Stewards of a private Christian school would like to expand the school's York City footprint with housing for some of its teachers and administrators.
A proposal from Logos Academy, 250 W. King St., is pending before the Redevelopment Authority to purchase a city-owned vacant lot and build townhome-style houses in the Historic Newton Square neighborhood.
But, so far, reactions from would-be neighbors have been lukewarm at best.
Jason Lewis, the incoming head of the school, called the proposal "an idea
on the table."
"But we're sort of jumping through various different hoops," he said. "This is quite simply just an idea that we've been trying to move forward on for about a year."
Kevin Schreiber, the city's director of economic and community development, said the school submitted a formal proposal to the RDA in May to purchase and develop the property.
"The RDA wrote them back a counterproposal," Schreiber said. "They have not formally responded to that yet."
The Logos proposal is still pending. No official action has been taken by the RDA, Schreiber said.
Concerns: Michael Jarrett, who lives in a 150-year-old house near the vacant lot, said he has a list of problems with the Logos proposal. First of all, he said, modern-style buildings don't make sense in a historical neighborhood like Newton Square.
"I think it's most important to see that the project as it was proposed is not in keeping with the tenor of this neighborhood," Jarrett said. "It doesn't fit."
Jarrett, 58, said he'd rather see the school renovate some vacant, historical houses in the neighborhood -- as many of the current homeowners did. Building new, cheaper homes is "taking the easy way out," he said.
In July, school representatives came to a meeting of the Historic Newton Square Neighborhood Association "looking for a resolution that would say that the neighborhood was backing this project," Jarrett said.
"A lot of people want this property just left vacant. They really want to see just green space in a city that seems not to have that much green space," Jarrett said.
The goal: Lewis said teacher housing would help the school attract quality teachers to the city.
"I can say, 'Well, we do have staff housing. It's literally right around the corner. You can walk to work every morning,'" he said. "Logos Academy is committed to being here in the city. And so we also want to encourage our employees to live in the city."
Lewis said he's still planning to work with the RDA, but he's been discouraged by the reaction from neighbors.
"This one little piece of real estate is not the only place this idea would work," Lewis said. "But it is discouraging that it's taken this long and some of the reactions have been as extreme as they are."
-- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.