The auditorium cannot be occupied until the dispute is settled.
At a Zoning Hearing Board meeting Thursday, both sides agreed to disagree about whether there was a violation and submitted a joint stipulation of facts that, lawyers said, should pave the way for a variance.
The stipulation lays out arguments based on the importance of the school to the township and acknowledges the district's contention that it would be impossible to design a smaller building and still fit the auditorium stage inside.
"We feel that the elements of a variance are satisfied," Township Solicitor Fronefield Crawford Jr. told the board, adding that he wanted it to attach conditions to the variance that would prevent the district from altering or adding to the school's existing signs or lighting outside the auditorium. He also wants the district to continue discussions with the township on additional landscaping for the site and fire safety issues.
Board member John Laffey was concerned that the township's fire companies lack equipment that could handle a fire in a tall building. A lawyer for the district said nearby companies with appropriate equipment would help in case of a fire.
The board is expected to decide Aug. 1.
Contact staff writer Anthony Campisi at 215-854-5015 or email@example.com.