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ALPINE SEEKS OTHER OPTIONS FOR NEW SCHOOL

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City officials want a new elementary school in Alpine but are continuing to delay on Alpine School District's request to supply water rights for a site already selected.

The City Council wants the district to look at other options on where to build the school.The district has a 10-acre site picked out near 800 South, which joins Alpine Highway (U-74) on the west, but it would require a major new road to tie into the highway and Sunset Drive, a bridge and possibly a pedestrian crossover.

Meanwhile, the delay is preventing at least one other landowner from developing his property until officials decide on the school's location. Lynn Mecham wants to split his five-acre parcel down to half-acre parcels, but that would require a zone change from the present one-acre limit.

The Planning Commission denied his request, labeling it spot zoning. The City Council tabled it, citing concerns over where the school might go. Mecham's request included building a road into his planned subdivision that would connect to the future road that would pass in front of the school.

"We want the school here (in Alpine)," said Councilman Rob Bateman, encouraging John Robbins, real estate specialist for the district, not to give up on the present site, but to look at other options for at least the next 30 days. The district also has another site in Highland, but won't use both immediately.

Meanwhile, even if the site near 800 South was selected, the school wouldn't be built right away. Rather, officials said, it could be turned into a park and ball field until the district is ready to build within two to five years.

"I expected a decision but didn't get one," said Robbins. "Nobody had done their homework. Nobody had any answers."

Tied to the school are issues concerning where a new fire station will be built. The school district is sitting on an option for the land that expires April 17, waiting for the City Council to decide on water rights for the property.

The district will pay the appraised price, said Robbins, but is asking the city to supply the water because the landowner isn't including those rights. Including the rights with the land would boost the price over the appraisal, preventing the purchase, Robbins said.