Last chance for neighbors of Francis Parker School

Residents hope for successful appeal to halt expansion

Community members in Linda Vista hope to overturn a San Diego Planning Commission approval of a massive expansion of one of San Diego's most elite private schools, the Francis Parker School in Linda Vista.

As reported by the Reader, Francis Parker administrators and alumni say the school has outgrown its 22.45-acre footprint and the school is in need of new athletic fields. The project calls for the demolition of three buildings in order to make room for new buildings totaling 103,182 square feet and which will include a new parking garage, an outdoor aquatic center, and addition of a new track-and-field course that runs around the football field. The school says the new athletic facilities will serve an additional ten night events per year.

The expansion, say administrators, will help the school absorb an increase in student enrollment of 140 students, from 800 to 940.

Residents living in the apartment complex adjacent to the school have long objected to the expansion. While claiming to support the school and the expansion, residents believe the school has failed to return that support by pushing for installation of a new traffic light at Linda Vista Road and Northrim Court leading to a driveway that will serve as a pick-up and drop-off spot for students. The residents will be forced to share access with students, service vehicles, buses, delivery trucks, and staff traveling to and from the school.

In July of this year, San Diego planning commissioners approved Francis Parker's proposal. At the hearing, commissioners dismissed the residents' claims.

"This is a high school and high schools have kids in them and kids make noise," commissioner James Whalen said after hearing the residents' objections. "So, I am not sympathetic to residents that live near high schools and say this will add noise to their neighborhood."

The appeal to the city council is the final recourse for residents who are fighting the proposal. The hearing will take place during the November 15 city-council meeting.

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