http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2014/03/05/city-to-castilleja-apply-for-new-permit


Town Square

City to Castilleja: 'apply for new permit'

Original post made on Mar 5, 2014

City planners are urging Castilleja School to apply for an amended use permit as a way to resolve neighborhood traffic concerns around the school.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:46 AM

Comments

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Posted by Professorville dad
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

"I understand that the city's position of not immediately requiring a 33-student reduction to the 415 maximum enrollment will be unpopular with some members of the community," Keene wrote.

"However, we are of the opinion that the impacts of the school on adjacent neighborhoods are the most important factor in determining the appropriate maximum enrollment figures. A process to amend the (conditional use permit) will allow for the proper studies and analysis to be prepared so that we can understand the school's impacts, thereby assisting the city to make the correct decision regarding the future of the school."

Who agrees with me that this is fine and dandy, but Castelleja should START by first getting their enrollment number back down to the previously agreed-upon number?


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Posted by Palo Alto Fan
a resident of University South
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

It sounds like the City and Castilleja are finally back on track. Yes, Castilleja should have done things differently. But, there was never a safety or Fire Marshall issue from the increased attendance at Castilleja. I agree with Mr. Turner and Keene. Let Castilleja present a responsible traffic plan. If they can grow responsibly, then they should be allowed to do so. This is a higher standard than the three North Palo Alto elementary schools, Jordon Middle School, and Palo Alto High School have had to do as they grow. Glad to see the discussion looking at the future and not dwell on the past.


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Posted by Hermia
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:55 am

I wonder how much money those 33 extra girls represent for the school.
Kids should not be punished for the misdeeds of their elders, but some administrators made a willful choice to violate the permit, and put the relationship of the school to the city at risk. Those persons should be held accountable, and of course the headcount reduced to the legal number.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:06 am

I appreciate there is a difference between a private school and our public schools, but there is no difference if you are a neighbor of either.

From my experience the public schools are not as obliging to their neighbors as Castilleja. Of course all neighbors to both knew that there was a school there when they decided on living there so in that sense there is no difference. But the public schools could learn a thing or two about being good neighbors from all this.


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:12 am

Unlike the rest of us, apparently Castilleja does not have to comply with its legal obligations. What a joke.


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Posted by Jean
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:12 am

Are there other ways to help this situation right now? Have the efforts been made to organize carpools? Can the street be made one way? How about officers at commute/school pick up and end times to keep traffic moving in an organized mode? Pick up and delivery of students is a problem in all school neighborhoods. School busses used to take care of this problem in the days when money was more plentiful for school districts. Private schools need to make some arrangements for traffic problems in neighborhoods.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

@hermia - 33 students = $1.2 million dollars in tuition money. That doesn't include the generous donations made by the often very wealthy families.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:55 am

> City planners are urging Castilleja School to apply for an
> amended use permit as a way to resolve neighborhood traffic
> concerns around the school.

What does this mean? People are complaining that there is too much traffic, and that somehow this traffic is related to the school's not complying with the law and restricting their enrollment to that to which they agreed when they applied for their last use permit.

So--does reapplying mean that the City will grant whatever number they come up with? If so, how does that help the problem?

Also got to wonder why the City didn't fine the school in the amount of the tuition that the school received from the students exceeding the current use permit?

Generating more paperwork does not seem to be much of a solution for those impacted by this process.


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Posted by Tony
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Private schools should be treated the same as we treat Public schools.
On one hand we pay PAUSD millions of dollars for Cubberley, Tolerate increased enrollment and traffic at public schools but fine Castilleja $300,000.
Seems unfair.


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Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm

As a current parent, I have two questions for our school head, Ms. Kauffman.

Given that this is Ms. Kauffman's fourth year as head, why did it take her 4 years to admit her over-enrollment issue to the City of Palo Alto, the neighbors, and last but not least the school's current parents?

Given we have a vested interest in Castilleja, why is it that Ms.Kauffman never reached out to the parent body to inquire as to whether there is a consensus from her most important constituents to enlarge the school from its existing size?

We all deserve better.


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Posted by Carroll
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I bike past castilleja every day. I resent those signs that the "neighbors" have made restricting parking. Only the city can restrict parking. Otherwise anyone can fill a coffee can with concrete and post no parking wherever. I feel like giving those objectionable signs a swift kick as I pass by! Get a grip guys. Is it because it's a private school? I also pass by several public schools on my way. There is no less and certainly no more traffic, congestion, and craziness at any one of them.


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Posted by History repeats itself
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Historically, Castilleja has not followed the laws, so why should they start now? Fines are not substantial enough to affect them, unless they approach half a million dollars.

Until then, they will abuse the OPA residents and the city.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm

If they pay the fine they made $900,000 by unilaterally breaking their obligations. Gee, I wonder if they will do it again.

Maybe a $1.5M fine would be more appropriate.


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Posted by Jeepers!!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Leave it to Palo Alto to make a poop storm over 33 girls getting an outstanding education.

Yes they violated the CUP….and they paid their fine….and they are working with the city to figure this out... time to move on. On the scale of 1-10 for serious issues facing this community, Casti's indiscretion is somewhere between a zero and a one.

My goodness. So upset about 33 girls. And this is the same community that fights tooth and nail to get their extra 30 spots at the dish - ironic - it's okay to come and park non stop at the dish 365 days a year - but 33 girls - 160 days only at drop off and pick up …. no no no.

Jeepers!!!


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 7:36 pm

There are a number of students that live less than 8 blocks from the school, yet drive their cars to school, leaving them parked in front of neighborhood homes all day. The school should encourage these kids to ride their bikes or walk to school.


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Posted by liz
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Tony - ??????
Dont get your logic - they are not the same.


