In the midst of ongoing community debate in Brentwood surrounding the Archer Forward Project (Archer School for Girls’ campus modification plan), Brentwood Community Council (BCC) voted at its March 3 meeting in favor of Archer Forward Project’s Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR)’s “Alternative 2”.
As one of the four alternatives presented in the FEIR, Alternative 2 would result in “No Project,” and “Development and Use in Accordance with Existing Approvals.” This alternative includes “reasonably foreseeable” allowances within the parameters of the school’s existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP), which was issued in 1998.
The recently adopted resolution was composed by Eric Edmunds of the Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association (BHHA), and states that the BCC opposes Archer School’s currently Archer Forward Project.
The resolution explains that the decision to ultimately oppose the current state of the project and instead support Alternative 2 was grounded in the “substantial number of adverse impacts it would impose on the community.”
Although the resolution does not side with the campus modification plan in its present state, Elizabeth English, Archer’s Head of School, “very much values the role that the BCC Land Use Committee has played in the years-long stakeholder process for Archer Forward” and “is confident that the plan that is emerging is something that the BCC and local neighbors will embrace.”
According to the Project’s FEIR, Alternative 2 permits a new gymnasium that would span approximately 12,000 square feet. The gym would “require removal of the existing sports courts and some landscaping” and “would not exceed a height of 36 feet.” Although “ancillary uses,” including locker rooms, staff offices, and storage would be provided, they would “be substantially reduced compared to the project.”
In regards to student population, Alternative 2 allows for the existing enrollment number of 430 students to be increased to 518 in accordance with the existing CUP.
The CUP also allows for additional Interscholastic Athletic Competitions and maintenance of all other existing campus features but does not permit any new development within the school and the proposed gymnasium.
A specific concern that the BCC resolution addresses – as well as one that has been widespread through the rest of the Brentwood community – is the amount of potential traffic congestion that the Archer Forward Project may cause. The resolution states that “the BCC supports recognition and observation of the current Archer School Conditional Permit” provided that “authorized traffic levels cannot exceed actual levels.”
Under Alternative 2, Archer’s existing Traffic Management Program, which includes “efforts such as achieving an average vehicle ridership of three persons” and “utilizing vans/buses to transport 50 percent of the student enrollment on a daily basis” among other efforts, would continue to be enforced.
However, according to the FEIR, part of the proposed Archer Forward Project would “increase the percentage of students that would be transported via vans/buses on a daily basis from 50 percent to 70 percent” in an effort to encourage less congestion on the roads. Alternative 2 would not require that the current volume of van/bus utilization be increased.
“We’ve worked very hard with many stakeholders, including the Council office, to create a plan that we can all be proud of: Archer Forward will strengthen our already model transportation management plan, follow residential development standards, make efficient use of the property, and create modern educational facilities for current and future generations of Archer students,” English said. “We believe that a strong Archer is important for Brentwood and the entire Los Angeles region.”
There will be a City Planning Commission hearing for the Archer Forward Project in April.
For more information on Archer Forward, visit archerforward.org.