The project would require several major variances.
- Setback violations along Bryant Street, Emerson Street, and Embarcadero Road.
- Violation of lot merging restrictions for R1-10,000 zoned parcels at 1235 and 1263 Emerson Street
- Reduction of the public easement form 25 ft to 10 ft to make room for the garage. We do not want Castilleja messing with public easements. The neighborhood needs this safeguard and it may be needed for future utilities. They already intend to re-route the storm drain and water lines.
Castilleja already enjoys special treatment, compared to other private schools in the area:
View comparison of local private schools >
The proposed project will add hundreds of car trips daily to an already gridlocked area, at the same time Palo Alto High School traffic is at a peak, and concurrent with Stanford commute traffic.
An underground garage for 130 cars is not in alignment with the City's master plan for R1 neighborhoods. Castilleja has knowingly violated their use permit for 15 years. That should not be rewarded.
- Castilleja is located in a residential area zoned R1 and operates under a conditional use permit (CUP) granted by the City of Palo Alto.
- The CUP is for 415 students, but there are currently 438 students enrolled. Castilleja has been in violation of the CUP since 2002.
- On June 30, 2016, Castilleja submitted a new CUP application requesting a 30% increase to 540 students.
School Events Per Year
Castilleja currently holds more than 100 events during the school year, plus a summer camp. They are proposing a "reduction" to 90 events, but some of these events are for 500-700 people. Castilleja is trying to avoid including these events in traffic studies. We are making sure this is included in the EIR scoping. The impact on the neighborhood can't be understated.
All other private schools in Palo Alto have a cap of 15 events per year.
The proposed project would demolish the historical Lockey House at 1263 Emerson. Castilleja is trying to promote an falsehood about the date of construction in order to avoid the laws governing historical landmarks. We are pursuing this to make sure the truth is known.
Palo Alto Stanford Heritage lists this as a threatened landmark.