December 30, 2013 —
DINGMAN, PA — Following a 45-minute closed session meeting, the Delaware Valley Board of Education tentatively approved a for-sale listing of its controversial former site for a new elementary school on December 19.
The roll-call vote was 6 to 0, with members Chuck Pike, Jessica Decker and Sue Schor absent.
The board set an asking price of $2.25 million for the property.
Board President Pam Lutfy said the district was moving on the decision after receiving an expression of interest about the land.
The board action, by Pennsylvania law, requires court approval before the chosen realtor, Davis R. Chant, can market the 44-acre Milford Township site along the three-lane portion of Route 209, just outside Milford Borough.
The district has $1.9 million in the property, which it agreed to purchase in two transactions announced in August and September of 2011. The sellers were Joseph Biondo and CBH Holdings, which is owned by Chant, Biondo and Peter Helms. The main 40-acre tract was then assessed at $3.25 million.
The board motion included notation of the realtor’s 6% commission on a successful sale.
The land was then seen as relief from the failed property purchase of lands at the nearby Santos Farm, which had fallen through in 2007 with the weakening economy, after the property was found to contain Native American burial sites.
However, the Biondo site soon became controversial when word that a gas line right-of-way on the property would be used in the then upcoming expansion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline interstate transmission line. The pipeline would have been within several hundred feet of the $24-million new school and many parents and officials opposed construction on the site.
In November, district officials made their latest attempt at a school site, as they approved the $1.35 million purchase of some 50 acres of land in Matamoras Borough.
Closing of that deal was made contingent upon the property meeting all the needed permitting and construction requirements. Lutfy said last week that due diligence engineering work was continuing on the land. School officials say the land will accommodate the existing design for the new school without changes.
The board will meet for its work session at the Westfall Administrative offices on January 9 and at Shohola Elementary School for its regular monthly meeting on January 16.