A plan to build a three-story preschool at 972 N. San Vicente Blvd. will be back on the West Hollywood Planning Commission’s agenda Thursday, with the developer having made changes in response to concerns raised at a February meeting.
The pre-school is a project of Nasim Pahlavan. Pahlavan’s mother has run her own preschool in Massachusetts for 36 years and is helping her daughter with the West Hollywood project, which is designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects. It will serve up to 72 children from 18 months to five years old.
The property, which is near Harratt Street, currently is home to a 1,220-square-foot front house constructed in 1905 and a 990-square-foot detached dwelling in the rear constructed in 1946.
The biggest concern raised by neighbors of the site and members of the Planning Commission was the impact of vehicles dropping off and picking up students at the school in the mornings and afternoons. Those drop offs and pickups are intended to be made in the underground parking structure. Under the initial design for the underground parking structure, cars exiting and cars entering would have had to alternate with one another in a narrow lane, leading to a possible backup of cars onto the street outside.
A report to the Planning Commission by the city’s Planning and Development Services Department says the revised design has “allowed the driveway ramp to be shortened, alleviating the bottleneck and increasing the pick-up and drop-off queue capacity within the parking garage by 33% to allow for up to 12 SUV-size vehicles – an increase of three vehicles in the queue,” thus reducing the possibility of a lineup of vehicles outside on San Vicente.
The school also now plans to add a third 30-minute pick-up and drop-off window to further relieve potential vehicle congestion. The first time slot will begin at 8 a.m. and third will end at 9:30 a.m., says the staff report. In the afternoon, the first time slot will begin at 3 p.m. and the third will end at 4:30 p.m. “The applicant assumes 60 vehicles arriving per day (this factors in siblings, absences, etc.). This would bring the number of vehicles per timeslot down from 30 vehicles to 20.”
The revised plan also calls for extending the six-foot-tall wall between the campus and the adjacent residential area to 10 feet to further reduce the chance that neighbors will be bothered by noise from the campus.
“ The project is thoughtfully designed and conforms to the West Hollywood General Plan,” says the report from the Planning Department, which recommends the Planning Commission approve it. It notes that the city’s General Plan “encourages childcare facilities in new developments, facilitates the provisions of childcare services in public facilities, and allows childcare services in areas zoned for residential use. Additionally, the project meets the intent of the development standards for a non-residential building in a residential zoned site. The building is compatible with the scale, bulk, and mass of existing buildings in the vicinity and does not impair the integrity and character of the zoning district.”
The Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. Parking is free in the five-story structure to the west of the Chambers with a ticket validated at the Commission meeting.