The Chagrin Falls Intermediate School will open Aug. 20 right on schedule with no immediate zoning reviews or permits required.

A story in the July 18 edition of the Times reporting possible delays in the opening of the renovated school building due to a missed lighting review was incorrect. The Times regrets the error.

While the opening of the Intermediate School will not be affected, there are loose ends in regard to zoning that the Chagrin Exempted Village School District will need to tie up, village officials said.

On Monday, village Administrator Rob Jamieson described the required zoning variance as a formality. At issue are about eight recently installed parking lot poles which were relocated from the original plan.

The school district this week provided the variance application and a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting has been called for 8 p.m., Aug. 27 to review it.

Mr. Jamieson said he was in the process of comparing the original parking plan to what was built to identify which poles changed locations and no longer are grandfathered into the zoning plan.

How and why the lighting plan was changed is unknown, he said, but probably got lost in the cracks of the review process.

Mr. Jamieson credited the schools for being excellent partners throughout the two years they have worked together on the $29 million renovation and expansion of the Intermediate School.

“They have been great in keeping us informed and working with the neighbors and the entire community,” he said of the school district.

He said the variance requests are likely to be approved despite the apparent oversight.

To clarify the current Intermediate School opening, Chagrin Falls Mayor William Tomko issued his own statement on the village website.

“While there are some technical matters remaining that need to be resolved regarding the Philomethian School lighting plan, none of these technical issues will in any way result in a school opening delay,” the mayor stated.

“I have no reason to believe that we will not successfully work through this with the village,” school Superintendent Robert Hunt said. “Everyone has the same goal of getting our students and community access to the building.”

“I am optimistic and have no reason to believe that we will not successfully work through this with the village as everyone has the same goal of getting our students and community access to the building,” he said.

In addition to the variances, the superintendent said the school is waiting for one more item, its state occupancy permit.

“We do not currently have a certificate of occupancy (but) it has always been our timeline that it would be obtained sometime the first week of August,” he said.

The superintendent added that “it is our understanding that the current lighting that is installed meets the necessary safety and security to obtain this certificate and believe we will have it on time.” 

The superintendent said that “we are in the process of putting furniture in the building and will soon be unpacking instructional materials and look forward to opening on time.”

While everyone involved appeared in agreement the school is ready for opening day, it has been the technicalities that have been frustrating, Mr. Jamieson agreed.

At the July 15 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission there were questions over variance requests that members said should have gone before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Jamieson ultimately told planning and zoning members that the variance issue would not postpone the start of school and informed Mr. Hunt as well.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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