constructed off Community Drive.
The two sides have been sparring over the roadway for months, with school officials claiming extending Washington Avenue would be too expensive. City officials contend the estimates the school is using for the extension are higher than they should be, and they would rather the district use Washington Avenue as a second entrance to the school instead of Boyce Street, which is older and not designed for heavy traffic.
Urbana Community Development Manager Doug Crabill told the Urbana Planning Commission Monday at its work session that “we had a positive meeting with the school.” He said the city is still looking into a grant possibility to partially fund the extension of Washington Avenue from Dorothy Moore to Community Drive.
“It looks pretty promising, I think, for a portion of the funding for the extension,” he said. Crabill did not have estimates on how much grant funding the project could receive. He added they are looking at what may be done with Boyce Street. “I think it’s fair to say the city and the school district are working together.”
Crabill added the plans for reconstruction of the existing Urbana junior high and high school are moving along, with the school district getting ready to present it to the city for technical review. Crabill said the preliminary plan may be before the planning commission at the February or March meeting.
Though the pre-kindergarten to grade eight building received preliminary site plan approval with conditions, it still needs final approval. The junior high/high school needs both preliminary and final approvals from the city.
The planning commission also discussed a need to update city zoning codes and definitions in the next few months and to add a definition for rooming or boarding houses.
The commission will tackle updating code for signage as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in an Arizona signage dispute. The Supreme Court determined signage could be regulated, but not based on content of the sign. City Law Director Breanne Parcels said the city will review the existing code to update it to match the court’s requirements.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.
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