Chester town code prohibits special schools, planning board chair Don Serotta told a standingroomonly crowd.
Community members packed town hall last Wednesday night to hear how the planning board would respond to an application for a school at Camp Monroe. Serotta said the town allowed specialuse permits for cell towers only. Private schools are not allowed in the town's AR3 zone (agriculture/residential zone).
Furthermore, he said, the summer camp has a preexisting nonconforming use that cannot be altered or increased.
Attorney David Hall, representing the applicants, the Congregation of Heichal Torah, said he would report this information back to his client. He asked if there was any way to change the circumstances so that a school could run, whether through an appeal or other route.
The town's planning board attorney, David Donovan said, "I don't know that there is, but I don't want to say there's not."
Serotta said, "This board only speaks for itself." He said there are other boards and his client could follow the application procedure if he wished.
In addition to the planning board, Chester has a zoning board of appeals, and a town board that oversees both.