proposal inching forward
Valley P&Z sets tentative limits on traffic
Express Staff Writer
Valley Planning and Zoning commissioners last week told representatives
of The Community School to devise a plan to strictly limit car traffic
at a proposed new campus in Elkhorn if they want their application to
gain further consideration.
approved by Sun Valley, The Community School’s proposed new elementary
school would be located on its Sagewillow campus in Elkhorn. Express
photo by David N. Seelig
instructions came at a three-hour workshop Oct. 23 for P&Z
commissioners to discuss ways to reduce the negative impacts of a plan
by The Community School to build a new elementary school on its
approximately 30-acre Sagewillow campus.
special workshop was scheduled on Oct. 8, after P&Z commissioners
decided to table the school’s application for a Conditional Use Permit
because of ongoing concerns about traffic, noise and public safety in
neighborhoods adjacent to the campus.
particular concern to commissioners and neighbors of the site was a
predicted substantial increase in vehicle traffic on Arrowleaf Road, the
primary access road to the Sagewillow campus.
considering multiple pages of data, including a report issued by City
Administrator Dan Pincetich and City Engineer Betsy Roberts, the P&Z
tentatively set at 480 the daily average number of vehicles that can
travel through the school gateway accessed by Arrowleaf Road.
the number is an average of several different traffic-threshold figures
suggested by individual members of the panel. In a poll taken by P&Z
Chairman Jim McLaughlin, commissioners put forth figures ranging from
400 to 550 for the allowable maximum of average daily trips at the site.
determined that the figure would include all trips to and from the site,
including those for community gatherings and sports events. If employed,
the figure would be compiled as a daily average of the total number of
trips accrued in a month.
said school officials would accept the number as a target for traffic
figures to be outlined in a revised permit application scheduled to be
considered by the P&Z Dec. 10.
me, this has been significant to us," he said.
early in the meeting asked commissioners to consider allowing 850
school-related trips on Arrowleaf Road in September and October—during
the school’s soccer season—and 700 average daily trips in other
months. He noted that the school would have been willing to accept a
range of penalties for violating the suggested limits.
commissioners generally felt that the maximum number should be
significantly lower. "I think what this all boils down to is the
impact on the neighbors," Commissioner Mark Pynn said.
tabling the application Oct. 8, commissioners individually suggested
they might vote in favor of the establishment of a new elementary school
on the Sagewillow campus if significant mitigation measures were made to
lessen the impacts on neighborhood residents.
addition to reducing future car traffic, the panel asked school
officials to devise ways to lessen the noise impacts of the proposed
school, design additional parking areas, redesign a proposed bike path
configured to link with the city path system; outline the number of
school-related events slated to take place at the site, and provide a
detailed construction schedule for the three-phase project.
first phase of the plan to develop a new elementary school campus at the
outdoor/recreation-zoned site, The Community School has proposed to
construct a 6,790-square-foot administration and education building, a
4,550-square-foot "community room" and a 9,800-square-foot,
two-story classroom building, plus a small caretaker’s residence and a
phases would include a library, additional classrooms and a
multi-purpose structure. The school plans to open the new campus in
entire project has been estimated to cost approximately $10 million,
including improvements proposed for the school’s existing Trail Creek
ensuing discussions about the plan, commissioners suggested that a bike
path to the school linked to the city’s path network might not be
planner John Gaeddert said he would need to research whether a path
might be required to keep the project in compliance with the city’s