To the delight of a large group of supporters, the Stoneybrooke Christian School has won the right to keep its portable classrooms on the grounds of a church for at least another five years.
The City Council voted 3 to 1 last week to give the school a reprieve from an earlier order to remove the five portables. It then set a new deadline of Aug. 1, 1996, for the groundbreaking for a permanent set of classrooms.
As a means of checking the school's progress, the council also gave the school one year to submit a master plan for the new classroom construction.
The council decision put an end to a long-simmering neighborhood controversy over the modular classrooms on the grounds of Coast Bible Church. The controversy began when the 310-student school failed to meet its original deadline of Aug. 13, 1990, to get rid of the portables.
Residents whose properties on Country Hills Road abut the church grounds have complained about blocked views and noise from the school. But their chief complaint was the school's failure to abide by the earlier deadline.
"The church is not the issue," said Peter Levin. "The issue is (that) an agreement was made with all parties aware."
But school and church officials told the council that they need more time.
"We want to do something, but we just need time to get this accomplished," said Jack Culp, chairman of the board of Coast Bible Church.
The council ended up siding with the school, with Councilman Kenneth E. Friess dissenting. The council did stipulate, however, that the school spend $15,000 on landscaping to create a buffer between the portables and the nearby homes in lieu of a bond to ensure the school's good faith.