Castilleja School

Building plan for Castilleja  

Castilleja is a private, all-girls’ school for 6th through 12th grades, located at 1310 Bryant Street at Embarcadero Road with existing vehicle access from Bryant Street, Kellogg Avenue and Emerson Street. The school has been at the current site, which is zoned Residential -- Single Family Residential (R-1) 10,000, since 1910.

In the year 2000, Castilleja received a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the City of Palo Alto for a maximum enrollment cap of 415 students. Castilleja’s student enrollment has exceeded this cap for years and upon learning this in 2013, the City began enforcement actions that included imposing a significant financial penalty and requiring the school to reduce its enrollment and apply for a new use permit to request to exceed the cap (426 students are enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year, down from 430 students the prior year).

Pending Application

On June 30, 2016, the Castilleja School Foundation (Applicant) submitted a new CUP request to increase enrollment to 540 students associated with phased redevelopment of the Castilleja property over a three year period. This includes construction of an underground parking structure and demolition and replacement of campus gross floor area. The CUP (File# 16PLN-00238) request seeks annual enrollment increases by no more than 27 students. The Applicant’s planning applications submitted 2016-2019 with plans and other materials, updated in 2020-2021, can be viewed in Castilleja School Project Documents. The Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) reviewed and provided recommendations on the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), the CUP and Variance applications (the incomplete Tentative Map request (17PLN-00234) did not move forward).  The Architectural Review Board (ARB) reviewed the Final EIR and Architectural Review application including proposed Project plans and the Applicant's Alternative Project(PDF, 14MB) (reduced garage footprint, retention of the two Emerson houses and more trees, and disbursed vehicle circulation). Council consideration, which occurred over the course of three meetings in March 2021, resulted in direction to staff, PTC and ARB to reconsider specific aspects of the project. During the last week of May 2021, the applicant submitted supplemental information intended for review by the ARB and City staff. City staff are reviewing these materials and anticipate sharing the information and additional studies with the ARB this summer. Additional supplemental information now being prepared will be uploaded as project documents when received and prior to applicable hearings. The PTC hearing(s) will be scheduled following the ARB hearing(s). 

Public hearing dates

Comments on the plans and on the project may be sent to

Background & Other Correspondence

The Castilleja application derived from a code enforcement action and related correspondence can be found below. Consistent with City practice, no further code enforcement action will be taken while there is an active application pending to abate the violation.

Castilleja School Project Documents

Project Documents

Environmental Documents
Public Comments
Archived News Updates