Nicholas and Carol Berg are moving forward in the City's process to try and open a new private elementary school, Cambridge Academy, in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Redwood City.
However, the Redwood City Planning Commission says, there are still many questions to be answered before that can happen.
The Bergs first attended to introduce the idea for their new school, which they hope to build on site at the Redwood Baptist Church on Euclid Avenue.
The Bergs said, they have searched for many years for a suitable location to build their school, but that "all were deemed unsuitable except for Euclid Avenue."
In a memorandum prepared for the City is advance of Tuesday night's meeting, the Bergs said the church is the only location that has all the features they need - space for 9-10 classrooms, ample parking, a separate entrance and exit for vehicles, student play areas, ample restrooms, 1-2 large auditoriums and offices, and that is located in an area with easy access to highways, but not too close to major roads or industrial or commercial areas.
The Bergs also say they find sufficient need for such an additional school in Redwood City, as they say current schools are overcrowded, and claim that other private schools charge "three times more" for tuition than they plan to. Also, they said 15 out of 16 nearby private schools are already at capacity and have waiting lists.
However, many residents of the Roosevelt neighborhood have said they are less than thrilled about the idea of the new school opening.
Several spoke up at the Nov. 27 Planning Commission meeting, saying that there is already too much traffic and noise in the area from Roosevelt School nearby.
Roosevelt School is also in the process of adding the eighth grade to its campus soon, which will increase its student capacity.
Planning Commission Chair Ernie Schmidt has expressed similar concerns about traffic and noise in the area.
However, the Bergs appear to be working hard to address the concerns of all.
They have said they will build up the school's number of students slowly over the first few years the school is open, and have also said they will stagger outdoor playtimes or recesses to help keep noise levels down. In addition, they said they plan to never hold events at the same time as church activities.
The Bergs said they plan for the school to offer transitional kindergarten (TK) through fifth grade.
In the first year, they say they would enroll only 65 students, the second year 120 students, the fourth year 140 students, the fifth year 150 students, and finally, in its sixth year, potentially reach its proposed maximum capacity of 180 students.
At the Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, the commissioners plan to hold a "scoping session" to hear how the Bergs plan to address more of these concerns, and then determine the scope an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of the project should encompass.
In advance of the meeting, four letters by residents of the Roosevelt neighborhood were sent to the City's Planning Department.
In their letter, Alexis and John Mathers, who live near Connecticut and Briarfield, say the traffic near their home makes going anywhere in the mornings impossible for them.
"In the morning, there is a lot of traffic with parents dropping off their children at either Roosevelt School or Kennedy Jr. High, and coming down Connecticut. If I want to go anywhere in the early morning, trying to cross the street is next to impossible because these 'wonderful parents' won't let me through," they wrote.
Jean Bedigan wrote a letter compiling a list of concerns from several residents of the neighborhood. Bedigan said she regularly sees dangerous traffic concerns already in the area, without the addition of Cambridge Academy.
"Cars double-park on both sides of the street from the library to Upton...cars are parking in the Rite Aid parking lot..and then kids are running across the street in numerous spots, rather than at the crosswalk," she wrote.
A handful of residents have also expressed concern that adding a school to an already traffic-heavy neighborhood could also negatively impact the values of their homes.
The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Tuesday, Jan. 29, at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road across from the Main Library.
The public is welcome to attend, and portions of the meeting will be set aside for public comment.
The meetings are also streamed live on the Planning Commission page of the City's website.
What do you think of the proposed new school? Tell us in the comments below.
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