At Tuesday’s City Planning Commission meeting, members took no formal position on two private school-related issues, instead opting to have the items brought back after further staff evaluation.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church sought approval of a Minor Use Permit to continue operating a K-8 elementary and preschool on church grounds. In past years, Trinity Classical Academy had used the location.
Supporters of the church and academy also requested the Commission allow an increase of enrollment from the current 160 to a maximum of 218 students.
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The school, which is located in a residential area on Valley Street in Newhall, has created disruption for some community members. Two couples came forward and cited increased amounts of rodents due to discarded food as well as being bothered by noise during the children’s recess.
Matthew Ferguson, a longtime resident, urged everyone be realistic and take practical measures.
“It’s all about realistic expectations. I’d like the dogs not to bark during the day and the lawnmowers not to run, but that’s not a realistic expectation,” Ferguson said.
The Commission agreed, but also felt the church property might be unable to sustain the growing number of students at the school. Members voted unanimously to have City staff review the matter, in pursuit of information with how other schools existing in residential areas, such as Placerita Junior High and Newhall Elementary, have dealt with neighborhood concerns in the past.
The Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts, and Sciences, located across town, asked to expand its operations. The academy currently functions within a 17,877 square foot building on Kelly Johnson Parkway in the Business Park. The applicant sought the addition of a 5,536 square foot second story mezzanine within the building.
The Commission seemed to have no problem with the expansion, but wondered whether the parking lot could accommodate both student drivers and people who work in the Business Park. The Commission voted 5-0 for the improvements, but asked school administrators to consider any future parking conflicts.
The church preschool and private academy will be discussed at the Commission’s meeting on October 5.