Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

Preschool Approved on Delaware Ave Over Neighborhood Objections

Part of a trend of schools in R1 Santa Monica neighborhoods


February 6, 2018

Preschool approved in an R1 neighborhood pursuant to LUCE

Over numerous resident objections, the Santa Monica City Council has turned down an appeal from a decision to allow a 20 student preschool at 2953 Delaware Avenue.

They did add about 60 conditions to the preschool, intended to abate noise, traffic and the like.

The Gandara Park neighborhood mobilized against the proposed preschool. Hi, I'm a resident of SM in the Gandara (formerly known s Stewart Park) Neighborhood.

"200 SM residents geared up to attend and support our request for a denial of a conditional use permit to be issued to a business, early education center, to turn a single family, R-1 home, in the middle of our neighborhood into a business. While we support education, we are already plagued with traffic from the expo line and have deep concerns about the 50+ additional vehicle trips in and through our neighborhood," wrote local resident Christine Parra. The group opposing the preschool raised more than $8000 to oppose it.

The 1500 square foot home is located in an R1 residential neighborhood and is a typical home there. The conversion to a preschool is considered by some to be part of a trend

In 2015, the City revised it's zoning ("LUCE") and allowed among other changes, preschools in residential neighborhoods. Since then, they have proliferated, often to the consternation of neighbors.

Group of Delaware neighbors opposing the preschool in Gandara neighborhood

Laila Taslimi, the applicant, wrote to us before the hearing: "It is unfortunate readers may see the "50 children" and panic.  A center can only be licensed for number of children within their parameters of square footage per child, each indoors and outdoors.  While we would likely be licensed for a little over 20 based on the size of this house, at my direction the we will not exceed 20, so the CUP analysis and approval limits us to that number of 20.  That cannot change. 

The website appeared to be the single source used in the Observer article, although my email address and telephone number are on the sign on the front lawn if the reporter came to Delaware Avenue.

Even their website correctly lists the maximum number of children as 20 (although somewhere in there I think they write 20+, which is not correct).

All our neighborhood communications (3 different fliers, plus when I met neighbors going door-to-door), dating back to 2015, specified we plan to open with 12 children and grow to 20 children.

Most importantly, our Planning Commission approval is based on that maximum number of 20. "


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