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Will Belmont welcome Crystal Springs Uplands School?
April 10, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Daily Journal file photo Belmont Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach saidt she has approached officials with Crystal Springs Uplands School to ask them to consider resubmitting an application to build a new middle school on Davis Drive that was shot down, 3-2, in October.

Rendering of the proposed school.

Belmont Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach announced last night that she has approached officials with Crystal Springs Uplands School to ask them to consider resubmitting an application to build a new middle school on Davis Drive.

A fan of the project two years ago, Feierbach voted against it in October after a contentious process that divided the city in two camps -- one that contends a new school in the hills will bring in too much traffic and another that said the renowned institution will be a big plus for the city.

"I know this is an about turn for me," Feierbach said during council comments. She intends to agendize the item for the April 23 meeting and a CSUS trustee told the Daily Journal last night that school officials will come to the meeting and listen.

"We have a fiduciary responsibility to our students and parents to hear the proposal," Trustee Jill Grossman said.

Meanwhile, the school's biggest priority is to accommodate future growth, Grossman said. School officials have been looking at land and properties in the area but invested a lot of time and money into the Davis Drive property leading up to October, Grossman said.

Feierbach, Councilman Dave Warden and current Mayor Christine Wozniak voted against the project as councilmen David Braunstein and Warren Lieberman voted for the project.

The council opted not to amend its general plan to allow for a school use on land currently zoned for commercial office use on Davis Drive.

The entire council gave CSUS officials a general "thumbs-up" in a preliminary design review of the project back in April 2011.

But in the 18 months between that meeting and the October meeting when the project was shot down, three of the five on the council said it was not appropriate to amend the city's general plan to accommodate just one applicant.

Lieberman and Braunstein were ready to approve the amendment and concentrate on a development deal where the school offered the city a one-time $1 million payment, $250,000 a year and use of some of its facilities, including a turfed athletic field. Since the school is a nonprofit, it is exempt from paying property taxes.

The Hillsborough-based private school wanted the city to amend its general plan; change the zoning on the Davis Drive property from office use for a school use; approve the development's concept; sign off on a development deal that guaranteed $250,000 in annual payments; and sign off on the environmental review of the project.

CSUS wanted to purchase an office building on 6-8 and 10 Davis Drive that it was leasing, demolish it and build a new school campus with a turfed athletic field and one day a pool. CSUS had offered use of its field to youth sports groups in the city during summer and on some weekends the rest of the year, since Belmont youth have a lack of suitable playing fields.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106



Tags: school, project, davis, drive, council, officials,

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