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Council denies appeal on Oak Knoll permit

Original post made on Dec 10, 2008

After criticizing the city of Menlo Park for hearing an appeal of a conditional use permit for construction at Oak Knoll elementary school, the Menlo Park City School District can perhaps breathe easier now. The City Council denied the appeal by a unanimous vote at its meeting Tuesday night.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 12:49 AM

Comments (24)

Posted by Finally!, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 10, 2008 at 9:15 am

YES, finally! A process that should have taken about 30 days, takes several months of back and forth, back and forth.............and YES Ms. Ferguson, this process was delayed because of council's continued meddling, and persuading people to "fight the school district". Please leave the school "stuff" alone, we need to rebuild these campuses!


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

Hey Finally!, go back to reading your Lee Duboc email drivel and leave this to the adults. Broad and unsubstantiated accusations that council is or was meddling is just weak.


Posted by Finally!, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 10, 2008 at 11:55 am

It is a fantastic email newsletter, isn't it? Finally, someone that speaks the truth, and relies on actual facts and figures. I recommend it to everyone I talk too!


Posted by Caveat emptor, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Those "facts and figures" are pure fantasy, most of the time.


Posted by Geezer Smasher, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 10, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Hurrah, Hurrah. Let the bulldozers roar. Let the construction begin. Let the school improvements begin. The children and their parents thank you for this.

As for the obstructionists that bought houses next to a school and are now complaining about playground noise and school traffic . . Doooh!

There are not too many upsides to living next to a school, especially if you don't have any kids that are attending it. The biggest upside is that you can SELL your house to someone with school age kids, that actually likes having the school nearby. I suggest the old fogeys that have miserably failed in their attempts to prevent the school expansion and modernization, seriously consider moving out of there.

Meanwhile, there will be about 18 months of bulldozers and dump trucks and all that wonderful construction. It is sure gonna be loud in that neighborhood. And when they are finished, the school is going to be able to accommodate hundreds of more students that will park in front of people's houses to (gasp) get out of their car and walk to school.

Living next to an airport is ok, if you fly a lot or work there. If you have nothing to do with the airport, then the hating begins. I suggest the complaining seniors of Oak Knoll and Hill View start volunteering at their schools and get involved with the school community. Its hard to hate, when it's YOUR school. Its easy to be a pain in the keester, when it's THEIR school. Come on and join the school, the water is just fine.

Otherwise its gonna be a long painful 18 months (think about all that mud those trucks and vehicles are gonna be dragging through the streets). Shudder.


Posted by Finally!, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm

"Those facts and figures are fantasy most of the time."

They're only fantasy to YOU, because you cannot spin them. Majority of these numbers are pulled directly from the newspaper, or other journals. So, if you have a beef, go to those writers, not to Lee Duboc. Lee may be a bunch of things to you, but she is not a liar.

Keep on Keepin' on Lee!

Also, "Geezer Smasher" you forgot about the 3+ months of vacancy with our schools. Virtually a "sound free" summer. People next to schools only have to "put up with schools" when the kids are actually IN school. Lastly, I love the blogs that continue to bash the school superintendent about the "safety issues" what a laugh, the neighbors don't give a darn about the safety, it's all about them and their quiet little neighborhood.
Dig Baby Dig!!!


Posted by senior moment, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 10, 2008 at 5:13 pm

we went to a couple of the school "bored" meetings on Oak Knoll and watched the city council hearings. can't recall any neighbor complaining about playground noise near their houses. traffic is traffic around any school, but thought we heard "unmanaged" traffic for a neighborhood elementary school as a concern for the city to address, since the city is responsible for traffic safety issues on city streets. Oak Knoll has way too many kids for a campus its size, and the school board heard from their enrollment guru last night that there are nearly 150 kids attending who are outside of the OK enrollment boundary area. The district hasn't been very responsible in managing the overcrowding issue. They should buy out the remaining O'Connor lease as suggested in the bond measure to alleviate this problem. Could free up some space at Encinal for the upper grades.


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 10, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Finally!, Lee got smoked in the election because she perpetuated the negative garbage that became synonymous with Menlo Park politics. Incumbents losing by 2000 votes is really unheard of save for a scandal. You can spew your ignorance all day, but those are the facts. Lee is of a vocal minority that routinely disrespects neighbors and community members for taking an opposing view.

You guys can haunt these forums all you want. I will stay here and provide facts that will set the record straight.


