Dear Councilmember Jenkins,
As a resident of Oakland’s District 6, I am writing today in support of the Head-Royce School South Campus Plan (formally known as the “Head-Royce School Planned Unit Development Permit (PUD) Project”), and am asking that as my district representative you vote to uphold the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) certification and Planned Unit Development (PUD) permit.
This project is incredibly important to me because:
The South Campus Plan represents a transformative opportunity to create a cutting-edge instructional environment designed for the future of education that will not only benefit the Head-Royce School, but also the broader Oakland community. Head-Royce strives to be a world-class institution of K-12 learning – one that reflects the diversity and energy of the Oakland community – and this project enhances the school’s ability to achieve that vision.
After years of thoughtful input gathered from community stakeholders, the project was unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board and the Oakland Planning Commission this past spring. Despite an outpouring of support from project supporters and the school's efforts to proactively address concerns and find solutions, a small number of neighbors that have voiced opposition to the project since its inception have filed an appeal of the South Campus Plan EIR and PUD.
Opponents primarily point to wildfire mitigation and traffic congestion as the reasons City Council should grant their EIR appeal. However, with the addition of a new internal Loop Driveway that routes pick-up and drop-off activities off of Lincoln Avenue and onto campus, long-standing neighborhood concerns about traffic will be ameliorated. The proposal also reduces wildfire risk through a robust Emergency Evacuation Plan, a Vegetation Management Plan, and enhanced connections with emergency alert systems. In fact, the city’s EIR found that all environmental impacts from the project can be reduced to a level of “less than significant” with standard conditions of approval and mitigation measures.
Appellants also argue that the PUD should be appealed based on their personal opinion that the site should no longer be used for educational purposes. The project is very much in keeping with the property’s previous educational use by the Lincoln Child Center, which occupied the site for 85 years prior to being sold to Head-Royce.
The South Campus Plan will expand opportunities for Head-Royce’s Heads Up program, a program run in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District that seeks to provide first-generation college-bound students of color from Oakland public schools with challenging and enriching programming to cultivate socially responsible leaders. Additionally, the slow increase in enrollment over a 20-year period will ultimately create nearly 100 new permanent student scholarships. These are two examples of how the South Campus Plan will make the Head-Royce experience more accessible to learners of all socioeconomic backgrounds from all of Oakland.
I hope you will vote to reject the appeal, allowing the Head-Royce South Campus Plan to move forward without delay.
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