Lawsuits stalling new high school settled

CARLSBAD — At its meeting Oct. 14, the Carlsbad Unified School District board of trustees approved settlements of lawsuits brought by the city of Carlsbad and Preserve Calavera regarding the Feb. 11, 2009, certification by the board of the environmental impact report for construction of a new high school at the corner of Cannon Road and College Boulevard. The settlements were reached at San Diego Superior Court.
Both settlements have been approved by their respective entities. The projected cost of the components of these agreements is $1.335 million above the costs estimated when the EIR was certified. Still unresolved are: 1) a lawsuit brought against the district by Bentley-Wing/ROA; and 2) an assertion of jurisdiction by the Army Core of Engineers over small pockets of wetlands on the site.
Superintendent John A. Roach, said, “We are happy to put two of the obstacles behind us and are working diligently to overcome the remaining two obstacles as we move forward to build the highly anticipated new high school that Prop. P voters overwhelmingly approved in November 2006.” Noting that the new school’s curriculum will take full advantage of its rich environmental setting, Dr. Roach says that grading of the site is anticipated to begin in Fall 2010, with the school opening scheduled for Fall 2013.
Details of settlements SUBHEAD
Commenting on numerous issues, the city of Carlsbad’s main concern with the EIR centered on the way in which the traffic study was conducted and on mitigation for the school’s traffic. Over the past several months, district staff and legal counsel worked with city staff, including the Assistant City Attorney, to reach an agreement that obligates the district to do several things after hiring a general contractor. Included are the following:
— Dedicate a right-of-way to the city for a potential future extension of Cannon Road.
— Pay the city $302,000 for El Camino Real/Cannon Road intersection improvements and $350,000 for El Camino Real/College Boulevard intersection improvements.
— Construct a traffic signal at Cannon Road/College Boulevard.
— Construct a school entrance and two lanes of Cannon Road to City standards.
— Comply with other stipulations of the agreement.
Preserve Calavera’s lawsuit, while also commenting on other issues, centered on biological resources. The agreement obligates the district to:
— Pay Preserve Calavera’s attorneys’ fees up to $35,000.
— Increase the buffer from Calavera Creek to 110 feet. This requirement reduces the parking spaces from the planned 1,030 to under 800.
— Maximize use of native plants, avoid use of invasive plants and give Preserve Calavera an opportunity to take the old oak tree on the site.
— Allow Preserve Calavera to make a presentation to the Board regarding the value of teaching gardens.
— Comply with other stipulations of the agreement.
As a result of these agreements, both the City and Preserve Calavera will dismiss their lawsuits.
District Eager to Proceed
“There is still one litigant (Bentley-Wing/ROA) who has not reached a settlement agreement with the district,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Walter Freeman said. “We look forward to resolving this third lawsuit and moving forward to create a new high school that will alleviate overcrowding at Carlsbad High, which currently houses some 3,000 students. The new school will welcome approximately 1,500 students when it opens.”
The new school has been designed and registered to receive certification from the Collaborative for High Performance Schools program. The program recognizes environmentally sound design that enhances the educational environment of students.
Further information on the lawsuits and construction of the new high school is at www.carlsbadusd.k12.ca.us.

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