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November 25, 2013

Comments

Locavore

Unfortunately, BSD could have avoided all this had they not attempted to steamroll this project. Just commission an EIR to begin with and argue about the substantive evidence of potential environmental benefits i.e. improving public services: education, creating a playground for the neighborhood kids to to use, make some hiking trails around the school, school containing a community room for recreational activities for example.

BSD dug their hole a little too early (in more ways than one) and should have followed due process, proactively commission an EIR and argue the benefits to the environment, which includes population and public services. The mistake was made when they (or their less than competent consultants) thought a negative declaration was appropriate when in fact it wasn't.

up-the-street-neighbor

I read the article on the BSD court defeat. BSD's MacIsaac repeats the mantra of disappointment that the court defeat will delay the school opening at the expense of the kids. Days ago she told a parent meeting that the school was unlikely to open due to other factors. BSD has a hillside of problems that will hike the cost of the "250 student" school even higher and higher. Water Drainage, Earthquake Retrofitting, Toxic Substance Testing... and probably more.

Lorne

Updated November budget and expenditures-to-date for Hoover (bond Measures A and D, one page reports, respectively):

http://www.scribd.com/doc/186991355/Burlingame-Hoover-School-Measure-A-and-Measure-D-Expenditures-Budget-November-2013

Slowly-Slowly, All The Trees Will Be Gone

Locavore,

You sound astute on real estate processes.

As a school real estate broker, I've seen both full EIRs required and also Negative Declarations instead for new school lease and purchase permitting.

In my opinion, having to cut down trees and significantly increase traffic through a small street where a school hasn't existed in a long time, should have justified the EIR upfront.

The State of California has extensive Ed Code laws on school real estate, but then again, the public schools can disregard them and keep the real estate transactions valid, if they choose.

I think that Hoover SHOULD be used as a public school site again, however I don't like the growing trend of State / Government organizations believing that they are above our laws.

If The State is going to PUSH towns like Burlingame to deliver 865 new dwelling units by 2022, then we'll need additional public school sites in addition to Hoover. We need to try to enroll as many students that are in the immediate area of each school as possible to encourage walking or at least minimize traffic.

School Districts like BSD need to hire school real estate experts to plan for more appropriate new school campuses in advance of the projected demand. (not brokers who have simply sold school land to housing developers, but rather brokers who have successfully planned, identified and negotiated complex acquisitions for school use).

Ideally for our town, this should have been sold to Valley International Academy (a boarding school for students from China) by the former owner Shinnyo-en Budhist Temple, which would have better respected private property rights (in contract at $10M) and resulted in very little traffic to this small site. The city rejected the permitting for VIA, partially because the neighbors didn't want the minor traffic, but mostly because BSD wanted the site (at 50% of the value) instead.

I'm happy to talk about commercial or school real estate questions or concerns over a coffee at Il Piccolo or a beer at Behan's or Steelhead anytime - simply to help our town and to help our neighbors better understand the laws and dynamics of real estate as they impact us.

Cheers,

Alex

Bruce Dickinson

Hi, my name is Bruce Dickinson (yes *the* Bruce Dickinson) and you have got what appears to be a big problem as some of folks above have pointed out. Here's my advice: Burlingame City council needs to pass a resolution to drop out of the Association of Bay Area Governments. It is obvious that our 50+% rental population has gotten this city nothing in terms any leverage with respect to getting transportation funding or have any say on what happens with it (Broadway overpass, HSR, and now trees/ECR).

Next step, the city in concert with private citizens, who would be more than willing to donate, need to hire a lawyer (how about Marten Law, LLC as they seem to be doing a dynamite job with Hoover) to prepare to litigate under CEQA as it appears this is what is going to come down to. Perhaps actually better this be handled by private citizens as the City Council has been too late to the party in taking decisive action. The flip-flopping on HSR that occurred and recent tag-along behavior in joining lawsuits at the last minute during an election year and when obvious the HSR isn't going to work is probably an indication that doing anything to upset public agencies is only going to ruin their perceived career prospects. Exhibit A: Nagel's spirited defense of Caltrans. It's time to take decisive action with overwhelming force!

