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School moves ahead with transforming GM site

School moves ahead with transforming GM site
A rendering of Lycee International de Los Angeles at the former General Motors site in Burbank.
(Illustration courtesy of LILA)

The European-style prep school that is in escrow to buy the former General Motors training facility in Burbank’s Rancho district from a Santa Monica developer is moving ahead with plans to call the site home.
The Lycée International de Los Angeles, which has four campuses, including one each in Los Feliz and Pasadena, filed paperwork requesting an administrative use permit with the city to allow a school to operate at the site, officials said.

The roughly 5-acre site is zoned for office use.

Students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade attend the bicultural and bilingual school. Iaian Whyte, a board member and finance director for the school, said this week that the paperwork is essentially about what the school plans to do with the site.

“We’ve applied to the city, and New Urban West allowed us to apply,” Whyte said, referring to the developer that gave up on the site after encountering strong neighborhood opposition to a planned residential project.


Burbank Community Development Director Michael Forbes confirmed that New Urban West withdrew its development agreement Friday before the school submitted its application.

A traffic study and environmental study were conducted, and the city is in the process of reviewing them, Whyte said, adding that environmental studies came back clean.

“That was our biggest worry, and nothing came up,” Whyte said. “No environmental cleanup is needed, thank goodness.”

From a traffic standpoint, “it doesn’t seem like it’s anything overwhelming, but the city has to opine,” Whyte said. “We’re moving full speed ahead on the transaction.”


About 40% of the school’s 225 students will be bused in, Whyte said, adding that other students carpool.

Whyte said the traffic is staggered because students and staff arrive between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and leave between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Processing the application and completing the environmental review process, including the traffic study, will take several months, Forbes said. The city will complete its own traffic study, he added.

There will be a community meeting before the Planning Board hearing, but neither of those meetings have been scheduled.

“We hope to have the Planning Board hearing by, or before, September and the community meeting sooner,” Forbes said. “Public notice will be provided in the newspaper and via mail of both meetings.”

The City Council will review the project only if an appeal of the Planning Board’s decision is filed, Forbes said. There is a 15-day appeal period after the Planning Board acts. If no appeal is filed, the decision will be final.

The school anticipates moving in by fall 2013, Whyte said.