"We believe that these plans, which call for an increase in the number of students at Hillview from the present 670 to approximately 912 over several years, will have very serious consequences for our neighborhood," the petition states.
The petitioners asked the district to prepare a full environmental impact report detailing the effects that the proposed expansion will have on the neighbors. "The filing of a Negative Declaration [stating that a full EIR is not required] would not take into account our concerns and would be legally insufficient," the petition says.
Among the key concerns of the neighbors:
• Traffic congestion and related safety issues for students — as well as motorists and pedestrians in the vicinity — particularly at the beginning and end of the school day, and during evening school functions.
• Parking on surrounding streets, including Elder Avenue and Politzer and Hillview drives.
• Transportation of students to and from school.
The plan to eliminate the Tinker Park tot lot and the adjacent tennis courts at Hillview, which were used by the public.
• Environmental issues relating to demolition and construction.
"We want the best for our schools, too," said neighbor Mike Armstrong, who presented the petition to the board. "We want our concerns as neighbors to be considered."
Board President Terry Thygesen told the Almanac: "Clearly, once a general approach has been selected for Hillview, the district will begin an environmental analysis of the project. Based on the environmental analysis, the district will determine what type of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) analysis is most appropriate."
"The district has every intention of being a good neighbor and working in a constructive way to address neighborhood concerns," she said.