Vice Mayor Regina Wallace-Jones recused herself because she lives near the project.
The Primary School, which is currently located at 951 O'Connor St. near the Ravenswood 101 shopping center, plans to accommodate more than 600 students and 70 staff members in a 61,000-square-foot building.
They anticipate enrolling 96 preschool students, 300 elementary school students, 115 middle school students and 150 students in a part-time infant-toddler program.
Assuming the school would open in summer 2021, the school would gradually grow grade levels over the next four years.
About 243 children from East Palo Alto and Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood are enrolled this year at the school, which Chan launched three years ago with the belief that merging education with health and support services would dramatically improve outcomes for high-need children.
"We are grateful for the work that the Planning Commission and the City Council are doing on behalf of this community, and thank them for thoroughly reviewing our proposal and asking important questions," Primary School CEO Courtney Garcia said in a statement to the Weekly. "We look forward to moving into the next stage of building a facility that houses infant-toddler, parent, early childhood, and school-aged programs that can provide a long-term benefit for the broader community."
As planned, the new campus just east of Pulgas Avenue would have a two-story main building, 24 classrooms, a 10,800-square-foot gymnasium and several play yards and recreation areas. Some space, including but not limited to the gym, would be designated for community use, according to a staff report.
In approving permits and other actions to allow the project to proceed, the City Council added two conditions. The Primary School must create a "robust" transportation management plan (TDM) that would include enforcement, including significant penalties for violations of the plan. The council must approve the plan before issuing a building permit.
Council members applauded the innovative Primary School, which they said they hope will be a model for other schools throughout the country.
—Sue Dremann and Elena Kadvany
City bans new cell towers near schools
Bowing to concerns from a group of residents, the Palo Alto City Council agreed this week to ban new wireless antennas from being installed on poles within 300 feet of public schools.
The council voted 6-1, with Lydia Kou dissenting, to revise its rules for wireless communication facilities, which are becoming increasingly common and controversial in neighborhoods throughout Palo Alto. The city has already approved dozens of wireless antennas and has more than 100 in the pipeline.
The resolution that the council passed also eliminated a provision pertaining to the placement of wireless equipment in relation to second-story windows. The provision specified that wireless equipment on multistory buildings not be placed in a "horizontal plane," which is defined as a "45-degree angle extending 50 feet from the center point of upper story windows, doors, balconies and other openings."
Planning staff had determined that the standard would "result in little practical impact" because an applicant could easily comply with it by shifting the equipment by just a few inches. As such, the requirement presents "a limited restriction on placement of WCFs (wireless communication facilities)," a report from the City Attorney's Office states.
Kou had urged more stringent requirements, including a 1,000-foot setback from schools for new wireless equipment and a 300-foot setback near residences. She also opposed the deletion of the clause pertaining to placement of the equipment in relation to upper-story windows. Her proposal fizzled after no other council member supported it.
As at prior discussions of wireless equipment, the council heard from several community members raising concerns about the health impacts of the telecommunication technology.
The council, however, did not weigh in on the health impacts of the new equipment (its ability to do so is limited by Telecommunications Act of 1996, which restricts cities' ability to regulate radio-frequently emissions). Instead, council members focused on aesthetics.
The new rules will not apply to pending applications or to previously approved projects, according to the staff report.
The new ban falls below the limit outlined in a resolution on placing cell towers near school district campuses that was supported by the Palo Alto Board of Education on Tuesday. The resolution calls for the cell towers to be set back by 1,500 feet from schools and asks the city to notify the district of proposed projects near school sites.
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