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Red Apple School seeking to expand

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Published:   |   Updated: March 12, 2013 at 01:45 PM
NEW PORT RICHEY -

City council members will decide soon about giving final approval to changes that would allow Red Apple School to expand the Jefferson Street site of its day training program for developmentally disabled adults.

The nonprofit organization wants to add a classroom with 2,304 square feet to the west of the existing building at 6527 Jefferson St., on the southwest corner with Indiana Avenue.

The proposed expansion would allow the school to accommodate 70 students and 13 instructors or other employees.

Plans also call for extensive additional landscaping along Indiana and Pennsylvania avenues. The site now has three oak trees and a few shrubs. Parking lot reconfiguration will improve traffic flow.

The training program operates in a 65-year-old single-story building with 3,823 square feet. The structure formerly held Sunday school classes for First United Methodist Church. The site has a detached garage of 816 square feet and two storage sheds.

Red Apple School, however, needs a change in rezoning and a special exception application before moving forward with the expansion project. Council members approved both ordinances last month on first reading 4-0. Councilman Bob Langford, a Red Apple School board member, abstained.

Second reading of the two ordinances should be scheduled for a council meeting in the near future.

The city's land development review board lodged no complaints against the Red Apple expansion plan, city officials noted.

Training takes place from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. weekdays. Red Apple has a fleet of eight vans that provide door-to-door student transportation.

The late David Neal, founder of Red Apple, "had a passion for this school," Mayor Bob Consalvo recalled.

In public comments, city council candidate recalled the "outcry" from residents of the surrounding area when Red Apple first moved into Jefferson Street site. But it seems to her that the training center has been a good use of the land and building.

The training facility is an "outstanding use," Councilman Bill Phillips said.


corth@suncoastnews.com (727) 815-1068

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