The city’s stance on Hillview Community Center as a possible school site hasn’t changed, according to a member of the Los Altos City Council.
Councilwoman Megan Satterlee told Los Altos School District board trustees Tammy Logan and Doug Smith that the city isn’t interested in discussing Hillview as a future school site when other options still remain open to the district.
“We’ve had this conversation multiple times and nothing’s changed,” said Satterlee, who added that she simply doesn’t see a “win-win” for the city and district.
Satterlee later added that she “still thinks there are options out there that don’t impact a community resource,” noting that the “threshold” to start conversations about a school site remains a stated assurance that the district will not exercise eminent-domain rights on city property.
The statements came after Smith and Logan told Satterlee and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw during a Nov. 19 school district-city subcommittee meeting that the district was still interested in exploring a partnership on the site. Smith also broached the subject of a partnership recently during a joint meeting of the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills councils. Councilmembers from both cities discussed a possible alliance to jointly fund a new community center on the Hillview site.
Shared use of Rosita Park?
Reached by the Town Crier, Smith noted that the district remains interested in a “collaborative dialogue about how the interests of all parties might be served best.”
“I’m disappointed in Councilwoman Satterlee’s position, but it’s definitely not new,” Smith stated in an email to the Town Crier. “She has said that she doesn’t think there is a win-win scenario, but I’m not sure how she can say that since we haven’t explored anything yet.”
Smith noted that the district isn’t interested in giving up its eminent-domain rights because it would likely drop the issue of Hillview if joint discussions with the city go nowhere.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for any government entity to require a person or agency to waive rights before seeing how they might work together to serve the community,” he added.
Instead, Satterlee said the city is more amenable to discussing a “shared use” of Rosita Park if the district exhausts all other school site options. Specifically, Satterlee told Smith and Logan that the district would need to create a proposal that includes the amount of parkland needed to build a school, proposed shared-use guidelines and an idea of which amenities would stay or go, among other details.
Satterlee later told the Town Crier that while the council hadn’t discussed specifics regarding the Rosita site, she believes it would ultimately seek an arrangement that “results in no loss of total land ownership for the city.”
“The reason Rosita is top of mind is because the field and parking lot at Rosita are not generally scheduled or in high use during the school day, making a shared-use arrangement workable,” she noted in an email, while also citing traffic flow concerns around the area as sticking points. “We have also invested a considerable amount in a class (I) pathway that accesses the backside of the Covington site (adjacent to the park).”
Smith said he believes that the district will bring proposals on the park to the city in the future. At the same time, he noted concern that potential talks between Los Altos and Los Altos Hills to rebuild the community center would leave the district out in the cold.
“We should be evaluating all options in parallel,” he said, “not single-streaming them in a way that one group thinks is most optimized for their particular view.”