After hearing the concerns of , Crystal Springs Uplands School (CSUS) has amended its development agreement in hopes of getting the green light to construct a new middle school campus in an business park on Davis Drive.
The revised terms of the agreement call for a guaranteed revenue stream to the City of Belmont in the amount of $175,000 annually, with $40,000 of that amount earmarked for use by the city to fund programs for Belmont youth. This amount would come with a 2 percent CPI (Consumer Price Index) cap.
In addition, the school would make a one-time payment of $100,000 for the city's general fund to be used at the discretion of the city.
"We are listening and we want to make it work," said Jill Grossman, a member of the CSUS board of trustees.
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Following a lengthy discussion at the meeting, representatives of CSUS asked for a continuance so they could "sharpen their pencils" with respect to the project's fiscal neutrality, and return to the city with an revised plan that would address .
Public access to the school's synthetic turf soccer field, which was included in the was re-valued at $43,560 (up from $35,000) annually based on the current rental rate of $60 per hour for such a facility. The agreement allows for use of the field on weekends and for three weeks during summer months.
A development agreement is one of the entitlements contained in the school's application to build in Belmont. CSUS officials delivered the to the city on June 11. That document stated that the school would make annual cash payments of $75,000 too the city as an accommodation for the school's tax-exempt status as a non-profit.
The city currently collects $63,975 per year in tax revenues from the vacant property at 6-8 and 10 Davis Dr. Among other things, property tax revenues flow to the city's police and fire districts. Non-profits, such as schools are exempt from paying property taxes.
Grossman and CSUS middle school principal Andrew Davis say the school is doing its best to make the project positive and mutually beneficial to members of the Belmont community.
"We are going to reach out to neighbors and continue the dialogue," said Grossman.
"There's an education process that needs to happen so Belmont understands what kind of school we are," added Grossman.
The would take over the site of a vacant office building and warehouse owned by Cengage, and would consist of three buildings and a synthetic turf soccer field. The approximately 60,000 square-foot independent, co-educational middle school school would be accommodate up to 240 students. School officials say that the expected enrollment would be 216 students in the first year.
Among city officials, there is still concern about the long-term effects of selling off commercial property to a non-profit entity in a city with limited commercial property and business tax base.
The Belmont Planning Commission will consider the revised CSUS development agreement at its July 17 meeting. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of Belmont City Hall, One Twin Pines Way.
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