Posted by otters in abundance, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 10, 2008 at 7:38 pm

don't know where this notion of senior citizens complaining about the Oak Knoll development came from. Way wrong. A lot of young families have moved in next to the school in the last 10 years so their kids could walk to school (instead of being driven), and use the great front playground that is scheduled for demolition.
BTW, none of the members of the site committee lived next to the school. In fact, the next door neighbors were excluded. No wonder they sought redress with the city, because the original plan submitted to voters for the bond measure had the buildings in back.
It was changed by a group hand picked by the school principal.
Ranella and company have consistently distorted the facts.


Posted by 10 o'clock scholar, a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Dec 11, 2008 at 3:56 pm

The extra kids at Oak Knoll who live outside the new boundary are siblings who are grandfathered in. Once they graduate out, Oak Knoll's enrollment will drop. Contrary to some previous postings, the district isn't letting truck-loads of kids transfer into Oak Knoll.


Posted by 12 o clock high, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Mr. Williams, the district enrollment consultant, gave his report at the school board this week (you can download it from the board online agenda link). He noted that OK currently has an alarming excess of intradistrict/Tinsley transfers (134) and Laurel is losing kids to Encinal. O'Connor is an alternative, but probably 2-3 years away from district use (even with a lease buyout)
With Laurel's construction finished and Encinal ready by Fall 09, district is asking for a logistical nightmare at OK with 2 years of chaotic construction and that many kids.
At the Hillview hearing last year on the OK plan, the Sandis engineer commented that OK was in the worst possible campus location for MPCSD (small size, far corner of the district, narrow, winding street access, odd shaped triangular campus).
When kindergarten reg begins Feb.2nd, board should take a hard look at reductions at OK for the next 2 years during construction, mainly because the "non resident" (outside OK enrollment boundary) typically are driven to school, rather than walk/bike. With construction and worker vehicles flooding the OK neighborhood it will be chaotic.


Posted by 10 o'clock scholar, a resident of Oak Knoll School
on Dec 12, 2008 at 10:53 am

Um, that's my point. The intradistrict transfers are the kids who are grandfathered in to Oak Knoll.

Oak Knoll enrollment could drop right away if the district made every kid who used to be in the Oak Knoll boundary switch schools, but I don't think anyone wants a riot on their hands.

Also, there's gonna be more construction at Laurel, and Encinal is running behind and isn't going to be done until spring 2010.


Posted by 12 o'clock hi, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:27 am

Mr. Williams stated "Oak Knoll School must maintain 120 students per grade level or the enrollment will exceed the Master Plan".
If OK Feb. registration exceeds that 120 per grade cap, the district may want to consider asking new renters (less then 2 years) with new enrollees , esp. in the Allied Arts/ Downtown apartment area, to go to Laurel or Encinal


Posted by So????, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

The "white elephant in the room" is the neighborhood complaining about the school in general. It wouldn't matter if 2 kids went to that school, versus 2,000. This is a NIMBY issue. They don't like the 2 story building, they don't like the drop off arrangement, they don't like losing the front playground, they don't like the curb cuts, they don't like losing a few trees......at some point it just begs the question: WHY did you move next to, or near, a school? It was YOUR choice. No one put a gun to your head, it was YOUR choice. Get over it, or sell your home and move. No doubt you'll command a huge price tag because you live NEAR a great school. See it for what it is, this argument is crazy.


Posted by Truth is an idot, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:55 am

Truth - Lee Duboc will be 100 years old, and you'll still be bashing her, she hasn't been on council for 2 years.(by the way, you've never been on council) Lee is no friend of the unions, THAT is why she lost, period. You know, the unions that are extorting the tax payers with overpaid workers and "free" pensions for the rest of their lives? Those unions.
Until Menlo Park gets a wake up calls, and discovers it is in deep doo doo with union extorted contracts, this will continue. I WELCOME Lee's perspective on the unions, and hopefully residents will see the light at some point. My concern is that people like you, who have such an overwhelming socialistic view on things, will continue to muddle up the issues, create "facts", and persuade public opinion with this nonsense! You should be banned from using your keyboard!


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm

You and your ever shrinking angry minority group have a right to your opinion. It is just when you try to act as if your opinion is fact, like John Boyle, Lee Duboc and Mickie Winkler do...that is when I feel it my duty to put the facts on the table.

I will not respond to the bush league tactics you use to try to bring this debate into the name calling ring.

It just smells of anger and desperation.

