Santa Clarita planning commissioners voted 5-0 to deny Einstein Academy’s plan for a Valencia school site at a hearing Tuesday.
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The move came after support from Einstein parents, and opposition from Hart district and Castaic Union school officials.
“We are continuing conversations with city staff and committed to come up with a traffic plan that will work for all parties involved,” said Jeffrey Shapiro, executive director for Einstein Academy.
However, the most compelling argument for Santa Clarita planners came from city staffers who expressed opposition to a proposed double right turn onto Rye Canyon Road, which traffic engineers claimed would pose a safety concern.
Related article: Einstein Academy Seeks OK On Rye Canyon School Site, Eyes Pinecrest
“This is something that’s been going on for a year and a half,” said Jeff Hogan, planning manager for Santa Clarita. “There are some big issues that there are just some basic disagreements on.”
There are currently 548 students who attend an Einstein Academy site in the Acton Agua Dulce Union School District, which chartered Albert Einstein Academy for the Letters, Arts and Sciences for a K-8 last year.
City staff said they had last-minute information from Einstein Academy officials addressing traffic concerns, but there was still worry over the traffic influx the 650-student total eventually expected at the 25300 Rye Canyon Road site would bring.
“We can work with the applicant after the meeting but I need to know that the applicant is willing to work with us on population,” Hogan said.
Planning Commissioner Lisa Eichman expressed concern over the site choice because it was an industrial park, and shared concern with the other commissioners over the impact to surrounding businesses.
Einstein officials also are planning a site on Orchard Village Road, which is currently a PInecrest Schools site.
The PInecrest Schools site in Valencia is reportedly in escrow and planned for to meet additional need for for K-6 space, according to Shapiro.
More than 1,300 students requested a spot in the academy’s K-6 program when it was opened up for a lottery last May, Shapiro said.
Einstein Academy officials now have the option to petition again or appeal, however, city officials did request additional traffic studies on plans submitted to officials Monday, before an approval could be recommended.
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Source: Santa Clarita News