Letter: Not so fast on FSHA expansion

The Valley Sun on Feb. 27 published two letters critical of the recent ad placed in your newspaper by Protect La Cañada Flintridge (“Protect LCF”) pertaining to the proposed expansion of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Protect LCF has retained legal counsel and engineers to assist in their review and analysis of the draft specific plan. The draft plan would allow the school to build a large event and banquet facility for hundreds and thousands of guests, for gatherings and parties unrelated to the mission and operation of a religious girls school. This events and banquet facility could serve alcohol, charge rent, and do so an unlimited number of times throughout the year.

Do we really want to allow an alcohol-serving banquet hall (at the top of a difficult-to-access hill) that generates revenue for the tax-exempt school year-round, creating incentives for the school to rent it out as often as possible while nearby residents bear the brunt of the extremely dangerous driving conditions that will be created?

The draft plan would permit over 600 guests an unlimited number of times throughout the year if the school simply provides some off-site parking and shuttle service, regardless of whether the shuttle service or school vans are even used. The letter from the Sheriff’s Department cited in the ad identified seven car accidents in our immediate area on the access roads to FSHA, four of which involved cars that flipped over.

The two letters by supporters of FSHA fail to even mention any aspect of this expansion, or the documented inherent danger in the treacherous access roads to FSHA. These two letters, to use one of the author's words, are “shameless and inaccurate,” and have a reckless disregard for the truth and the underlying facts.

Protect LCF sounded the alarm and performed a public service as FSHA attempted to use its political influence with city officials to “fast track” approve a $50-million dramatic expansion of its size and scope of activities in what was originally described as a modest rehabilitation. Protect LCF has educated our community and its leaders to real concerns and issues surrounding the FSHA expansion.

We are all for educating the girls and modernizing the campus. Let’s stay focused on the real issues!

John Pridjian
La Cañada Flintridge

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