[Editor's Note: The following letter was submitted to Belmont Patch by a group of Belmont residents. If you would like to submit a letter to the editor, please email it to email@example.com.]
We have lived in Belmont for years. We’ve raised children, owned homes, and run businesses here. We have also been engaged in Belmont civic and community activities at all levels. We want you to know why we—and many fellow residents—are excited about Crystal Springs Uplands School’s proposal to turn a vacant office site on Davis Drive into a beautiful, green middle school campus that benefits our community. We are not receiving any personal benefit and are not directly connected to the school. We simply care deeply about Belmont and its future.
First, we believe that the use of this site for a middle school is an excellent and better use than commercial alternatives. The campus will have a lower intensity than potential commercial uses of the property. Crystal Springs will significantly reduce the square footage of the buildings, remove hardscape, construct energy efficient buildings and install an all-weather soccer field to which the community will have access. Also, the majority of the owners or property representatives of neighboring commercial buildings on Davis Drive support the proposal.
Second, the financial benefits to Belmont are substantial. Crystal Springs’ guaranteed annual payment of $250,000 ensures fiscal neutrality to the City of Belmont and exceeds current tax revenue collected from the site. This is enough to allow the Belmont school district to not suffer from loss of property taxes, and is also likely higher than what alternative commercial tenants would provide. Crystal Springs has been in business 60 years, and this annual payment is a phenomenal opportunity to secure a stable long-term revenue stream. Crystal Springs is also offering a one-time payment of $1 million that Belmont can use to make a real difference to its infrastructure, services, parks, and schools. In addition, building the campus will inject $33 million into the local economy, creating 200 new jobs as a result of the construction in Belmont and boosting economic activity.
We are convinced that the benefits of the proposal overcome the concerns that have been raised. We know that any business that moves into the Davis Drive office park will generate traffic, but Crystal Springs has a long history of being a considerate, quiet neighbor in a completely residential area. It is planning an early start time to avoid overlap with Ralston Middle School and peak commuting hours. Belmont’s own studies confirm that the school will not have a material impact on existing Ralston Avenue traffic issues. Plus, the school has agreed to long-term monitoring to make sure that its traffic never becomes an issue. It’s hard to imagine a commercial business doing the same.
You can learn more about the Crystal Springs proposal and its benefits to Belmont’s residents at www.csus.org/belmont.
The City Council will consider the project in October. We encourage you to add your voice to the many supporters who have already spoken and ask our elected representatives to approve this project. You can email the Council members at CityCouncil@Belmont.gov. This is important for Belmont’s future!
Thank you for taking the time to understand the huge benefits to Belmont of approving the Crystal Springs project.
Ray and Jennifer Bilsey
Fox School Parents
Cipriani Neighborhood Resident
Stephen Kelley Co-Commissioner, AYSO Belmont-Redwood Shores
RMS and Cipriani Elementary Parent
President, Belmont Chamber of Commerce
Former Vice Chair, Belmont Finance Commission
Belmont Heights Resident Former Fox Parent/PTA President