Castilleja's systematic violation of CUP and proposed increase to 540.

Castilleja's systematic violation of CUP and proposed increase to 540.

Proposed garage traffic flow requires all cars to enter on Bryant (bike boulevard) and exit into the residential area at Emerson and Melville, with the exit pointed straight down Melville. However, Castilleja wants to be gifted one lane on Embardcadero so they can rout all traffic from the garage back onto Embarcadero at peak traffic times. Otherwise all traffic can go down Melville or either direction on Emerson.

Proposed garage traffic flow requires all cars to enter on Bryant (bike boulevard) and exit into the residential area at Emerson and Melville, with the exit pointed straight down Melville. However, Castilleja wants to be gifted one lane on Embardcadero so they can rout all traffic from the garage back onto Embarcadero at peak traffic times. Otherwise all traffic can go down Melville or either direction on Emerson.

Castilleja does not report many events, continuing their violation of the CUP. Even with the reported events they hold 10X the permitted number of events afforded to other private schools in the area.

Castilleja does not report many events, continuing their violation of the CUP. Even with the reported events they hold 10X the permitted number of events afforded to other private schools in the area.

Side-by-side comparison of local private schools.

Side-by-side comparison of local private schools.

Timeline of proposed expansion.

Timeline of proposed expansion.

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.

Historical Landmarks

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.