We are opposed to the proposal of Crystal Springs Uplands School to relocate their middle school to Belmont for the following reasons:
1. The most glaring, insolvable problem with the CSUS proposal is the serious impact it would have on the traffic patterns on Ralston Avenue. There is simply no mitigation of that reality. Could anyone who travels Ralston in the morning be convinced otherwise? Simply changing the time for the beginning of the school day will not cause the additional cars needed to transport CSUS students to school to become invisible or disappear.
2. Hardly less serious is the proposal to re-zone what is already the small amount of Belmont property devoted to industrial/commercial pursuits. Were that not enough, imagine the harmful impact on the remaining commercial activities on Davis Drive that would result from a mixed, in effect, spot zoning decision. No reputable planner would conceive such a situation. The Belmont Planning Commission voted the proposal down 6 to 1.
3. What CSUS proposes to give to the City of Belmont in the form of an in lieu payment in any given year can be taken away by CSUS in any following year. As a non-profit corporation devoted to K-12 education, CSUS has constitutional protection from taxation--the result of a referendum in 1952 and an initiative in 1958--that no court in the world can take away from them. Their in lieu payment would always be simply a freely-offered gift that could always be canceled. Beyond that, an in lieu gift to the City of Belmont would leave other agencies such as the Belmont Library, Belmont-Redwood Shores School District, and the Sequoia High School District out in the cold, whereas they now benefit from taxes levies on the Davis Drive property.
4. The feelings of Belmont citizens whose homes would be impacted by the CSUS development deserve decent respect; many of the homeowners directly affected by allowing CSUS to build their campus are opposed. No one legitimately can use the argument that somehow those homeowners should have know when they purchased their residences that another school would be built on what has been designated as commercial property.
5. The campaign by CSUS to bring their middle school to Belmont and to divide their educational operation between two sites strikes some Belmont citizens as too zealous and out of proportion for the declared goal. Has Belmont ever seen such an expensive public relations effort accompanied by what some have termed "bribes"? Is the ultimate goal of CSUS in the future to move its entire school to Belmont and sell the extremely valuable Hillsborough property? Is a bifurcated school a realistic concept? A member of the Council might ask the school spokesperson that question Tuesday night.
Gordon and Evelyn Seely