School officials to discuss buying day care site

Board to consider Tuesday buying property at 525 San Antonio Road

The Palo Alto Unified School District plans to press on with its plan to buy a 2.6 acre property near the Mountain View border despite a plan by a local developer to build 10 houses at the coveted site.

The homebuilder SummerHill Homes Inc. last week won the approval from the city's Planning and Transportation Commission to build 10 houses on large lots at 525 San Antonio Road. The property, which is contiguous to Greendell School and Cubberley Community Center, has also been eyed by the school district as a possible site of a new school.

The site had housed the Peninsula Day Care Center, which closed in June after 35 years of operation.

The school board plans to discuss the steps necessary to buy the property Tuesday. According to a statement from the school district, the board also plans to talk about "preliminary findings from inspections being conducted at the site, terms of the purchase and sale agreement and funding sources for this purchase."

School officials have consistently maintained that the district needs more facilities to accommodate a surge in student population, particularly in south Palo Alto. Superintendent Kevin Skelly said in a statement that the property "offers many exciting possibilities."

"Staff believes that an opportunity to acquire property adjacent to an existing site and in a part of the district where enrollment growth is most pronounced is worthy of strong consideration," Skelly said.

SummerHill's earlier plan to build 23 houses at the site drew intense opposition from city officials and neighborhood residents who argued that the area doesn't have sufficient transportation and services to accommodate a surge in growth. The company responded by presenting a much more modest plan that would not require a zone change. The Planning and Transportation Commission approved the 10-home proposal with little discussion and no public opposition.

School district officials have also been in discussions with SummerHill about potentially acquiring the property.

Gennady Sheyner

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Posted by Getting Fed up
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Sep 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Really?? Now the school district is interested in buying this property?? Really?? Now that the developer has an approved plan and can move forward with this project that has been in discussion for years. Let me repeat, years. Couldn't have said anything earlier huh? "Gee, we don't know, we might want to buy it but don't let this hold up any development plans." The planning committee meeting where approval was given for the new subdivision was just last week. Way to go School District for throwing a monkey wrench into it.

Like this comment
Posted by Eva
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Although I love having Ventura Center as open space (and it serves lots of other functions too) I'm just wondering if any consideration has gone into reopening that site as a school.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

This is the School District buying land for the sake of buying land, they don't need it. Greendell is quite big enough to house a good sized elementary school without buying overpriced additional land.

Meanwhile, right next to Greendell is the 21 acres of Cubberley owned by the PAUSD which they don't seem to know what to do with other than to hold on to it indefinitely as the buildings deteriorate and decay.

Until the School District tells us what their long term plans are for the existing 21 acres at Cubberley they should not be buying land they won't know how to use!!

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 24, 2011 at 11:34 am

Eva, the Ventura site belongs to the City not the School District. The PAUSD would have to buy back the Ventura facility from the City if they wish to reopen it as an elementary school. Incidentally, Ventura was closed in the 1960 to integrate the School District.

Like this comment
Posted by Erin
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

The city does own the Ventura site but the school district and city have a clause that does not allow the city to develop on that property and allows the school district to buy back the land at a below-market rate if they need the property in the future. It is not the same kind of arrangement as the Cubberley site.

The school district needs the property near Greendell because the enrollment overflows are happening in South and North Palo Alto. They are not happening in the West, where Ventura is.

Like this comment
Posted by susie
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

The economy is tanking again, Silicon Valley will not escape. Wall Street hurts Venture Capital which hurts Silicon Valley. Chinese money is levelling off. Real estate prices will start to fall perhaps 10 percent. The State Govt will withdraw funds. PAUSD will lose money. Revenues from Property Taxes will NOT increase, may fall.

So what on EARTH are they doing buying property! They should stick it in the bank and hang onto it. We are going to need it!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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