Supporters of the project have maintained that it is unreasonable to require the school to return for new conditional use permits, particularly given the amount of time the current process has taken. ” But both he and DuBois said that future reviews could be much shorter because they won’t involve campus reconstruction.
“A lot of comments have been made about how long this review has been,” DuBois said. “When you put it in context, the school is asking for a lot. If this had been an application that met code, the process would have been very short.”
Tanaka and Cormack were more sympathetic to Castilleja’s proposal and recommended approving the school’s plan to ramp up enrollment to 540 and to have 70 “special events” and five “major events” per year, consistent with what the Planning and Transportation Commission approved in 2020 (the commission changed its recommendation and went with a lower number on April 20 after the council ordered a fresh review of the project).
“I think the project before us is responsive to the concerns we’ve heard about trees, design, public art and a lot of other things that we haven’t talked about yet,” Cormack said.
Tanaka also said that it’s time for the council to reach a verdict, which is something it wasn’t able to do when it considered the proposal in . At that time, it recommended a new round of reviews and signaled general support for allowing Castilleja to build an underground garage, provided that it doesn’t contain more than 50% of the school’s required parking spaces.
But the rest of his colleagues made it clear that Castilleja will have to make further compromises before it could win approval. She and DuBois also both alluded hookup bars Syracuse NY to Castilleja’s violation of the enrollment cap in 2013 and argued that any growth plan should include enforcement mechanisms.
“At this time, we do need to move forward and come to a solution and resolve this matter and let the healing process with this community start,” Kou said.
Kou suggested that the council come up with a “maximum buildout” for Castilleja to prevent further expansions
The council will attempt to craft a solution on June 6, at which point it will likely add further conditions to discourage driving and parking in nearby neighborhoods. Nanci Kauffman, head of school at Castilleja, said after the hearing that she is very grateful to all the supporters who came out to speak in favor of the school’s proposal and to the council for its hard work on reviewing the application. The project, she said, is “in the right place.”
“I’ll always stand by having as many students as possible at the school,” Kauffman said. “Let’s hear what else they want to include.”
What I heard repeatedly last night was support for modernization of the campus, within reason. Labels such as slow-growth, residentialist, and nimby need to be retired. Not only are they polarizing, they are tiresome and problematic b/c they are used in an accusatory way to strip away the validity of reasonable concerns. I am relieved that five members of City Council acknowledged that the intensity of the school’s proposal is problematic and encouraged that a reasonable solution will emerge.
I am glad to see Mayor Burt, Vice Mayor Kou, Councilman DuBois, Filseth and Stone are standing up to Castilleja despite the threat from Castilleja attorneys and pressure from Castilleja with packed chamber of school parents. They finally say enough is enough. No more free giveaways to this “nonprofit”institution with millions of dollars endowment. It was funny to hear all these parents blindly following the marching order of the school complaining the school was being mistreated without looking at the facts. The fact is the City already gave the school land of an entire city block for free, the school’s proposal would be over the legal FAR limit by 58%, the city is willing to not counting the sq footage of an underground garage that is not even allowed for homeowners in an R1 zone, city has not enforced any penalty for Castilleja’s continue violation on events and only fined them $285k of 20+ years of over enrollment which the school pocketed millions of dollars profit. It is important to look at the facts.