STUDIO CITY—The Studio City Neighborhood Council’s (SCNC) ad hoc committee concluded in their December 11 meeting at CBS Studios that Harvard-Westlake School needs to address more issues before submitting a final environmental impact report. The meeting began with Harvard-Westlake students giving an hour-and-a-half charge in support of the school’s Parking Improvement Plan. At 8:30 p.m., the supporters were replaced by Studio Cityresidents and neighborhood groups who voiced their opposition.
While the neighborhood council approved of the school’s plan, it also concluded that Harvard-Westlake’s environmental report was not thorough and did not propose enough ways to compensate anyone affected by the construction.
In April 2013, the school proposed the Harvard-Westlake Parking Improvement Plan, which seeks to build a three-story parking structure with an athletic-field on its roof and a sky-bridge connecting the structure to the rest of the campus. Both the parking structure and the bridge will be on the west side of Coldwater Canyon, which runs perpendicular to the Santa MonicaMountains. The purpose of the construction is to provide additional parking for students, parents, faculty, staff and visitors. Also the structure will reduce traffic flow and beautify the Canyon’s natural landscape, and the bridge will provide safe pedestrian crossing.
The group most vocally opposed to this plan is Save Coldwater Canyon (SCC), which is most concerned about the environmental impacts such as the noise and congestion that will be created during the three-year construction process and the loss of bio-diversity. According to the SCC website, construction will result in the loss of hundreds of oak and walnut trees, shrubs, birds and mammals; also, the Canyon’s water table will be damaged and the natural scenic view that visitors and residents enjoy will be disrupted.
During the meeting, the ad hoc committee recommended that the school draw an updated blueprint of the project, in which the construction vehicles are clearly staged and nearby houses are identified. Also, it suggested that the school provide adequate compensation for any of the families who may be affected by the noise pollution and potential damage to their property. For the convenience of the homeowners, the committee suggested that the school hire a “noise disturbance coordinator” for residents to call whenever issues arise, as well as a traffic control officer to facilitate traffic flow during construction. Other suggestions included planting shrubs and other buffers around the parking structure to muffle the noise.
One important issue brought up at the meeting was that of Sunnyside Preschool, which is also near the proposed site. SCNC Secretary Rita Villa recommended that Harvard-Westlake fund the Preschool’s relocation to a less crowded and less noisy area.