Planning Commission approves private school

Planning Commission approves private school
Photo/City of Alexandria 424 N. Washington St.

By Cody Mello-Klein |

The Potomac Crescent Waldorf School, a private elementary school, received unanimous Planning Commission approval on April 7 of its plan to move into 424 N. Washington St.

The school currently has 55 students but hopes to increase enrollment to 155 students over the next few years. PCWS aims to move into its new location from its current King Street location in September.

The location at the corner Oronoco and North Washington streets has raised some concerns from residents about safety for students along the busy street.

There would be a 10-minute period for pick up and drop off each day in the morning and afternoon that would take place in the five parking spaces located in front of the new location on North Washington Street in Old Town, according to city staff. During the public hearing portion of the meeting, residents claimed the busy thoroughfare poses traffic and safety problems.

“During the hours that they propose drop off and pick up, the north side of Oronoco is packed – those lanes are filled,” resident George Best said. “So, to make use of the parking space, you’re going to have cars stopped in the middle lane. That’s going to create danger. Even if you don’t have cars stopped there, you have people pulling out of the pick-up and drop-off zone into high speed or heavy traffic.”

In response to comments from several speakers, Planning Commissioner Melissa McMahon pointed out that the site was previously occupied by a daycare and that there are at least five other schools either along Washington or less than a block away from it.

The permit was approved unanimously, 7-0, and goes before City Council on April 23.