Victory

Petition Against City Charter School Location at Motor Ave and National Blvd in Palms

As part of the Motor Avenue community, I have been informed about changes to the neighborhood that may negatively affect my business, commute, and daily routine. After extensive outreach to both residents and businesses in the community, I would like to express my position on the addition of City Charter School at the property located at 3280 Motor Avenue at National Boulevard. While I value the efforts of City Charter School to improve the educational experience for its students, I DO NOT believe that a school is a suitable option for this location at 3280 Motor.

I request that you partner with our community in stopping City Charter School from locating at the Motor Avenue and National Boulevard intersection.  They promise parking and lots of new business for the community.  This has not and will not occur.  The kids are dropped off and picked up with bring nothing but the gift of more traffic.  Most of the children are not from our community. They have told the local community that our councilman is in support but this is not factual. Councilman Paul Koretz has stated publicly that he is NOT supportive and this community is not supportive of a school at this location. Already hundreds of immediate areas residents and businesses have signed hard copy petitions to the office of Councilman Koretz.  

As a member of the community, I DO NOT approve of the relocation of City Charter School, a privately owned institution for middle and high school students, to a facility at the intersection of Motor Avenue and National Boulevard (3280 Motor Ave.). City Charter School will cause several issues for business owners and residents alike.

Hindrance to Revitalization

While schools can be an advantageous appendage to a community, the current makeup of this location in question is not conducive to a school environment. Motor Ave and National Blvd are both transitioning from single-use residential buildings to mixed use buildings with housing and commercial businesses and creating an energetic mixed use and active business environment.  The growth of commercial business is part of our design guidelines and the future of the Motor Avenue Palms intersection as a vibrant business hub.   In an effort to promote smart growth and walk-ability in this community, MAIA supports the implementation of commercial businesses that generate activity throughout the day, evenings and weekends. Street-level businesses will provide a vibrancy and livelihood that the Motor Ave community needs and that a school will not provide.

The relocation plans by City Charter School to this intersection have already negatively altered the composition of businesses in the area. Businesses have been displaced from the building located at 3280 Motor Ave. This has disabled businesses such as C&M Café and Printex from expanding or renewing their lease. In addition it is dislocating businesses that have been part of Motor and Palms for over 15-20 years including a church that has also been a vital part of our religious community. Business owners in this proximity have been informed by City Charter School that they plan to overtake the entire center, resulting in a serious reduction of commercial activity. This plan is unacceptable to our community members as many of these businesses have been the bedrock of our community for years. It will undoubtedly harm this community and hinder the extensive revitalization efforts that have taken place thus far.

Streetscape Plan

City Planning and Department of Transportation of the City of Los Angeles has chosen Motor Avenue as two out of seven streets throughout the city to implement Parklets and one of five streets to implement new design guidelines and a streetscape plan. This effort is being undertaken to stimulate the business and residential community. The street and this intersection in particular will be experiencing new intersection lighting, trees, street furniture, and many other enhancements. This school will be closed evenings and weekends negating these efforts and destroying the vibrancy of our core business intersection. Even with parking at a premium the school will not be able to mitigate any of these damages by providing parking to the community and as a Westside commuter school where kids are dropped off and picked up, there will be no economic benefit.

Zoning Issues

In addition to the major traffic concerns and the threat to local businesses, the location is currently zoned as M1-1 Limited Manufacturing. A school should not be permitted to be installed on land with an M1-1 zoning designation, which should be reserved for commercial entities that generate commerce for the Motor community.

Health Risks

This location is also not a suitable option for a school due to the adjacent freeway. The close proximity of this location to the freeway is unhealthy for children.  Several studies have shown that schools in proximity to freeways have higher rates of respiratory diseases and disabilities. This poses a risk for children who would be consistently exposed to air pollutants on a daily basis. An alternative option must be sought out.

Additionally, there is also an auto body shop on the same block as the intended location for the City Charter School. The emission of fumes from painting and welding as well as silica from sandblasting is hazardous to children walking past that on a daily basis.

