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Val Verde residents oppose Castaic school site

Hart district: Can’t please everyone all the time

Posted: October 17, 2008 10:00 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
One thing the Hart district learned during its years of trying to build a high school in the Castaic area is that you can’t please everyone.

After pacifying most Castaic residents by selecting the Sterling residential site — far from most Castaic homes — the William S. Hart Union High School District riled some residents of Val Verde, which is adjacent to the school site.

But having several Val Verde residents speak out against the school’s location during the public hearing portion of Thursday’s board meeting did not stop the Hart district governing board from voting to approve the area between the Commerce Center and Val Verde as the site for the long-awaited school.

“A high school is the last thing that anyone in this community would ever want,” Val Verde resident Luke Salzarulo told the board. “Val Verde is a great little community. It’s just an awesome place, and we enjoy living there.”

Concerns voiced by Val Verde residents included the traffic, noise and light pollution that would result from such a project.

But some speakers were upset about simply being caught off guard by the news.

“The way this has been done is not at all democratic and is completely unfair,” Luke Salzarulo said. “You guys should reconsider your decision.”

The Hart district did its best to gather input from the Castaic community regarding the six locations, according to Rob Gapper, chief operations officer for the district.

“The Castaic Area Town Council put out an invitation to the entire community to be at (Wednesday’s) meeting because the Hart district would be reviewing the proposed sites for Castaic high school,” Gapper said.

“We also spoke to the Castaic Area Town Council and the Castaic Union School District prior to the meeting to get their input.”

Access to the school is not through the community of Val Verde, so traffic will not affect those residents, Gapper said.

“Those roads (in Val Verde) are very narrow,” he said. “They’re too narrow (for) access to the school.”

Val Verde resident Frank Miscione added that without sidewalks on those streets, Val Verde students won’t be able to walk to the high school.

“You’re building this in our back yard and we have no access,” Miscione said. “We’re going to end up buying bus passes or driving all the way around.”

Castaic Area Town Council Member Vanessa Brookman, who represents Val Verde, said there is a reason Val Verde has no sidewalks.

“Nobody wants sidewalks — they want that rural feel — but, believe me, that doesn’t stop them from walking down the street,” Brookman said. “(Students) could walk to that school very easily.”

Brookman and the other Town Council members support the site selected by the district and voted to endorse it on Wednesday.

“You’re never going to be able to put a high school in people’s back yard without someone crying about it,” Brookman said. “Everyone wants a high school, but no one wants it next to them.”

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