Sun Valley P&Z
troubled by traffic issue
Express Staff Writer
Planning and Zoning commissioners Tuesday thoughtfully debated how to control
traffic to and from a proposed new campus of The Community School, but finally
continued the matter after asking for a detailed transit plan from school
came during a nearly three-hour review of an application by the Sun Valley-based
school to construct and operate a new elementary school on its approximately
30-acre Sagewillow campus in Elkhorn.
hearing on the application Tuesday was continued from an October meeting of the
P&Z. The panel in the last year has conducted six public hearings on the
plan, all of which have seen the proposal tabled because of concerns over the
impacts of the school and its associated activities on the surrounding
Tuesday voted unanimously to take the matter up again at their regular meeting
on Jan. 14.
The panel also
issued an order to project representative Lori Labrum and attorney J. Evan
Robertson to work with city planners and administrative staff to devise an
explicit plan that shows how the school will control traffic on the property’s
access route on Arrowleaf Road.
As they have in
the past, commissioners suggested to school representatives that a conditional
use permit for the school would be justified if the proper mitigation measures
were implemented to reduce the project’s negative impacts.
Tuesday asked city staff and school officials to develop a plan that would
generally limit the number of vehicle trips to and from the Sagewillow campus to
480 per day in September and October and 400 per day the remainder of the school
year. The number—which would differ in the autumn months to accommodate soccer
games and practices—will likely be controlled so the school cannot routinely
carry over unused vehicle trips to future dates.
stipulated that the plan allow for some flexibility in the daily number of
vehicle trips, but also restrict pronounced surges in traffic for special
Tuesday was marked by frustration among the project’s proponents, opponents,
and the commissioners themselves.
commissioners that he felt the panel had deviated from a previous directive to
plan for an allowance of 480 daily vehicle trips, which could be averaged over
the course of one month.
standpoint, I’m not sure what you guys want from us," he said.
neighbors of the Sagewillow campus said they felt the frustrations could have
arisen because others think the project simply isn’t appropriate for the site.
understand why you don’t just turn this down," said Elkhorn resident Nyle
As the 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
several new structures, including a 6,700-square-foot administration and
education building, a 4,550-square-foot "community room" and a
9,800-square-foot, two-story classroom building.
The proposal also
calls for construction of an 800-square-foot caretaker’s residence and a
would include a library, additional classrooms and a multi-purpose structure.
Opening-year enrollment was proposed to be set at 132 students, and enrollment
upon completion of the entire development was set at 190 students.
improvements to the existing Trail Creek campus—has been estimated to cost $10
The school is
planning to open the new campus in 2004.