Lee put in her time and energy to help our city, I have said that many times here. She deserves our respect for that service. But the lies she portrays deserve to condemned.


Posted by packidermesque, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 12, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Appears that the "elephant" is the plan to trample a great school with the notion that bigger buildings, parking lots and removal of a dozen healthy Heritage trees make for a more enriching educational experience. Yes, the elephant's footprints are all over the "approved" plan. Drive around west menlo and look at the statement McMansions that are totally out of scale with the neighborhoods.
Just a reflection of the edifice complex that has infiltrated this great town with these transplants who think they are "entitled" to their own ego boost. Their paradigm, is "To hell with anybody else, we're making a statement". Great lesson for the younger generation about reducing carbon footprint, reoxygenation from natural vegetation/trees/open space, respect for the natural environment.


Posted by Truth Is an idot, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Great "facts" Truth, I see how they are all so nicely laid out, exact, and with a great deal of analytical thought. NOT. The day you start using facts, will be the day that you see the light and stop commenting on the way you "feel", or your gut reaction. Your spinning of true facts, and hard data, is getting boring, at some point you have to REALLY speak the "truth".


Posted by Diana, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm

I, for one, usually find Truth's posts quite interesting. What I find boring are posts from people who use noms de plume like "Truth is an idiot," and who otherwise engage in silly name-calling and belligerence. Do you really think you have to behave like a schoolyard bully to make a point?


Posted by So????, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm

"A dozen healthy heritage trees"??? Wow, that number has increase a bit, don't you think?
I guess a new, more environmentally friendly and energy efficient building is much worse than a bunch of FEMA trailers!? What open space are we talking about here? A playground?Please move to an open space! People are trying to improve things around here, a couple of McMansions shouldn't ruin your day!


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Attacking unions is such a shallow approach to managing a city. Blaming unions for all your problems is short sided. We have lots of problems and the councilmembers I supported are taking steps to address those. We have a business development plan, an actual strategy to find new sources of revenue (something that Lee and friends thought one meeting with business leaders would suffice), we have a user fee study to find out where we as a city are losing money (again, not someting considered important to your gang), we have a vision plan for ECR that is built on community input and not on a small group of like minded people (which means it may actually work!!!)...it is so obvious that this group on council gets it.

Unions negotiations may need to be public and we may need to start turning the screws a bit on those contracts, but union bashing and name calling just won't work and it is just obtuse.

We are in the midst of a transformation and our city, long term, will be so much better off for it.


Posted by Truth AND Diane are Idiots, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 12, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Your little, idealistic worlds, are nice to dream about, but as the legendary Clara Pell put it, "Where's the beef"? This question will be asked over, and over, and over again, as the "NO GROWTH over my dead body crew" continues to lead the gradual erosion of our city. during the next few years. I honestly believe that this is a cycle, and at some point the voters will wake up.


Posted by bird's eye view, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 12, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Could be the dozen goner heritage trees, including Oaks, city and neighbor mature Pines, are the collateral damage from construction. City arborist said as much at the city council hearing on the "negative" environmental impact report comments last year. Interesting that only Jeff Child had the conscience among the school board to abstain from approving the neg dec in May. Maybe it's because he grew up in Menlo? Has some scruples.
The replacement of double wide portables with permanent bldgs was never an issue. It was replacing true existing green space and Heritage trees with buildings and a U14 soccer field that could have been placed where the architect originally placed them. On existing hardscape asphalt instead of kid friendly green space.
Guess Architect Erwin Lee will have to look in the mirror some morning after the demolition commences and wish he had been more forceful with Ackerman's site design committee and the board. But, he's not from around these parts so what does it matter.


Posted by AgeOfReason, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 14, 2008 at 8:35 am

Posted by So????, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Dec 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

The "white elephant in the room" is the neighborhood complaining about the school in general. It wouldn't matter if 2 kids went to that school, versus 2,000. This is a NIMBY issue.
______________________________________________________________________

For some, it is clearly a NIMBY issue. For others, they have gone through great pains to say it is not. One household, in particular, has gone out of their way to provide alternative solutions when it is likely that the school remodel will actually improve their view.

Yes, it is possible to actually care about a larger ideal outside of ones own personal interest -- even when the rest of the public is blinded by the notion that shiny tall buildings with plasma screens are a proxy for educational quality. I can assure you that our students loose out to students in more than 20 first world and newly industrialized nations around the world because we don't have enough buildings and plasma screens.

Wake up!!!!


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