EPC

Alex - you sound like you are familiar with the CCR Title 5 site selection criteria. From a cursory review of these standards, it appears that the Hoover site fails to meet many of the criteria; most significantly is the fact that school sites shall not be located where private easements constrain access. Due to a private easement abutting the Hoover property, the site has no access from one side - the side that formerly served as the entrance to Hoover school when it was in operation, as well as where added parking and a possible the drop-off/pick-up area could be located. Isn't it the purpose of the the site selection standards to avoid choosing sites that pose these types of problems? The Hoover site further fails to meet minimum acreage requirements, among others, including that it is unsafe to walk or bike to this school due to the hilly, windy and narrow streets with no sidewalks. When this school is all said and done, there will be absolutely no room for expansion (also one of the criteria to be considered). I'm surprised at your opinion that this SHOULD be used as a public school. I'm not an expert, but using this property for a public school in the modern era makes no sense.

Editor

Bruce,
We're happy to publish you comments, but please do not cut and paste the same comment onto multiple posts. We have enough problems with spam as it is without legitimate bloggers adding to the issue. Your redundant post to the one above has been declined.

Bruce Dickinson

Hello Editor, I am sorry for the confusion I meant to publish this under the Timberjack Terry article and then realized I made a mistake. You can delete and I can repost under the right article.

hillsider

Who is *the* Bruce Dickinson? Sounds like a bit of an ego problem in the making. Oh and by the way dropping out of the Asses of Bay Area Government doesn't mean you get yer money back. Maybe *the* Dickinson has a solution for that?

up-the-street-neighbor

The sale of the school site really sounds sleazy to me. Unethical, illegal? Should San Mateo County Grand Jury investigate since there are so many public entities involved. >Shinyo- en Temple tries to sell the property for $10 million to Valley School. Some in community objected to the 15 or so bus rides a day to take the students from a SSF dorm to the school site. (At least they had a plan!)
>Burlingame Planning Commission rejects the Valley School plan and the sale falls through. (there must be a very unhappy realtor out there!) Now--guess who is the chairperson of the Burlingame Planning Commission?
>Burlingame School District purchases the site for a deep discount.
>Burlingame Planning Commission approves plan for public school. (Chairperson does not attend meeting).
>BSD proceeds with development of school with premise that there is little of no environmental impact or traffic problems. (Would require a heliport to handle their transit needs).
>Chairperson of Burlingame Planning Commission chairperson (a consultant) receives substantial contract to plan and oversee the school construction for BSD.
I am thankful that the court slowed down this juggernaut. This tag team has been so fearless that they certainly left a clear trail.

Bruce Dickinson

I gotta tell ya folks, I don't like the looks of that document posted. When Bruce Dickinson sees a 4.9 million site purchase and 1.5 million in architectural fees, he questions if Frank Gehry himself was hired as the architect given the price tag. That’s 30% of the cost of the site! Is this a trompe l’oeil or the real deal fellas?

Slowly-Slowly, All The Trees Will Be Gone

EPC, you make some good points.

Some of the properties on Rollins make more sense for a larger, modern school, if the city would approve the zoning change / if the industrial neighbors there wouldn't sue too bad. Really 2220 Summit would make a wonderful large preschool. And, the boarding school buyer would have been ideal.

I have a few other off-market sites that I believe would work well for a school.

Like I said during my City Council campaign, "Let's restore balance & ethics". With 30% of voters voting, and me spending about $1.7K, perhaps we'll get there next time.

