Kaballah Centre Plans Approved

Beverly Hills Courier/June 16, 2006
By Kelly Hartzog

The Kaballah Centre at 10421046 S. Robertson Boulevard received approval on June 8 from the Los Angeles City Planning Department to go ahead with its plans to expand its current day school to accommodate 320 students from pre-K to eighth grad.

Back in March, there was opposition to the Kaballah Centre's expansion plans from local Beverly Hills residents who said they had been adversely affected by the comings and goings of members of the Kaballah Centre.

Nonetheless, last week, the Centre was given the go-ahead, albeit with some modifications.

On of the biggest issues surrounding the expansion was the issue of parking which according to local residents and businesses is virtually impossible due to the Centre's activities. The Centre had sought a Variance in municipal code to provide only 80 underground parking spaces. Current municipal code (12.27) requires a minimum of 169 parking spaces. While the Centre has not had to comply with 169 parking spaces on-site, with clearly visible NO PARKING signs posted along the alley.

The Centre must also provide adequate signage on the school site to indicate on-site drop off and pick-up locations; no drop off will be permitted on Whitworth Drive or Robertson Blvd; ingress to the school can occur only on Robertson Blvd. and egress only form the alleyway. In addition employees will not be permitted to park on adjacent residential streets while they are working at the Centre, and the parking plan can include tandem parking with sufficient attendants on all parking levels.

However, the Department did reject the Centre's request for a development height of 54 feet, as it is a commercial corner development, and the Centre will only be permitted to build to 45 feet. Also rejected was a request for a 50 percent or more transparent windows along the ground floor of Roberstson Blvd., as "it is a very busy noisy street and that would the potential to distract children and not provide adequate safety.

The new school will replace the 15,767 square fee of existing facilities with a new 38,240 square foot 4-story building consisting of approximately 19 general use classrooms, including a library, computer lab, art room, science lab, music room, drama/dance studio, media center, language lab, home economics center and administrative and faculty space.

Despite the fact that many locals will not be happy with the Centre's expansion, the Planning Department's findings stated that "Private schools are a much needed resource, particularly for families seeking a faith based learning environment...by permitting a private learning institution to operate a school, [it] allows for alternatives to local public schools, reducing demands on the public school system."

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