BREAKING NEWS MAY 25
The City is moving to enforce the existing Castilleja CUP after years of public outcry.
Here a the link to the letter from the City Manager
There is still a lot to do to protect the neighborhood and Palo Alto from Castilleja's proposed expansion. Thank you for your continuing support.
If you would like a yard sign, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Neighbors who live next to and near Castilleja School are opposed to the requested 30% increase in enrollment, underground garage, and accompanying multi-year construction project.
Everyone agrees that Castilleja is an outstanding school, but adding 130 underground parking spaces will institutionalize our neighborhood with massive concrete structures opposite homes, and streams of cars, trucks, and buses flowing down our neighborhood streets. And at least six years of construction.
"Build it and they will come."
More parking means more cars. That cannot be disputed. Adding hundreds of car trips at peak traffic times on Embarcadero will further solidify the gridlock in and out of Stanford and Paly.
There are many precedents in the Bay Area for private schools re-locating or adding satellite locations in order to expand (e.g. Harker School from Palo Alto). Castilleja was originally designed for 70 students (before cars and traffic). 415 students is already too many for that space.
The R1 neighborhood cannot support an increase in enrollment without drastically deteriorating the quality of residential life we all appreciate in Palo Alto. We ask the City to enforce the permit for 415 students and not allow an underground parking garage.
HOW TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Write, email, and talk directly to City Council and PTC members.
They have the authority to keep the use permit at the current enrollment, which makes the underground garage unnecessary.
Castilleja has revised their plans to remove mature redwoods and oak trees. But now they claim they can transplant six mature redwood trees. We have talked to arborists who say that the trees most likely would not survive, but if they did they will have to be held up with guide wires and they would not grow. They would be sticks in the ground.
WATER AND SEWER
Castilleja is seeking to reduce the public easement that goes through the campus and re-route water and storm drains. The sewer runs through the campus and the easement may be needed for future utilities. We need to make sure this does not happen.
Some preliminary measurements of the water table were done by Castilleja before the big storms, which indicate they are 25-30 ft below grade. The proposed underground garage would allegedly 20 feet deep. But the water table rises and falls, and is absorbed by earth. The entire site will need extensive geological studies to determine how safe it would be for roads and surrounding properties to remove so much landfill.
When Castilleja built the gymnasium, they dug a basement to 30 feet and disrupted the water table DESPITE the studies what indicated it would not happen. Water was pumped out of the site for 6 months. Millions of gallons of water.
We need help spreading the word and getting people to write letters to the City review board, planning and transportation committe, and City Council. The City's website makes it look like a done deal and Castilleja is working the system with its own hired guns. Contact us at email@example.com
HOW YOU CAN MAKE AN IMPACT
Signed statements from 47 individual households in the immediate neighborhood who oppose an underground garage were delivered to Castilleja, PTC, and City Council. No reply from Castillleja, who maintains that neighbors have always wanted an underground garage.
Castilleja wants the City to gift them one lane of Embarcadero between Emerson and Bryant to accommodate the garage, while all of the traffic gets dumped into the neighborhood at Melville Avenue.
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New online version now available >
We have hired a lawyer and traffic consultant. Thanks for any donations.