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P&Z Decision Allows Newtown to Use Chalk Hill as a School

The Monroe P&Z Commission unanimously approved a municipal referral needed for Sandy Hook Elementary School to use the Chalk Hill building.

The Monroe Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved a municipal referral Thursday night, allowing Chalk Hill to be used as a school again. This paves the way for Sandy Hook Elementary School to hold classes at the Fan Hill Road building in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at their school that claimed the lives of 20 children and six teachers and staff.

Following the vote, P&Z Chairman Pat O'Hara excused himself from the meeting because his father died the night before.

"I showed up tonight because Dad was a teacher in Newtown for 27 years and for what the town is doing is amazing," O'Hara said.

Eugene O'Hara was head of the Math Department at Newtown High School.

The Monroe Board of Education had turned Chalk Hill over to the town for municipal use two years ago, when a decrease in student population spurred the decision to close the building as a school.

At a special meeting on Thursday, the P&Z Commission reviewed First Selectman Steve Vavrek and the Board of Education's request to return the building to use as a school in accordance to 8-24 of the Connecticut General Statutes.

The request was approved 5-0 with commissioners O'Hara, Vice Chairman William Porter, Secretary Karen Martin, Jim Weinberg and Brian Quinn all voting in favor of it.

O'Hara asked the two commission alternates Jane Flader, Cathleen Lindstrom and Sean O'Rourke if they also supported it and all three did.

The commission found that use of Chalk Hill as a school is consistent with Monroe's Plan of Conservation & Development.

The building will soon be renamed as Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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