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Castaic outcry overturns school plans

Private academy must revise proposal

Posted: September 16, 2008 8:44 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.

It's back to the drawing board for the director of a small, private school who was hoping to relocate the campus from Valencia to a private home in Castaic.

Terry Cranert already received approval from the county to convert a Hasley Canyon home into Monticello Preparatory School.

But after his Hasley Canyon neighbors discovered the plan and voiced their disapproval, the county reneged on the agreement, saying the project was incorrectly approved and that Cranert will have to go through the entire approval process again.

"The prior approval by the county has been rescinded as it was done incorrectly," said Castaic Area Town Council Member John Kunak. "He needs to file a revised application and begin the required studies again."

While Cranert is disappointed by the turn of events, he is not deterred from his original mission to bring, "an oasis of culture in an otherwise desert of ignorance."

"I don't know if (the county is) bowing to political pressure or not, but they're having us re-apply," Cranert said. "We're trying to rectify the situation and we're planning on moving forward."

County representatives from about a half dozen agencies will be at today's Castaic Area Town Council meeting to discuss the approval process for the school, Kunak said.

Hasley Canyon resident Sally Ellis said she and her neighbors will also be at the meeting to let the county folks know how they feel about their potential new neighbor.

"The neighborhood is just real riled up, because this is a very narrow canyon with a one-lane road," Ellis said. "We're (going to) end up with dead kids up here and nobody wants that."

Ellis said she and her neighbors have nothing against Cranert personally and they think the school is a wonderful idea.

They just want to see it open its doors someplace else.

"We're not attacking the guy - he's got a lovely idea for a school," she said. "This is just not the place for it."
Despite being told to take his school and go elsewhere at the last town council meeting, Cranert said he has the same right to be in Hasley Canyon as his neighbors.

"They haven't made me feel real welcome, but the area is zoned for a school and we have just as much right to have a school there as they are to have homes there," Cranert said. "We would hope that over time we could win them over but we are not deterred by some people who are against the project."


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