The LA City Planning Commission has expressed specific concerns and stated that where projects require discretionary approval, and are within 1,000 feet of freeways, the City has an opportunity to impose conditions to lessen the effects of air pollution exposure. The City Planning Commission advises that applicants of projects located in proximity of a freeway, and contemplating residential units, schools, and other sensitive uses, perform a Health Risk Assessment as a supplemental technical report.  Review of recent air pollution studies shows a strong link between the chronic exposure of populations to vehicle exhaust and particulate matter from roads and freeways and elevated risk of adverse health impacts, particularly in sensitive populations such as young children and older adults.

Bar and Liquor Store

There is a bar and a liquor store directly adjacent from the intended location of the City Charter School and a third within 500 feet. A school will have a detrimental effect on future permitting on both of these establishments that have been on Motor for two generations. Our city and school district would be opposed to a liquor store or bar opening up directly across from a school, the same opposition should stand for a school opening across from a bar and liquor store.

Traffic Concerns

The addition of a school establishment at the 3280 Motor Ave address would introduce increased traffic issues to an intersection that is already plagued by traffic congestion during peak hours. Nearby residents and commuters will be completely stuck by a lengthened morning and afternoon trip to their homes and workplaces.  The local businesses will suffer even more than they do currently as they attempt to get patrons into their establishments.  In addition, the existing configuration of the available driveways and street access points do not provide for the passenger loading needs that a school will require. A comprehensive reconfiguration of this center for the sake of the school would conflict with current plans for this intersection and the resulting costs to the community would be both numerous and unwarranted. During drop off and pick up times, school traffic will prevent residents and patrons from accessing the nearby businesses. Such a disadvantage should not be imposed upon the businesses as they are a critical component of this community and a fundamental part of economic growth in this area.  This situation will just get worse as Fox, Century City, Westfield and other large entities expand. 

City Charters own "Fact Sheet" says they will expand to over 840 students but only allow for 117 cars.  This is not realistic and will never be reality.  They fail to also mention this is twice a day and what about all the faculty and staff?  We are talking many hundreds of additional cars a day.  

 

Educational Saturation

Lastly, there is no need for another school in this area. There are three schools in just a two block radius, Palms Elementary School, Vista School, and Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, that have a collective total of over 2000 students. The inclusion of another school would not only be totally unnecessary in this community, but it would prevent the entrance of other entities or organizations that would be more beneficial to the residents and business owners. 

Furthermore, there are three additional schools within a mile radius of the intended location of the City Charter School—Notre Dame Academy Los Angeles, Notre Dame Academy Elementary, and Palms Middle School. This only further saturates this area with schools.

Besides the intrusion that a school at this location will cause to the vibrancy of Motor Avenue businesses, it would not be primarily serving the students of Palms. In their proposal, City Charter School has stated seven different zip codes that they would like to focus on from which they would draw students. The majority of the stated zip codes—90034, 90019, 90035, 90005, 90057, 90016, 90018—are all east of the 3280 Motor Avenue address.

If the majority of focus areas are further east of Palms—as far as MacArthur Park and West Lake—we’d suggest that the school be located further east from Palms. Los Angeles High School was permanently offered to City Charter School and is where they are currently located. They also had an opportunity to lease a building on Venice Blvd. which and the council office supported but they chose to not take that location. Los Angeles High School would be a better location for the focus areas that City Charter School has stated in their proposal as it is very central to all zip codes in the focus area (See map below). The majority of people fighting for this location are Westside parents who do not fall within the catchment area that City Charter designated. These parents simply do not want to drive to the Los Angeles High School campus area.

The needs of the community are our highest priority. We hope that we have your commitment of nonsupport for the chosen location of City Charter School as it would have a number of severe negative environmental and economic impacts on our community. 

In light of these issues, I DO NOT support City Charter School’s relocation and do not see the benefits of another school in our already school congested Motor Avenue community.

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Council Member, Fifth District
    Paul Koretz
  • LAUSD Board Member
    George McKenna
  • Office of Paul Koretz
    Joseph Galloway
  • Office of Councilman Koretz
    Joan Pelico
  • Palms Land Use Committee
    Neal Anderberg
  • Nick Greif
  • Eli Lipmen
  • LAUSD Charters Schools Division
    Chris Humphrey
  • LAUSD Board Member
    Zimmer, Steven


Motor Avenue Improvement Association started this petition with a single signature, and won with 195 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.