New Arbor Heights Elementary: The appeal decision is in

May 21, 2014 at 9:40 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 6 Comments

No formal environmental review for the new Arbor Heights Elementary School project that’s replacing the crumbling original 65-year-old school. That’s what the district originally had decided, issuing a Determination of Non-Significance; more than two dozen neighbors appealed the decision, arguing their case at a May 8th hearing (WSB coverage here), and now the appeal ruling is in, starting with an introductory letter by Superintendent José Banda:

(If you can’t see the Scribd embed above, here’s the document as a PDF.) If you want to skip ahead, the conclusions of Margaret Klockars, the hearing examiner who handled the case, start on page 7, after a recap of what the district originally decided and the points that were argued. Bottom line: While Klockars agreed that the checklist leading to the original Determination of Non-Significance had a few errors and omissions, she believed the supplemental information provided later by the district showed no major impact in areas of concern from traffic to trees, so the DNS conclusion “was not erroneous.”

SIDE NOTE: As reported here last night, the district has set a community meeting June 2nd for questions/answers/updates on the project, which will start after the school year ends and everything is moved out of the to-be-demolished buildings. AHES will hold classes at the Boren Building for the next two years, with the new school expected to be ready for fall 2016.

6 Comments

  1. Hallelujah! Common sense prevails.

    Comment by jwright — 10:32 am May 21, 2014 #

  2. Realistically, what is the most probable timeline now for new school to open? September 2016? 2017?

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 11:08 am May 21, 2014 #

  3. I wager it will be built before the Alaskay Way tunnel project finishes.

    Comment by Gina — 1:17 pm May 21, 2014 #

  4. I heard optimistic is Jan 2016 but more realistically Sept 2016.

    Comment by Bonnie — 1:34 pm May 21, 2014 #

  5. It’s baffling that the school district can make a determination of no significant traffic impact on the neighborhood. There wasn’t even a consultation with SDOT, and 300+ trips (not including many additional school buses) will be flooding the already crowded, narrow, sidewalk-less streets in the adjacent area. The usual bureaucratic BS, and it was NOT for lack of involvement by neighbors.

    Comment by anonyme — 6:24 am May 22, 2014 #

  6. It appears the school district can do whatever it chooses, again. Arbor Heights does desperately need a new school–but it is very disturbing that the school district, time and again, can ride roughshod over neighborhood concerns (as with the Madison signboard). I can’t in good conscience suggest people withhold support for school bonds to get attention to this problem–but the established public process does not seem to do more than give lip service to neighborhood concerns. I’m not sure what else to do.

    Comment by Julie — 6:48 pm May 22, 2014 #

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