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Castilleja School seeks variance for rebuild

Original post made on Apr 6, 2018

Officials at Castilleja School have submitted a request for a variance for their proposed campus rebuild, according to a March 22 letter from their attorneys to city of Palo Alto planners.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 6, 2018, 6:34 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by JCP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2018 at 7:05 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

Rather than building a huge new parking structure that will encourage more driving, how about using that money to get people to/from the school in new ways?

And if they do build the garage, the city should require that parking not be given away to staff for free. They should be required to "unbundle" the parking, and charge employees at least a relatively market rate for it. Seattle's city council just passed a similar law for residential parking, and it makes a HUGE difference in disincentivizing driving, where drivers typically don't actually pay for the costs of parking their cars.

Posted by Emmet Turn
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2018 at 12:42 pm

[Portion removed.] Most cities and neighborhoods would be proud to have one of the best girls' schools in the world call it home. Not Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]

Posted by To Emmet
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 6, 2018 at 1:00 pm

The logic of the one of these comments amounts to:

“Castro is a good schools. Therefore let them do whatever they want.”

Why can’t such a good school follow its agreed on rules?

Posted by Emmet Turn
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Judith Wasserman
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 6, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Judith Wasserman is a registered user.

Before everyone goes bananas about a variance, check this out:
Web Link

Variances are not granted randomly or casually; they have to have legally defined grounds for the request to be granted. Among them is “exceptional difficulty or unusual hardship,” and "the hardship must be imposed by conditions outside the property owner's control."

Some lawyer has to decide whether this request for a variance meets these (and other) conditions.
This is not an opinion for or against, just a statement of fact.

Posted by Short term visitor
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Apr 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.

Posted by Casti Grad 2014
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 6, 2018 at 3:26 pm

I"m so tired of Castilleja thinking they are entitled to grow just because they have to turn down a number of girls every year. Every private school turns down plenty of deserving eager applicants. Every school supports education for women and I'm embarrassed my alma mater would encourage neighbors to put up signs like that. Who doesn't support educating women? Stop this expansion madness. The school is in the middle of a congested neighborhood and should respect the limits the city has established. This sense of entitlement is what's wrong with the world and they are passing it on to every young girl that goes through there who thinks they need to fight the system for women's right to an education. BTW- in my four years of high school I was stressed out every day. It was absolutely HELL as I look back on it. Casti should put all this renovation money into renovating their educational model and raise happy, resilient, confident, healthy self thinkers not anorexic, depressed, cutters who constantly feel like they have to prove themselves better than everyone else.

Posted by Enough
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Given the disdain the school has shown to the city and their neighbors, ignoring a deal made with the city to limit enrollment, there is absolutely no reason that should be granted a variance. The city should be imposing fines for their continured violation of the agreement and the negative impact that the school has on their neighbors.

Posted by Casti Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2018 at 5:57 pm

As a parent of a former Casitlleja student, I applaud the school for the work they do and recognize them as a valuable resource in our community. They are clearly bending over backwards to accommodate the neighborhood while building for the future of our children. I wish them well for generations to come.

Posted by No upside for Palo Alto
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

No upside for Palo Alto is a registered user.

@Casti Parent - no one is disputing the fact that Casti is a great school. As stated by many people previously, if they want to grow their school, they should add an additional site - just like Nueva, Keys, Crystal Springs, Pinewood, Harker, etc. If the decide to renovate, they should be required to go back to their permitted size.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 7, 2018 at 4:13 pm

My daughter attended Castilleja. It is indeed a great school. Not supporting the variance or the expansion does not equate to not supporting women's education or not acknowledging the quality of education young women receive there. It is ludicrous to suggest that it does.

Castilleja is located near one of the most congested, worst traffic areas in the city. One could argue that the location is the #1 place to NOT expand a campus and NOT add years of construction traffic to the already congested situation. The problems associated with the City's success and growth combine to make "Sorry, No" the best answer to the variance request.

How old is the expansion plan, anyway? As I recall, the school was in violation of the enrollment cap for 15 years; may still be. Had they gone out and found a 2nd site 15 years ago a second Casti campus could have graduated several classes of young women by now. And saved themselves a heap of money. It's not too late to pursue that.


Posted by Trying to understand
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2018 at 6:45 pm

The diagram is confusing. I see an exit pointing to Melville and an exit to Embarcadero below Bryant. Why does one of the red boxes extend over Embarcadero? Are these also entrances?
The diagram is superimposed on the current site. It should show just the proposed layout.
Seems more calculated to confuse than to enlighten.

Posted by Bryan T.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 7, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Why can’t they just move their campus? Are families sending their girls there because of the location on the Embarcadero/old PA corridor?

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

Why doesn't Castilleja have a Castilleja Bus to bring the many students, who do not live in Palo Alto, to the school. A pick up site in Portola Valley for instance.

Posted by no sympathy
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm

sorry i have no sympathy for Casti folks given they lied about enrollment for many years. It's simple..... If you want to expand find a new campus!!!

Posted by Not overload Embarcadero St
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2018 at 11:24 am

Stanford Hospital, Stanford Univ, PAMF and PALY depend HEAVILY on Embarcadero St. and El Camino Real. Please don't OVERLOAD the major streets in case of any catatrophe happened. Especially the major routes to the ER, hospitals.

Posted by No
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Totally agree with "no sympathy". They lied for years. They are over their enrollment cap. Move out or expand elsewhere and stop bothering neighbors and all of Palo Alto with this ridiculous notion that you need a bigger school.

Posted by They do
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2018 at 4:16 pm

@Green Gables They do. They have a couple of shuttles that serve Portola Valley and Los Altos students

Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Castillega is pushing its luck. Hopefully they rethink their entitlment to expansion. Embacaero Road becomes a parking lot during certain times of day (falls within school day beginning and ending). If they want to expand - find some property to develop a second campus towards Woodside/PV or Atherton --- in many instances it will be closer to home for many students and Palo Alto won;t that to bear the burden of incresed congestion or pollution. Expansion means more money/endowmet for the school, not necessarily a better edcuation .

Posted by Trying to understand
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2018 at 1:21 pm

So much dishonesty and manipulation, I have little sympathy for the school:

Cheating on the enrollment number for years.

The tricky public meetings where they would not answer questions, they kept saying, wait for the EIR; and earlier, only asked the panel the written questions they approved.

Their signs 'Support Women's Education' are so offensive and dishonest. Who doesn't support women's education? As though that's the issue.

Interfering with traffic on Embarcadero Road.

These are developer tactics: change the subject, and throw mud at your opponent.

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