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Developers want traffic signal for CVS Pharmacy in Natrona Heights

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 12:46 a.m.

The developers of a pharmacy planned for the former Heights Elementary School property are asking PennDOT to approve traffic lights at the corner.

That is one request of RBG Development, which wants to build a CVS Pharmacy to replace the one located at Heights Plaza Shopping Center a few blocks away.

Highlands School District officials got their first look Monday night at the new CVS site plan.

Dale Greco from RBG Development presented a plan that includes a larger pharmacy building than the existing one.

The new CVS building would be slightly smaller than the elementary school building.

The overall plan includes installing traffic lights at the corner of Freeport Road and California Avenue.

Motorists would be able to enter the new pharmacy site by making a right turn on Freeport Road at the corner of the property closest to the adjacent China House restaurant.

That same curb cut will allow only right turns, toward Tarentum, out of the parking lot.

A drive-through lane will be part of the new building.

Greco expects to meet with PennDOT officials soon to determine whether the traffic lights will directly service motorists on the Broadview Boulevard side of Freeport Road, too.

Following PennDOT approval, RBG officials will present the plan to the Harrison Township Planning Commission, which would then forward a recommendation to township commissioners.

A zoning change is needed.

There are no plans for the vacant lot at the rear of the building.

Greco told the school board that sometimes other commercial entities follow a large drugstore building, citing his company's work on the Walgreens Pharmacy in Oakmont, which was soon followed by a new PNC Bank branch opening next door.

Greco told school district officials that the 15-mph speed limit on Freeport Road during the start and finish of school days will continue to be observed.

Ross Street crossing concerns

School district officials continue to be concerned about students crossing Ross Street in Tarentum, where Grandview Upper Elementary School is located.

Assistant Superintendent Patrick Graczyk is hoping to get the times when the 15-mph sign is flashing extended.

The sign flashes from 7:50 to 8:50 a.m. and from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

Graczyk asked the school board to consider a window of morning times of 6:40 to 7 a.m., and 8 to 8:50 a.m., along with afternoon times of 2:40 to 2:55 p.m. and 3:25 to 4 p.m.

Buses from the high school and middle school pick up and discharge students in front of Grandview, requiring a Ross Street crossing before the Grandview elementary start and finish times.

Wrestling could return

The Highlands High School wrestling program could be making a comeback.

The school board Monday is expected to hire a coach for the upcoming winter season.

Highlands had to shut down its wrestling program last school year because of lack of participation.

Senior Nolan Wise, representing 27 prospective wrestlers, urged the school board to resurrect the program.

Board members agreed, but Graczyk said the team will have to play an exhibition schedule against other schools on their open dates.

Under WPIAL guidelines, a school that shuts down a sports program can't be aligned in sectional play the following school year.

Proposal: Directors can't coach, too

School board members Monday are expected to get their first look at a new policy for board members who volunteer with district organizations.

Policy Committee members William Krzton, Michael Masarik and Eric Miles said the guideline would affect only positions the board routinely votes on such as sports coaching positions.

Their response came in reply to a question by board member Ron Lang, who serves as head girls varsity basketball coach.

It would exclude board members who wish to serve on something like a PTO committee or on a district book drive, after Director Laura Thimons questioned the committee.

The new rules would go into effect starting with the 2014-15 school year.

Board President Carrie Fox said the board won't be voting on the proposal until at least October.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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