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Posted by kate
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Kidnapping and sexual assault are a couple of reasons kids don't walk even a few blocks to school. As far as I know, people don't own the road in front of their houses.


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Posted by big al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm

anyways, i grew up not far from the school. rode my bike past there today. noticed all the folks with their signs up saying not to park in front of their homes/this side of street, and it used to be just a few houses, but now all the neighbors seem to be in on it because everybody is trying to pretend that they own the street, and truth be told, they don't, and nobody has to honor this pathetic attempt to reclaim their street parking. I think it's funny. People making a big deal about nothing. Sure, I know, the school is an inconvenience, blah blah,but welcome to the real world, other people have to deal with much worse than that, ofcourse the school is probably getting carried away with the enrollment since they charge so much per year it would be hard not to, who can blame them? those rich folks living around there didn't get that way by playing by the rules themselves all the time did they? live and let live. fixate on something else. find a healthy habbit. The school isn't going anywhere, and the traffic in town isn't going to get better soon either. Don't take all your life frustrations out on a few innocent girls and some faculty who find the money to sweet to refuse.


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Posted by NIMBY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm

We should tear down every last school in Palo Alto so that upstanding citizens like my fellow commenters don't have to deal with the traffic caused by selfish young people getting an education!


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Many who post have no understanding of the history of the CUP or its requirements. When the CUP was approved, it was approved with the following express statement by the City: "the approved Conditional Use Permit does not provide any increase in students over the 415 students, and . . . any subsequent request for additional students would not be favorably looked upon by the City." Knowing full well that they could not openly exceed their 415 student legal obligation, Castilleja's administration pursued a scheme to violate that obligation and conceal it from the City and their neighbors for 12 years. Finally, last year, they were forced to fess up.

This is not only an issue of parking and traffic, it also is an issue of dishonesty, concealment, and failure to comply with binding legal obligations.

And it is an issue of a feckless City government unwilling to enforce its own permit requirements when the violator is a wealthy private school -- as opposed to any ordinary business, which surely would not have been cut the same slack.

Castilleja of course is free to apply for a new CUP if it chooses. I expect that any such application will be fiercely opposed by many, but that is not relevant to the present situation. The bottom line is this: Unless and until a new CUP allowing for increased enrollment is approved, Castilleja should be required to honor its existing CUP obligations. That is how the City would treat any other person or business.

Whatever one might think about the value of the education Castilleja provides (which I am certain is outstanding), or the impact on the neighborhood of 33 additional students, I would hope that everyone would understand the obligation of every resident to comply with legal obligations and the need for cities to enforce compliance when necessary. The City's failure to require compliance with its own permit is a terrible precedent.


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Posted by Paly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Talk about traffic issues; Castilleja is nothing but a blip on the danger scale. How about all of the Paly kids riding there bikes east on Churchill, into traffic, when the light goes green for the Westbound traffic; because they can't wait, oh the "entitlement", for the light to go green for them to proceed legally, westbound. Some day, a Paly student will ride his bike straight into a car proceeding legally and we will hear the screams of the bike crowd saying the evil car drivers have hurt another bicyclist. Go watch the show for yourself and see what I mean. Ugly. And these Castilleja neighbors are worked up about parking? Give me a break.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:13 pm

To: Chris Kenrick - please correct your error. The city instructed Castilleja to reduce enrollment by 10 girls within the next two years, 4 in 2014 and 6 more in 2015.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2014 at 11:35 pm

To "Paly" poster: their bikes, there are bikes, they're riding their bikes over there. Oy vey dear Paly. This is why Castilleja is in so much demand.


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Posted by 5.56 Ducat
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2014 at 7:33 am

"There are a number of students that live less than 8 blocks from the school, yet drive their cars to school, leaving them parked in front of neighborhood homes all day. The school should encourage these kids to ride their bikes or walk to school."

Neighbor--how do you know where the students live? are you stalking them?
I thought that there were strict rules regarding parking near the school by students, so your claim sounds bogus. Anyway, the streets are public, so they have a smuch right to park there are anyone else.


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Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 6, 2014 at 9:27 am

A couple of observations: 1) The correct way to handle this is for Casti to apply for an updated CUP. 2) It never ceases to amaze my the lengths people will go to attack private schools. Since you can not do this to public schools...they seem to love to pick on private schools. 3) If you bought a house next to a school expect traffic. It comes with the territory. We live in the Bay Area there is traffic everywhere. If you want a retirement community move elsewhere...Casti is an exceptional school. Lucky to have great options and resources for all children.


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Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2014 at 11:10 am

How about having the school stay IN compliance for as long as they were out of compliance, and THEN they can apply to up their permit.

At least need to make sure they're able to follow the rules. If the city merely ups their numbers, what's going to keep them from violating it again?


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Posted by Jana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Kate, You live in a poorer part of town, where there are lots of abandoned cars, etc. on the streets. Don't speak for the neighbors near the school.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

If you don't want to live near a school don't buy a house near one. No one who lives in the Castilleja neighborhood was there before the school so they all chose to live there. We specifically didn't buy a house on Amarillo for this reason. We have no connection to Castilleja, so there is no prejudice in this note.

Note to neighbors of Casti - put your big boy pants on and stop whining!


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Posted by Vic shore
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Amazing that two people will not let go of this issue despite the agreement with the city. One of the complainers published a letter in today's Daily News-- from reading it, you would think that the school was somehow ruining the neighborhood.
I bet you the houses near the school are still selling for top dollar. All these complaints about traffic, parking etc. are just part of the sense of entitlement some residents have. The streets are public people-- you do. It own the street by your home


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Posted by another deep throat
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm

No point in being divisive concerning private vs. public schools here in Palo Alto. I recollect a member of the PAUSD Board of Education (3 word name) has (or had) a daughter attending Castilleja! Probably we should all learn to get along.