Setback for Archer School Opponents

Archer School For Girls
Archer School For Girls

The latest efforts by the Sunset Coalition – an organization focused on large development projects that impact traffic on Sunset Boulevard – has suffered another setback in its efforts to reduce the $100-million Archer School for Girls expansion project in Brentwood.

In October, the Coalition filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in a San Francisco appeals lawsuit brought by Mission Bay Alliance to halt construction of an 18,000-seat sports arena for the Golden State Warriors basketball team opposite a children’s hospital.

When filing the brief, Doug Carstens, an attorney for the Sunset Coalition stated, “We are supporting the San Francisco case because we believe it can result in a court order establishing a standard for protecting the health of children that will be of tremendous value in our lawsuit against Archer.”

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The Los Angeles City Council approved the expansion of the Brentwood girls’ school back in August 2015, with construction slated to begin in May 2017. The project is expected to take three years to complete. However, the Coalition has continued to fight the decision, and has sued the City, claiming violations of zoning rules and state environmental law.

But in a blow to that suit, on Nov. 29, the California Court of Appeals upheld the environmental review of the Golden State Warriors’ San Francisco stadium plan and has allowed construction to begin on the $1 billion arena and office development unless another appeal is filed.

The court’s decision stated that the Mission Bay Alliance’s legal challenge didn’t have merit.

The Sunset Coalition had hoped to gain traction in its opposition to the Archer School expansion with its support of the San Francisco suit, because both lawsuits argued that based on new scientific findings, the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has developed guidelines for protecting the health of children, and that those guidelines have been ignored by Archer, the City of Los Angeles, the Warriors arena developer and San Francisco authorities.

According to the findings, children inhale and exhale air at greater rates than adults, and they are more susceptible to toxins than adults. As such, OEHHA has lowered the threshold of acceptable exposure to airborne toxins for children based on the new breathing rate data.

The Coalition believes the Archer School project would potentially expose local residents along with the children at Archer School to increased risks of cancer.

Sunset Coalition Co-Chair Wendy-Sue Rosen stated, “The construction activity will create toxic air quality conditions that students and residents will have to breathe.”

Despite the San Francisco ruling, the Sunset Coalition continues to oppose the Archer School project. While its website has yet to include any updates on the San Francisco ruling on its “Archer Disaster” page, the organization continues to state that “the fight continues,” claiming the expansion is too big and too impactful.