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Community Divided Over Traffic Restrictions for Brentwood School

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At the Feb. 7 Brentwood Community Council meeting, Transportation Chair Lauren Cole said that in a last-minute turnabout, CD 11 Councilman Mike Bonin reduced the restrictions on Brentwood School that would have done much to cut traffic in the area around Sunset and Barrington. (See Cole’s editorial on Page 5). Brentwood School is proposing to increase its student head count by nearly 40 percent (to 960 students) and add new buildings on campus. The City Planning Commission issued a ruling in December requiring the school reduce its traffic by 40 percent as part of its request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for its east campus.

In a Feb. 2 letter sent to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee, Bonin quoted the 40 percent reduction in peak hour car trips from today’s numbers and said this reduction would take five years to achieve. However, Cole stated that while the Planning Commission did require the 40 percent reduction, the version sent to PLUM stated that reduction would only be required once the school reached maximum enrollment. Cole said these conversations were held between Bonin and Brentwood School and excluded representatives of the BCC.The new agreement would allow Brentwood School to reduce traffic by just 12.5 percent. However, Bonin’s Feb. 2 letter to the PLUM Committee, is identical to the one he sent to constituents on Jan. 27, which states, “On the very first day that the new Conditional Use Permit takes effect, the school will reduce its traffic by 12.5 percent. After full enrollment, the school will reduce its traffic by 40 percent.”

BCC, Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association and the Sunset Coalition sent letters ahead of the Feb. 7 PLUM meeting opposing the new terms.

Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association wrote, “By maintaining enrollment at 959 students (just one student short of the maximum number permitted), Brentwood School will never have to comply with the required average vehicle ridership of three students per vehicle and the 40 percent reduction in vehicle trips.”

However, the PLUM Committee also received many letters of support from local residents. Debbie Poulter wrote, “I understand that a small minority of BCC members are not satisfied with unprecedented trip reduction approach…These people, who are not part of a City-approved neighborhood council and were not elected by me or my neighbors, are out of touch with the community. By insisting on additional unreasonable requirements, they risk sacrificing the substantial trip reductions already on the table. Please disregard their shallow arguments. The glass is 99.9 percent full, not 0.1 percent empty.”

Bonin did not respond to requests to comment prior to Brentwood News’ deadline.

 

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