Board To Oppose Day Care In School

Posted: September 20, 1990

The Lower Moreland commissioners will appeal a decision by the zoning board to allow a private day care in a township elementary school.

During a meeting Tuesday, the board voted, 5-0, to challenge a Sept. 12 zoning decision allowing Happy Times Nursery to run a day-care center in Murray Avenue Elementary School.

Commissioner Mark Hinkel left the meeting early and did not vote.

Solicitor Ross Weiss is expected to file the appeal with county court this week.

"We decided it was the way to go," Board Chairman Kurt Mayer told a group of six residents, who also opposed the nursery school.

Pam Levy, a resident of Greenawalt Road, said yesterday that she objected to operating a private day-care center in a public school and was worried about the safety of the students.

Happy Times will remain in operation at the school while the appeal is pending. Mayer said the township would not seek an injunction to stop day care at the school.

The decision came less than one week after the three-member township Zoning Hearing Board unanimously approved Happy Times' request to operate a nursery school in five classrooms in an unused wing of the school.

The commissioners sent Weiss to the hearing to oppose the request because panel members said day care was a commercial business and did not belong in a school.

The School District has worked out a 10-year lease for the classrooms to Happy Times owners Beverly Sigafoos and Donna Heller, according to testimony last week.

The lease is subject to a five-year review, allowing the district to reclaim the space.

The school is open to 421 students in grades three to six.

Annual rent starts at $50,000 and is paid to the district, Sigafoos said.

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