Albert Einstein Academy for the Letters, Arts and Science officials are seeking approval from Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission for a new Santa Clarita school for at a hearing Tuesday, and there are also plans for a second K-6 site in Santa Clarita, officials said.
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School officials are hopeful the site at 25300 Rye Canyon Road will be operational by the next school year. School officials are also planning to open a new K-6 at the Pinecrest Schools site on Orchard Village Road to supplement parental demand, said Jeffrey Shapiro, executive director for Einstein Academy.
The Pinecrest Schools site at 25443 Orchard Village Road in Valencia recently became available, Shapiro said. While the Pinecrest site already is zoned for a K-6, there are still some details to be worked out, Shapiro said, adding that putting a second K-6 there would be “the most likely scenario.”
The Orchard Village location is needed to address parent demand, he said. Einstein Academy received 1,338 applications for student admission last May, and would only be able to accommodate about half that figure at the Rye Canyon Road site, according to city documents.
Santa Clarita staffers are recommending a denial of Einstein Academy’s plan for Rye Canyon Road based on safety, traffic and parking concerns, according to a staff report.
“We worked very hard with staff on their concerns, and we think we’ve addressed them,” said Dave Armstrong of Armstrong Real Estate Advisers, who’s working as a consultant for Einstein Academy on the site’s approval. “The concerns are always, ‘Are you handling traffic safely?’ That’s what it boils down to.”
Einstein Academy is looking to operate a primary school consisting of up to 650 students in grades K-6 with an additional 37 teachers and employees in the Planning Commission report.
With the exception of a 2,100 square foot artificial turf area and a 3,600 square foot concrete picnic area, the proposed primary school would be conducted within the interior of an existing 53,000 square foot commercial building consisting of 32 classrooms, an indoor gymnasium and play area at 25300 Rye Canyon Road.
“We think there’s some confusion about the actual project,” Armstrong said. “We’ve shown that it works and our hope, ultimately, is that it will be approved.”
From the time that the comments were issued to the applicant, Santa Clarita officials made themselves readily available to the applicant in an effort to address these outstanding issues.
The discussion details staff’s concerns regarding unsafe traffic, insufficient on-site stacking capacity, impacts to adjacent intersections and the functionality of adjacent properties, according to the report.
Traffic diagrams and studies created by city officials show a proposed double-right turn onto northbound Rye Canyon Road for the school, which “cannot be supported by staff,” in the report.
The proposed traffic flow would create an unsafe condition in that the turning movement would be unprotected and the inside lane would not have adequate line-of-sight for turns to be executed safely because the outside turn lane would be blocking that line-of-sight, as detailed in a diagram from city officials.
“Assuming that each family has two students attending the school, there would be in excess of 300 vehicles requiring a parking space within a parking lot that only provides 123 parking spaces,” the report stated.
There was also concern the Rye Canyon Road-Avenue Scott intersection might not have the capacity to facilitate the proposed school use during peak times as a result of the high number of vehicles exiting the site and turning right onto Rye Canyon Road.
“This is clearly something that’s important to our community,” Shapiro said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to meet the needs and demands of families in Santa Clarita.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News