Limits on Niu Valley school please residents
The city places restrictions on the expansion of the Waldorf School
Niu Valley residents who had opposed a private school's $4.5 million expansion plan in their neighborhood are pleased a city department has placed restrictions on the project.
The city Department of Planning and Permitting authorized the Honolulu Waldorf School's request Friday to break ground on a two-story facility that will house about 80 high-school students who have been taking classes in leased buildings in Kahala since 1996.
The school says it needs the extra classrooms by Ulua Street because its lease in Kahala with Kamehameha Schools will expire in 2011.
A building permit issued by the city places several restrictions on the project to address community concerns over increased traffic, noise and pollution. The conditions will require the school to:
» Reduce the size of the proposed building by two classrooms on the second floor and by one classroom on the first floor.
» Redesign and move the building closer to existing school buildings.
» Air-condition or soundproof classrooms.
» Limit enrollment at the campus to 380 students.
» Build a parking lot with at least 40 stalls -- an increase from the proposed 27 stalls.
» Move after-school activities and sporting events with more than 50 people off campus.
Niu Valley resident Marty Plotnick, who joined others in the neighborhood in opposing the school's original design, said people were "extremely pleased" with the permit's conditions.
"We had issues, and they were covered by the conditions," he said. "Did it satisfy us? Yes."
School officials, who also welcomed the city's decision, will discuss the new limits this week with architects to check whether they will cause delays or cost changes to the project, said Connie Starzynski, Waldorf's administrative director.
"At first glance, I feel it is doable," she said.
The school, established in 1961 by a small group of business and community leaders, has been searching for 10 years for a new site for a high school. It hopes to complete the new building by the summer of 2009.