La Cañada Unified schools got good news in November, when voters approved a school bond to renovate district campuses. Flintridge Preparatory School’s master plan also got the go-ahead last month when the City Council denied an appeal against it.
And now, after six years of planning and compromise, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s vision of the future can move forward, after La Cañada City Council members voted Tuesday to adopt an FSHA Specific Plan guiding future development on the 42-acre campus.
Also Tuesday, in a study session before the regular meeting, council members discussed their own expansion plans, hearing proposals for renovating the interior of the new La Cañada Flintridge City Hall, purchased last October.
The FSHA vote concluded a lengthy discussion about a plan first conceived by the private school’s board members in 2011. The proposal calls for a 99,000-square-foot mostly subterranean parking garage, high school building and arts center expansion and other modernization projects.
Officials continuously revised the project to address neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise and public events on campus. In a settlement agreement, they instituted a traffic management plan and capped the number of large and small events, with additional restrictions on serving alcohol.
The FSHA Specific Plan establishes a framework for all future growth, which would be subject only to a director’s review. There would be no conditional use permits or planning commission hearings, and the plan would remain in effect until it was repealed.
President Sister Carolyn McCormack acknowledged the long journey required to bring the master plan to fruition.
“The mission of [FSHA] has been tested, challenged and strengthened,” she said. “We have found that adversity does offer multiple opportunities for growth and the development of one’s character.”
After a 4-0 vote (Mayor Mike Davitt, a former Sacred Heart board member, recused himself), audience members applauded.
“Now the real work starts,” said Mayor Pro Tem Terry Walker.
New LCF City Hall plans
In a special study session, council members heard a presentation from Pasadena-based Gonzalez Goodale Architects on how the new City Hall building, former site of the Sport Chalet corporate office, might be configured to provide public access and isolate city departments from other, leasable spaces in the building.
Principal Harry Drake described a 1,440-square-foot council chambers on the first floor with video screens and a community room and kitchen that could be used by local groups. City offices would occupy the second floor, a plan Councilman Greg Brown opposed.
“I think we’re making a mistake going to the second floor,” he said, estimating build-out costs exceeding $2 million. “I continue to feel that is not efficient or economically wise.”
Consultants and architects plan to return at a future meeting with cost estimates.