Burlingame school officials won’t appeal a judge’s ruling to stop construction at Hoover Elementary School, but they are asking to secure and stabilize the site before an environmental impact report is conducted.
On Tuesday, San Mateo County Superior Court judge Marie Weiner made no ruling at a hearing to consider the Burlingame Elementary School District’s request to do some additional construction work at the site, which the district contends is necessary to secure the site now that overall construction has been put on hold. She intends to visit the school Thursday. In May, Weiner ruled in favor of the Alliance for Responsible Neighborhood Planning that sued the district stating it needs to prepare a full EIR on traffic impacts for the entire property, which means all construction must be stopped until this is done. At this point, the district doesn’t plan to appeal the final ruling, Superintendent Maggie MacIsaac said.
A group of Hillsborough residents filed the lawsuit in January 2013. At a July 2013 hearing, the alliance’s attorney Kevin Haroff said the district failed to address traffic impacts in its December 2012 mitigated negative declaration study and review. A mitigated negative declaration is like an environmental impact review but less extensive. Haroff, who attended the hearing Tuesday, believes the judge will take the alliance’s side in favor of not allowing any more work to be done on the site.
“We had agreed already to have certain housekeeping manners taken care of, but objected to anything that looked like it was a continuation of construction,” the alliance’s attorney Kevin Haroff said Tuesday. “She (Weiner) expressed a lot of skepticism on the structural work on the two buildings. … We would have liked to have gotten it all wrapped up today, but the judge seemed in favor of our position.”
Weiner also seemed apt to appoint an independent consultant to see what’s necessary to ensure the buildings are safe, Haroff said.
With a full EIR, the school would likely open in 2018, board Vice President Mark Intrieri said. Growing enrollment in the district resulted in the purchase of the previously-closed Hoover Elementary School in 2010. The district is projected to grow to 3,500 students by 2018 from its current size of 3,234 students, MacIsaac said. Since the purchase, the district worked to renovate the building to meet current standards. The plan for the school called for two 8-foot-wide curbside bays to be created for pickup and dropoff along the west side of Summit Drive adjacent to the school providing enough curb space for 15 cars. The existing school site curb would be shifted west to provide for the bays and two 10-foot-wide vehicle travel lanes, which will increase the width of Summit Drive to 17 feet in some areas.
“It’s a good thing she (Weiner) wants to go and tour the site,” MacIsaac said. “I’m hopeful she will allow us to make sure the site is safe and safe for the community around it. We’re trying to make sure it is stable.”
A lot of work was put into the foundation, but the structure on top is not as solid, she said.
“We’re trying to secure it so we can move forward with an EIR,” she said.
Hoover was founded in 1931, closed in 1979 and repurchased by the district for $4.8 million in 2010. Measure D, a $56 million bond measure passed by voters in November 2012, was used to cover most of the costs. The overall budget for Hoover was $23 million and the district has not gone over that budget, MacIsaac said.
Another hearing date has not been set.
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