June 7, 2011 > New elementary school proposed
New elementary school proposed
By Abraham Cruz
The Milpitas Planning Commission held a public hearing on May 25, 2011 to hear proposed amendments to a conditional use permit that would establish the Monarch Elementary School at a site occupied by Calvary Assembly of God Church.
The Calvary Assembly of God Church received approval in 1996 for a conditional use permit to establish a 12,600 sq. ft. church at 130 Piedmont Road where it could also provide a day-care facility; the latter was never offered. Monarch Christian Pre-School wishes to provide its students with the opportunity to continue to a K-5 education and began to establish an elementary school which will rent its facilities from the church, although the church will not be party to elementary school's operation.
Monarch Christian Pre-School applied on March 23, 2011 to amend the conditional use permit to allow the establishment and operation of an 8,250 sq. ft. elementary school, with a 2,688 sq. ft. exterior playground in place of the approved day-care site. The new school will utilize the same floor plan as the day-care facility with five classrooms, a multi-purpose room and an assembly room; one of the available classrooms will be converted into an office.
The requested amendment does not propose any additional exterior changes except installation of a playground and a jungle gym, consisting of swings and slides with tanbark or similar material beneath. A six-foot wooden or wrought-iron fence behind the playground area, to prevent children from straying, is proposed. A 95-student roll is expected and the school will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; the student-teacher ratio would be 20:1, with up to 16 students per classroom. Procedures comply with state law, such as signing students in and out of school and prohibiting a student from walking to and from the site without adult supervision.
Asunta Reinman, a Director of the Monarch Christian Pre-school is the applicant and answered questions from the Commission. Notice of the proposed location of the new elementary school was sent to residents within a 1,000-foot radius or approximately 300 residences. Five expressed concerns about potential traffic issues on Piedmont Road, increased noise and potential declines in property values.
The Planning Commission echoed residents' concerns, particularly regarding traffic and potential pedestrian hazards, since Piedmont Road has a blind curve heading northbound toward the church. Commissioner Lawrence Ciardella expressed a need for a dedicated crossing with flashing lights to improve pedestrian safety. Planning and Neighborhood Services Director James Lindsay will meet with city staff to determine the feasibility of a mid-block crosswalk in that location.
Staff will return to the Planning Commission with an analysis of the effect of reducing the speed limit to 25 mph, dedicating a left-turn lane to facilitate entry to the school site, will work with the applicant to limit factors such as traffic flow, develop school-handbook instructions for drop-off/pick-up, assess adequate shade for the playground area and make cost-efficient choices for necessary improvements, such as signs and crosswalks, including any the applicant must bear.
For more information, visit www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov or contact Planning and Neighborhood Services Director James Lindsay at (408) 586-3273.