Al Segni

Bruce and up-the-street-neighbor are on to something, and it just keeps getting better. The same consultant earning 1.5 million in fees is also the Program Management company with over 4 million in fees. Add it all up and it doesn't add up, does it? 20 million in construction and site purchase, 2 million in fees for a "250 student" school?

up-the-street-neighbor

The price tag will rise. How is BSD going to explain that they are spending a huge amount on legal fees caused by their reckless disregard of state environmental laws. Check out that line item for legal fees and also note the BSD, due to their negligence, will be liable for opponent legal fees as well.
Now take a drive by the "money pit" and you will see extensive work to battle water drainage problems on the site which were also caused by lack of planning and prior testing in their big rush. Did BSD, do the required testing. Anyone who lives in the area knows this hillside is full of artesian springs. What a mess!
Note the signs on the fence concerning toxic waste testing that all of a sudden in November -- BSD needed to perform. Another step missed in the BSD that will add to more costs. What will happen if it turns out that that the place is toxic. More lawsuits?
This whole fiasco could have been prevented if BSD and their planners spent the time and effort to do the precautionary tests which are mandated by law. Instead, they took the path of creating "portable classroom panic", a "tree cutting emergency" and a strategic PR campaign to create an illusion that they have been working with the neighbors on solutions to their mess.

Lorne

FYI, here are the latest expenditure reports by vendor/contractor for both Measures A and Measure D. The scanned document is 6 pages; you can click on "Full View" to make it easier to read:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/187962256/Burlingame-Hoover-School-Expenditures-by-Vendor-November-2013

Pete Garrison

Roof is off.
Rain is coming.

Bruce Dickinson

Next time I see Rick Terrones at city hall, I'll be sure to congratulate him on being $8 million richer for his work on Burlingame Schools. That's more money than producing a couple of gold records in the music biz. Its also enough money to educate 25% of BSD's kids for a year at $9000 per kid, the current funding per kid give or take a couple of bills that comes from the State.

Fellas I gotta tell you, it appears that this is a situation of incestuous government. Planning commissioners who are the gatekeepers for community project approvals and get $8 million richer in doing so. Is it because the architecture is so dynamite in nature that no other architect could come up with the ritzy new buildings at Lincoln? Is it because Frank Gehry really isn't the shiz and the world's best architecture is right in your backyard? Or is it because the favorite local architect du jour sits on the approval commission and can help grease the skids in getting things done and that service comes at a price! Lots of questions folks!

up-the-street-neighbor

The spending report looks like a consultant feeding frenzy. Noticed a consulting fee from CB Ellis for research of the former school site. Would like to follow the money further and see who actually sold the property and the amount of commission made. Would be quite interested to trace relationships with those in oversight positions such as school board, planning commission, city council. Just about all of them are either Realtors or developers. Nothing seems right or logical about this project and that normally means MONEY is the motive. Oh yes, BSD is saving the children from overcrowding -- so nobody should ask any questions. Not!

Holyroller

I told you so.
Grand Jury coming soon.
Maybe we will be able to shine a light on all this "old boys club."
I voted for Kent.
This "project" from day one was so wrong, I was surprized it ever got off the ground.
Being that the school is in an un-incorparated neighborhood of Burlingame, and being built with funds from the school district elected officals who may or may not have any personal connections, is an egg I would like to see cracked.
Even the casual observer could see this project is "PORK."

Two Percent Kent

This casual observer knows that Kent got two percent. Any questions.

AEK

Oh God, another mean-spirited comment by a coward who can't even use their real name.

You must be a "Rules for Radicals" worshipper who believes in slandering in the name of your political party, and the opposite of Love Thy Neighbor ethics.

Enjoy the result.

AEK

I'd like to offer a correction to a statement I made earlier about the Hoover School site at 2220 Summit.

It was for sale a few years ago for $10M, and it was "in contract" for $7.6M to Valley International Academy, per the quote from the former Head of School.

So, the $7.6M purchase offer was accepted by seller, contingent upon planning permit approval by the city (usually a combination of planning commission and also city council for higher impact proposals, and project managed by the Planning Department city staff).

"Hi Alex!

7.6m for the property.

Hope is well with you and yours. It was great seeing you on Election Day. It's awesome that you made the effort to run.

Best to you,"

Bruce Dickinson

Hey babies, namely AEK and 2% Kent, do us a favor: keep your diapers on. Nobody especially Bruce Dickinson wants to see you start actually pooping on each other.

Anne

Funny. AEK's been pooping around town for some time.

Holyroller

Could you please elaborate/define your "Pooping Around Town" statement please Anne?
What are you commenting on?
Who is AEK?
Thanks Anne.
I am looking forward to your response.
HR

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