Belmont Council says no to CSUS

The Belmont City Council has voted against Crystal Springs Upland School’s application to build a new school.

In a 3-2 vote, the Council denied CSUS’s application to build a 52,000 square foot campus on Davis Drive, which is off Ralston Avenue.

Council member Christine Wozniak stated that, “”We need more commercial property in our community, not more schools.”

Crystal Springs Upland School’s application detailed a one-time payment of one million dollars, followed by yearly payments of 250 thousand dollars to the City of Belmont. Furthermore, CSUS is one of the top middle schools in America, as according to Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Crystal Springs Upland School proposed this application in April of 2011, and since then, representatives of the school have tirelessly been working to get Belmont residents to support the build.

Head of School Amy Richards wrote that the school was “disappointed in this result,” but declared the vote a “setback, not a defeat.”

A key theme of this vote was the council’s apparent change of heart, as many council members who initially supported the proposal ended up voting it down.

For instance, Council member Feierbach stated that, “I was enthusiastic about the project in the beginning, but then started looking at all of these other things.”

Mayor Dave Warden stated that after initially supporting the proposition, he had to, “Draw on my knowledge of the community, and this comes down to putting a middle school in the middle of a business park.”

However, some council members were surprised at their fellow members’ change of heart.

For example, Warren Lieberman stated that he was “caught off guard,” that some of the council members now believed the proposition had serious “problems.”

The key issues of CSUS’s proposal was the increased noise a school would bring, the fact that CSUS is a tax-free institution meaning that the City of Belmont gets no tax benefits, and the fact that an additional school on Ralston Avenue would cause serious traffic problems.

Crystal Springs Upland officials will meet next week to discuss their school’s next steps.