CSUS Proposal.....To be Continued

"I want to find a way to get this school here, but we're not quite there yet."


[Editor's note: Due to the lenghty meeting and late hour at which it concluded, the following is an abbrievated summary of last night's public hearing. A more in depth story will follow on Wednesday.]

After a marathon public hearing, the voted 4-1 Tuesday night to grant a continuance at the request of Crystal Springs Uplands School on its application to build a middle school on Davis Drive in Belmont.

Prior to the opening of the hearing in Belmont City Hall, officials from CSCU requested the continuance in order to "sharpen their pencils" with regards to the which was one of the five entitlements being discussed at the hearing.

The purpose of the public hearing was for the planning commision to consider five entitlements related to the application for consruction of a 60,000 square foot : development agreement, general plan amendment, planned development rezoning and a conceptual development plan.

The development agreement, by which CSUS would make financial allocations to the city in return for developing the site, was discussed at length. In its current agreement, CSUS has offered $75,000 to the city to offset the cost of public safety services, and $40,000 in scholarship money for a Belmont student(s) to attend CSUS.

Following a presentation by city staff and CSUS officials, 28 members of the public addressed their commission expressing their support or opposition to the project.

Traffic mitigation issues and loss of tax revenue to the city were the most frequently mentioned to the project. cited the benefits of having a prestigious private school located within Belmont and the fact that the buildings on the site upon which the school would be built are currently vacant.

At the conclusion of the public comments, planning commission chair Kristen Mercer asked for a vote on continiuing their decision on the application. The commission voted 4-1 to continue the decision to a future date undecided.

Amanda Greco June 21, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I also attended the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday evening and stayed through the end. Let’s be honest in our consideration of the two predominant issues of public concern 1) traffic and 2) lost income to the city, and not lose sight of the big picture and the opportunity that has been presented to our community to receive an esteemed institution who proposes to make a beautiful investment in our community. CSUS has already demonstrated great steps toward becoming a responsive neighbor. They offer to cover their share of public amenities like police, fire, etc., pay the city to compensate for lost tax income, share their sports facilities (soccer field, likely the swimming pool too) with our public, contribute to the local school fund, and more. After the feedback provided by the Commissioners, CSUS has returned to the table to see what more they can do to sweeten their offer and prove their intent to contribute positively to our community.
Amanda Greco June 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Yes, traffic along the Ralston corridor is a problem in our town. But it’s not a problem that will be exacerbated by CSUS’ proposal. Any other use of the vacant lots at Davis Drive will result in more traffic than CSUS. The school’s traffic density is a fraction of what is produced by Ralston Middle School and the commercial neighbors, and CSUS has robust systems already in place to manage traffic flow in and out of their Hillsborough campus that will be expanded for use here. Any commercial resident would add more traffic than would the school, and might also require large delivery trucks rumbling up and down the hill and beeping their horns as they back in and out of driveways. We want a vibrant, healthy city in all dimensions and income from commercial taxes are of course very important. CSUS is going back to “sharpen their pencils” and enhance their current offer, which will likely match or exceed expected tax revenue from commercial use of the space. And the school has agreed to use San Mateo County guild craftsmen in the construction of the site, which will generate much needed jobs.
Amanda Greco June 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Amidst all the chatter about our need for a business-friendly environment, let’s not forget what appeals to people – businesspeople and residents alike. Beautiful places, vibrant communities, optimistic allies in local government, supportive communities, and amenities for workers, residents, and their families. The vision that CSUS puts forth to build a state-of-the-art, LEED certified building, to be stewards with us in the care of Water Dog Lake and canyon, to extend use of their sports facilities to our families, and to elevate the educational offerings of our town is exciting. Let’s be open-minded as they return to the drawing board to work on their proposal, and support our Commissioners and City Council Members as they evaluate the plan. Let’s not miss this opportunity to raise the real estate values and educational environment in our great community with a responsive, esteemed neighbor like CSUS.
Member June 21, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Last time I heard, Belmont's General Plan is not for sale!
Bob June 21, 2012 at 11:39 PM
If it was for sale, we should hope it would be to the benefit of people that reside in Belmont. This plan does not benefit the people of Belmont. Historically CSUS has not served the residents of Belmont to a large degree and I do not believe it does currently. If so, I imagine they would have stated so. Belmont can not afford to subsidize CSUS for the sake of prestige


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