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Waterford - The Representative Town Meeting voted unanimously Monday to extend an option to purchase the Cohanzie School property to Centerplan Companies. Centerplan may now begin applying for approvals from the Planning and Zoning and Conservation commissions.
The vote followed complaints from school neighbors that the development would negatively alter the character of the neighborhood. Centerplan has proposed 154 apartments on the property of the former school, which abuts Dayton Road.
"That is a lot of people in our little neighborhood," said Kenyon Road resident Tamara Tabor. She said she would prefer the school be torn down and replaced with single-family homes.
The school was left vacant in 2008. Last year, the RTM approved funds for the cleanup and demolition of the school. A group of residents started the "Save Cohanzie School" effort to save the school from demolition. Centerplan has said it believes it can save the original 1923 section of the school.
Centerplan Vice President Yves Joseph said his firm would welcome community input as it goes through the approvals process. "As the process plays, out we certainly see opportunity for more forums to sort of get feedback from you," he said.
First Selectmen Daniel Steward said the option to purchase does not guarantee Centerplan will build the proposed development.
- Tess Townsend