Last Wednesday, Rose Scharlin Co-op Nursery School presented the case for their proposed Conditional Use Permit CUP, yet again, to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council's Urban Design & Preservation Advisory Committee (SLNC UD&PAC), which deals with land use issues. Due to a light agenda, the topic ended up being the bulk of the meeting. Rose Scharlin failed to provide the committee with a copy of their application at the meeting. A neighbor who reviewed the file in City Planning, passed a copy around the room.
Their previous CUP, issued in 1977, expired 28 years ago. The school never attempted to renew their permit with the City, allowing them to continue to operating a school in the middle of a residential zone, where it would ordinarily not be allowed.
The 1977 CUP limited the cars coming onto Lake View Ave to no more than 10 to drop off and 10 to pick up; encouraged carpooling; described strict driving and traffic circulation solutions; staggered start times; limited hours to 9:15 AM - 12 PM, Mon - Fri; no special events or fundraisers on site; allowed for Saturday afternoon maintenance and one Sunday afternoon a month (with NO children on site); restrictions on noise and loud music. The 1977 CUP emphasized the founding principle of the neighborhood nursery school so neighbors could walk their kids to school.
Neighbors expressed general support for the concept of a NEIGHBORHOOD nursery school, however neighbors saw the need for restrictions to be in the CUP rather than just in a Rose Scharlin Handbook (as the school has proposed) because the CUP is a public document.
Fifteen neighbors spoke on the problems of parking; traffic circulation; extending hours 8:30 AM - 5 PM, M-F; a loosely worded and undefined number of weekend and evening activities, fundraisers, meetings, special events; a history of loud and indiscriminate use on weekends; amplified music, PA system, microphone and noise, especially on weekends; canyon effect of noise; cumulative effects with a second day care center in a Lake View Ave home south of the school on a narrow hillside street with limited access. All are in a far more dense neighborhood than it appears.
Rose Scharlin is requesting a 20 year CUP as opposed to a standard 5 or 10 year CUP. The 1977 CUP expired 28 years ago. None of the neighbors (other than perhaps the current Rose Scharlin families) thought a 20 year CUP was appropriate.
Neighbors contend many of the issues would be resolved if the school incentivized and prioritized admission to neighbors willing to walk their kids to school. Two current neighbor families (at the meeting) do walk their (total) 3 kids to school. Neighbors pointed out, years when there were more neighborhood families, the school was a better neighbor.
More than one neighbor from Corralitas pointed out they should not be able to hear the music coming from a party at Rose Scharlin on top of Corralitas Drive.
One Lake View neighbor's two (now adult) daughters attended Rose Scharlin when there were more neighborhood families in the1990s. He spoke in support of the idea of the school continuing, but wanted to see more neighborhood families attending since it would resolve many of the neighborhood issues of parking, noise and being good neighbors. No fundraisers were held on site while his kids were there.
In response to a neighbor's question, the school's teacher, president nor representative seemed to know how many of the 24-30 children come from the immediate neighborhood or are walked to school. They seemed to think maybe 10 children, but were not too sure. The neighbor knew of at least one family within walking distance (and within the 500' notification radius) of the school that was denied admission this year. Many neighbors present knew neighbors denied admission in the past for no discernible reason.
SLNC UD&PAC instructed Rose Scharlin to meet with the neighbors and reach consensus on the CUP. Jerome Courshon, UD&PAC member who attended the previous community meetings where nothing was resolved, offered to facilitate (which was welcomed by neighbors who attended previous meetings). Friday, some neighbors received an email from Rose Scharlin polling times for a meeting on September 26. (The neighbor who spoke about the canyon effects of noise was left off the email list despite receiving earlier emails from the school.) We're awaiting a meeting confirmation.
Case # ZA 2015-1109(CU) However, their consultant Anne Alexander claimed it will be postponed. As of today, it is still up on the City Planning website. (Look in the calendar sidebar - Sept 17 - Zoning Administration-East. Yeah, not real user friendly)
You can review the file in person, in City Hall, room 763, 8:30 AM to 3 PM, this week until Wednesday (file not available day of the hearing).
Until there is official confirmation that Thursday's public hearing is postponed, send your comments to the Zoning Administrator, c/o Kinikia Gardner, and City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell's deputy Adam Bass:
To: Kinikia.Gardner@lacity.org, Adam.Bass@lacity.org
Subject: Case #: ZA 2015-1109(CU), ENV 2015-1108-CE, Rose Scharlin Nursery School, public hearing 9-17-15
Be sure you include your name address & phone number or your comments will not be considered.
Ask them to postpone the hearing until the proposed CUP can be revised to work with the neighborhood concerns. If the applicant is unwilling to do so, the CUP should be denied. It is the first time in 28 years the community has an opportunity to work with the school to ensure a more harmonious future in the neighborhood. Be sure to include any personal observations, facts, photos, significant evidence with regard to issues with the school. It would be nice to have a real neighborhood nursery school again.
No one is trying to chase Rose Scharlin out of the neighborhood. The CUP is a public document. It is the only thing the neighbors have to refer to now, and in the coming years when the current crop of Rose Scharlin families move on. It cannot be revised without a public process. We shouldn't have to make good neighbor rules with schools, but we are not the first neighborhood to have issues with a school.