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Flintridge Sacred Heart seeks its own zone

Move would allow rules for development to be established up front at FSHA.

October 21, 2012|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • A parking lot under the watchful eye of Mother Mary at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada Flintridge. The school wants the city to create a specific zone for the campus.
A parking lot under the watchful eye of Mother Mary at Flintridge… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

After Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's campus revamp master plan stalled this summer, the school regrouped and now is asking the city to create a specific plan zone for its property.

Margaret Kean, Sacred Heart's director of development, said that with a specific plan, the school will be better able to achieve its own goals while accommodating the concerns of local residents and abiding by city rules by establishing up front with the city what the rules should be for its property.

“The specific plan really sets the parameters for all our building standards and operations up front, and it will be a law that we follow that really guides our land uses and our physical development,” she said.

Kean said the decision to ask for a specific plan was made by school officials over the summer when they realized they could not achieve what they were hoping for under the school's current conditional-use permit.

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Over a five-year period, the school plans to build a four-story parking structure, add classroom space and replace its auditorium with a larger humanities and performing arts building.

“What they were trying to do is fit these buildings in that conditional-use-permit process, which didn't really achieve the goal,” said Robert Stanley, the city's director of Community Development. “In the long run, it will be better for the community in that area and for this project site [to have a specific plan in place].”

Stanley said putting together a specific plan will entail setting general zoning guidelines for the campus while addressing specific issues.

“They're trying to deal with all the issues that have come up … traffic issues, building-height issues,” he said. “This will get down to specifics to what the building can look like, not just height and setbacks. [The plan] will possibly get into design.”

Stanley said the city staff's review of the specific plan likely won't appear before the Planning Commission until February or March due to the amount of study involved, including a full environmental impact report. At that point, the Planning Commission will vote on whether to approve the plan.

Protect LCF, a group of residents who have banded together to protest the proposed renovation, has continued its pressure on the city and the school.

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