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Hasley Canyon no place for a school

Posted: October 24, 2008 7:43 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Though it read like an advertisement, Rebecca Cranert's three-quarter-page "Myths vs. facts, Hasley Canyon Private School" was in The Signal's Oct. 5 opinion pages, so I am moved to respond regarding the points raised by Mrs. Cranert.

My opinion as a current resident of the canyon and this valley should count at least as much as that of a proposed resident of the canyon (the school) or a non-resident of the valley (the Cranerts, who live in Pasadena).

I stand with the many, many neighbors who have shown up at the Castaic Area Town Council meetings in opposition to this plan.

As a resident of Hasley Canyon, and a bit further into it than the proposed school location, I and my neighbors will be impacted by any increase in traffic. Deny it if you'd like, but that is a fact.

The road is a single lane in each direction with no shoulders. Deliver and release 100 students and 15 teachers in and out each day, and no matter how you slice it, it equals traffic not currently there.

Since seven people have been killed on this road in the last 10 years, adding to the existing traffic does nothing to ease my concern that it could be my family in the next accident.

Most of us who live here do so because it is quiet. You can hear a bird winging its way from the edge of your property.

The loudest noise you're likely to hear during the day is a horse or donkey, with the occasional delivery truck or motorcycle. A weekend backyard party almost anywhere in this canyon is audible to most of the neighborhood because of the lack of background noise.

We all know that kids need the release of physical activity at times during the day, and it surely won't be possible in the interior of a 3,400-square-foot converted single-family home.

They've stated it will be between the house and road. Noise, no matter how well-mannered the children, is going to increase.

Neighborhood character
To those points made by Mrs. Cranert I have only one question. Would anyone reading this welcome as an asset to your home 100 students and 15 teachers, coming in and out of your next-door neighbor's repossessed house five days a week? I didn't think so.

I seriously doubt that any home built in this canyon or any other valley neighborhood was intended to have more than 100 people in it each day. If this school moves in, the character of the neighborhood will be changed.

Once the changes necessary to allow this home to be used as a school have been made (increased doorway sizes, interior sprinklers, walls removed, multiple bathroom facilities, septic expansion, among other things), will it really be able to be re-sold as a single-family home again if the school is not commercially successful?

Despite their stated intention that the building would not be sold as anything other than a home, the same zoning rules that allow a school to exist in this area also allow group homes for who knows who.

The zoning allows schools, as it should, but it does not address changing a home into a school. Change the building's intended use, and it will be much more appealing as a group home or residential facility, and much less appealing as a single-family home.

Fire safety
The fact is that this canyon has one entry and exit point. It is the same reason the Fire Department has had a moratorium on additional extensive building in this canyon.

An additional 100-plus people between my family evacuating and the exit does nothing to make me think this is a good idea.

This, to me, is simply a matter of right and wrong. How anyone can think stuffing 100 children into a converted single-family home makes sense is beyond me.

For all of you reading this, are you concerned at what this precedent could mean to your neighborhood?
You should be.

Michael Murphy is a resident of Castaic. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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