An Allegheny County Court judge may rule on a legal challenge by Quaker Valley School District for the proposed new Quaker Valley High School within the next few months.
The property straddles Leet, Edgeworth and Leetsdale.
Leet Township zoning hearing board denied the district’s special exception application for a proposed high school earlier this year.
Quaker Valley’s 45-page appeal was filed in Allegheny County Court on April 12.
A virtual status conference took place June 16 with Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph James and attorneys representing the district, ZHB and a small group of petitioners that support the board’s denials.
Legal teams were given 60 days to file briefs to further make their case. Documents are due Aug. 15.
ZHB solicitor Vince Restauri said on June 20 that he expects lawyers on both sides to “talk a good deal” leading up to the deadline. There is no deadline for the judge to act.
“I don’t assume any judge will find one way or the other,” Restauri said. “Judges do look at all sides and make the decision they think is correct.”
He said the judge has received all the evidence, transcripts, notifications and other related documents from the various zoning board public hearings about the project.
There were about 4,776 pages in total including 2,439 pages of transcripts and 734 pages of exhibits, including zoning maps and conceptual site drawings.
Ristauri said there is no new evidence for the court to receive.
District Solicitor Don Palmer on June 22 declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
Attorney Lou DePaul represents a pair of area residents who are in favor of the ZHB’s denial and have filed a petition to intervene in the matter.
Petitioners’ claims include “the proposed use is dangerous, injurious, and noxious to property and persons within Leet Township; the proposed location is not more suitable than other properties in Leet Township (and) the proposed location is objectively not suitable,” according to court documents.
DePaul also declined to comment.
Leet’s zoning hearing board on Feb. 9 denied the district’s application. Its main reason was the lack of an emergency access road for police fire and EMS.
District officials had said they did not object to the idea, but that it would be more suitable in a land development plan and not an exception application.
The preliminary plan for the school would use about 48 acres for the building and grounds. The site already has 10 acres cleared, but the district wants to leave a lot of existing growth as a buffer.
The school district wants to build an estimated 167,000-square-foot facility on about 150 acres of land off Camp Meeting Road. Project costs were estimated to be between $90 million and $100 million. About 650 students would eventually be enrolled.
The Allegheny County Court’s decision could be appealed to a state appellate court.
The tour site is being planned for later this summer.
Quaker Valley has given project updates at previous school board meetings, as well as through the Blueprint QV section of the district’s website, qvsd.org.