Opponents and supporters of Castilleja’s enlargement ring the bell


Revised website plan of the Castilleja college. The illustration comes from plans submitted to the town by WRNS Studio.

Every day newspaper editor

Within the first of two hearings on a proposed enlargement of the Castilleja college, neighbors argued final evening {that a} proposed 78-car storage would considerably enhance site visitors whereas supporters say the women’ college will enhance the worth of properties.

The Council will vote on the proposal subsequent Monday.

Opponents have targeted on the proposed storage, which city planners and Castilleja name a “basement”. If council determines that this can be a storage, its sq. footage could be included within the calculations for the venture, making it too massive for metropolis zoning requirements.

Nevertheless, neighbor Jeff Levinsky identified that it was not a basement as a result of no a part of the storage is beneath a constructing – and the women from the college would attain the storage by way of a tunnel.

And if it’s a storage, the college must pay tons of of 1000’s of {dollars} in extra charges.

Levinsky mentioned there was an insufficient precedent within the metropolis’s zoning historical past that might enable such a facility to be thought-about a basement.

Resident Lisa Van Dusen, who has spoken out in favor of increasing the college, mentioned it was “fairly clear” to her that “everybody will get one thing, and no occasion, y together with Castilleja, doesn’t get every part ”within the venture.

“That is the character of compromise,” Van Dusen mentioned, including that the underground parking zone will assist the neighborhood by eradicating parked vehicles from the road.

She mentioned she heard that some individuals do not like Castilleja, as a non-profit instructional group, not paying property taxes. However she identified that oldsters of pupils in Castilleja de Palo Alto nonetheless pay property taxes that partly go to colleges even when their daughters don’t attend public faculties.

Dusen mentioned the college’s enlargement will enhance property values.

However Mary Sylvester, who has been a neighbor of the college for 43 years, mentioned: “There shall be long-term impacts for Palo Alto when it comes to security, site visitors quantity and congestion if this venture is allowed to go. unfold as outlined, in addition to the manufacturing of unhealthy greenhouse gases that contribute to local weather change. “

Sylvester mentioned Bryant Avenue Bicycle Boulevard runs previous the place vehicles come out and in of the storage. Car site visitors could be harmful for kids and different cyclists alongside the cycle boulevard, she mentioned.

Castilleja, which fees $ 52,000 a 12 months in tuition charges, needs to develop so it could enhance its enrollment from 426 to 540 college students.

A number of college students mentioned the college wanted to increase to help women’ training.

“The world wants extra ladies leaders, engineers and troopers and every part that we’re able to,” younger Castilleja Ashni Sheth informed the council.

Sheth mentioned Castilleja alumni have discovered careers as Olympic gold medalists, founders of nonprofits, leaders of massive tech corporations, in authorities places of work and extra.

Areli Hernandez, additionally a junior from Castilleja, shared comparable emotions when she mentioned she needed the college to increase to permit extra younger ladies to become involved within the girls-only robotics program within the ‘college.

Not one of the opponents expressed a want to hinder women’ training. Their issues targeted on site visitors and the compatibility of the venture in a neighborhood of single-family houses.

Neighbors puzzled why the venture was going by way of the town’s approval course of since Castilleja was not respecting its present conditional use allow which limits registration. The town mentioned Castilleja had already paid a wonderful of $ 265,000 and was following a plan to cut back enrollment. However residents are usually not proud of this.

“We dwell in an excellent metropolis and love educating women and boys, and supporting faculties of all types. I can actually say that I’ve by no means heard a neighbor say that Castilleja shouldn’t rebuild and modernize their college, ”neighbor Andie Reed, a retiree from Palo Alto, informed the council. “We want they’d rebuilt their college years in the past and we might finish it. The issue is, after all, the dimensions and scope of the enlargement. All the advantages of this over-ambitious enlargement go to the college, a non-public, tax-free firm, and none to the town of Palo Alto. “

She mentioned that “the steamroller of a non-public college” is making an attempt to take management of the neighborhood “utilizing huge wealth, affect and gile”.

The enlargement plan additionally requires the elimination of 18 timber, however 99 new timber could be planted.

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