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Original post made on Sep 18, 2020

Bravo to Castilleja report

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

Comments (4)

25 people like this
Posted by azr
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm

azr is a registered user.

Regarding the first letter, it should be noted the writer is a trustee of the school. She is defending what no one disagrees with, that educating girls is a great thing. When a school is in an R-1 zone, abiding by their Conditional Use Permit and being straight and honest with neighbors is also a good thing. Many of the letters I see talk about how the school held 50 neighborhood meetings! But the actual neighbors of the school were not invited; Castilleja took its well-paid staff and consultants around on a Palo Alto promo tour to sell their plans and disparage the actual neighbors of the school. As to the second letter, I agree that Mr. Alcheck purported himself with such advocacy for the school that, by the end of the meeting, I wasn't clear if the school's attorney worked for the school, or the City, or Mr. Alcheck? He "disclosed" having just spoken with them, and then proceeded to quote directly from the school's PR playbook and mocked neighbors' concerns. It was a travesty to watch these hard-working commissioners get bullied by one whose motives are unknown but for whom fairness is clearly not a goal.

15 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 18, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Deceptive of the 1st writer not to identify her affiliation, as is their claim that people who oppose their expansion oppose education for girls and women.

22 people like this
Posted by CM
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 18, 2020 at 5:34 pm

CM is a registered user.

Watching the PTC meeting on this EIR was an education indeed. I am not a neighbor of the school but am very interested to see how the City has been allowing it to remain in violation of its CUP, and now seems bent on granting it additional privileges not permitted to any other private school in this area. Commissioner Alcheck was rude to borderline misogynistic to one of his fellow Commissioners, who mildly suggested there was good reason to hear public comment on the 30 page staff report released that afternoon, and that a continuance would be appropriate so all could study the new materials.

Alcheck threw what I (as the mother of small children) would call a fit, insisting the vote proceed even with two commissioners missing. He later apologized for his behavior, but what a distasteful performance. (Do public figures really behave that way here in Palo Alto? Sorry to have witnessed this.) Among his passionate defenses of this project: he made comparisons with Menlo School, noting that Menlo did not count or consult with neighbors about the number of events it holds each year, and wasn't that the kind of admirable go-ahead all schools should have? Perhaps Alcheck is unaware that Menlo sits on 62 acres, with literally acres of parking and open space between its buildings and any nearby homes. By contrast, Castilleja is on a small 6-acre plot in a residential neighborhood, on which it now plans to import more out-of-town students plus staff and faculty, and host some 90+ events per school year. Name another school in Palo Alto that holds that many events? For that matter, name another high school located in a residential neighborhood. Other private schools are held to limits, and obey the rules, which is why they are welcomed. St. Elizabeth Seton made graceful concessions to neighbors and all seem very happy with the respectful results. Why is this one school - no matter how worthy its mission - allowed things no other school is permitted? And why is Mr. Alcheck in such a rush to defend it?

2 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2020 at 10:23 am

Fred Balin is a registered user.

Reprinting my comment from the Castilleja EIR thread.

One more thing …

After the quasi-judicial, Castellija EIR hearing of August 26, with public comment closed and the item continued to a later date, September 9, Michael Alcheck, by his own admission, contacted the applicant in violation of the commission’s procedural rules .

See "Planning and Transportation Commission Procedural Rules,” Section IV-B-5-e (“No Contacts After Hearings”) on Page IV-3 within Web Link .

Hear Alcheck’s disclosure at Web Link .

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