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Children’s School plan advances

After hearing from three committee chairs, two disgruntled neighbors and talk of a likely lawsuit, the La Jolla Shores Association voted Wednesday to recommend the approval of the expansion of The Children’s School.

Community concerns stemmed from the loss of parking that the addition of modular classrooms and an arts building would entail.

Possible road improvements, including the addition of sidewalks, curbs and lights on Calle Abuela, the street leading up to the school, also drew residents’ attention.

Although representatives from the school said they would be willing to pay their fair share of improvements, residents said they were worried that a better road would draw more traffic.

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“Be careful what you wish for,” Jim Heaton told them. The association’s chairman, Heaton stepped down from running the meeting during the discussion because he has a son at the school.

The Children’s School has been working for several years to obtain permits to add the Nelson Middle Years Academy to the campus.

Although the private school with an enrollment of 240 students will expand its grade-level offerings to include grades six through eight, it will not exceed its enrollment cap, officials told the association board.

The campus has been in its present location since the 1950s when it was a public elementary school.

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The middle years program will consist of 11,700 square feet of modular classrooms and a 3,200-square-foot arts building, Jim Kelley of The Children’s School explained.

Co-chair Joe Dicks, who had assisted with mediation sessions between the school and residents, presided over the majority of the discussion.

But he, too, took himself out of the discussion after member Andrea Dahlberg said Dicks’s familiarity with the issue might be giving the appearance of bias.

“It’s confusing because I feel like you guys are selling they’re case,” Dahlberg said.

John Metzger became the third to lead the meeting, which occasionally devolved into shouting matches between neighbors and the association board members.

The association voted 6-0 with 5 abstentions to recommend the approval of the project. The project will be reviewed next by the Permit Review Committee and Community Planning Association.

Proposed rules that would govern launching of kayaks also drew the attention of the association board as did safety issues surrounding what one person called “rogue kayakers” who enter the swimming area along La Jolla Shores.

Ideas for increasing safety include instituting “safety kayakers” to shepherd boaters away from areas where they are a danger to swimmers.

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