Archived Castilleja School News Updates

Published on April 22, 2021

News Update – July 28, 2020

The link to the Notice of the Final EIR Publication is here.
Final EIR documents are located at the Environmental Documents page.

News Update – July 17, 2020

The City is in its final phase preparing the Final EIR, with publication anticipated within the next two weeks. The Architectural Review Board (ARB) will now conduct the first hearing following publication of the Final EIR on August 20, 2020.  The Planning and Transportation Commission hearing is now set for August 26, 2020.  The ARB’s purview is over the Architectural Review application, which is now complete.  The PTC’s purview includes the Conditional Use Permit, Variance and Map requests. Public testimony for the ARB hearing will be encouraged on the architectural and site plans for the Project and the Alternative Project (with a reduced garage footprint and Emerson houses retained).

News Update-June 10, 2020

Castilleja School enrollment verification documents for the 2019-2020 school year are viewable here. The list of applicant submittal items for 2020, found on the project documents pagegrew by three items. Items 6-8 include an explanatory memo and two sets of slip sheets- one set for the project plans, and one set for the project alternative plans. These replacement sheets are to substitute for the same numbered sheets in the April sets, to help staff prepare the Final EIR. the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) hearing will be the first hearing on the project following publication of the Final EIR.

News Update-April 21, 2020

Castilleja School submitted an updated Alternative Project plan in mid-April 2020. The Alternative plans are viewable on Building Eye ( under the address 1310 Bryant, file number 19PLN-00116. Preparation of the Final EIR is underway. 

  • Project Alternative plans- updated Project Alternative plans (which supersede the February 2020 Project Alternative plans and also retain two homes on Emerson) are associated with the EIR. These updated plans show a further reduction of the subterranean garage footprint, enabling tree retention and other adjustments. The dispersed drop-offs plan includes retention of the drop-off driveway at Kellogg, with associated pull-back/reduction of new building's above grade building footprint. In the event the Project Alternative is deemed the environmentally superior project and ultimately approved, two applications associated with the Project would become unnecessary:(1) the setback Variance request (a component in file 16PLN-00238), and (2) the 2017 Tentative Map with Exceptions application (17PLN-00234). 
  • The third round ARB-Project Plans dated 2/10/20 addressed City comments regarding 'incompleteness'; the set and the ARB application were deemed complete March 10, 2020.


News Update-February 14, 2020

Castilleja School submitted materials February 10, 2020. Staff immediately posted the plan sets on Building Eye under the address 1310 Bryant.

The submittal also included a Below Grade Garage Operations Diagram.

News Update-February 7, 2020

Castilleja School has provided the City Staff with monitoring reports over the years, to track the effectiveness of the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program for the existing Conditional Use Permit. The most recent report, received at the end of 2019, is viewable here. An earlier 2019 TDM Monitoring report is viewable here. The TDM Monitoring reports for 2018 are viewable here: August 2018 and December 2018. The TDM Monitoring reports for 2017 are viewable here: February 2017 and July 2017. Documents highlighting the TDM and monitoring information for 2000-2016 are found, along with the TDM plan, among the 2016 Project Documents (at right). 

Castilleja student enrollment verification documents for the 2018-2019 school year are viewable here. The 2016-2017 student enrollment letter is viewable here. 2017-2018 enrollment verification and prior year enrollment verification letters will be uploaded along with a summary chart in an upcoming News Update.      

New Update- August 15, 2019

The Planning and Transportation Commission packet for the August 14 meeting was available on the Commission webpage as of August 8th.  You may view the report and EIR comments submitted by August 8 on the Commission’s agenda. EIR comments received July 17 through August 13 posted here. See staff presentation to PTC and Consultant Presentation to PTC. The staff report to the HRB will include EIR comments received through September 4th (packet day). Historic Resources Board (HRB) report(PDF, 23MB). Preparation of the Final EIR, including study of alternatives, is underway.

News Update - July 26, 2019

The City has approved the requested Blue Atlas Cedar removal (file 19PLN-00206). The tree's "very poor" condition is documented in two arborist reports. A link to the applicant's submittal is Item #7 under Castilleja School Project Applicant Submittals- the applicant's arborist report.

Staff hired a qualified arborist to study the tree and the report concurred and the City's Urban Forester agreed the tree is dying and must be removed. The City's arborist report and Approval Letter are found on Building Eye (which allows the public to view the City's permit database). The City has imposed the maximum canopy replacement per the City's Tree Technical Manual, requiring:

  • replacement of the removal tree within 90 days with a 24" box sized Blue Atlas Cedar in the same location
  • payment into the Urban Forestry fund for a value of 11 24" box sized trees the City will plant in close proximity to the Castilleja campus


News Update -July 10, 2019

The Draft EIR will be viewable via a link to this wepage by July 17th.

  • Hard copies of the Draft EIR will be available Wednesday July 17th for viewing in the Downtown Library, Development Center and 5th Floor of City Hall.
  • A limited number of CDs will be made available for purchase on the 5th floor on the July 17th.
  • The official public comment period begins Wednesday July 17th and will end Monday September 16th .
  • The August 14th Planning and Transportation Commission meeting will be focused on the Draft EIR presentation and comments.
  • The September 12, 2019 Historic Resources Board meeting will be focused on the Draft EIR cultural resources chapter.

Project Plans and Map

  • The 2016 and 2019 ARB applications are merged into one ARB Application number (16PLN-00116)
  • The compiled revised set for Architectural Review  divided into three sections part 1part 2,  part 3 

submitted July 1, 2019 includes the garage and new building.

  • The ARB is not yet scheduled to review the project.
  •  A revised tentative map submitted on July 1, 2019 is associated with the 2017 file number (17PLN-00234)
  • The 2016 file number (16PLN-00238) is used to refer to the CUP and variances. 
  • The recent application to remove a diseased Blue Atlas Cedar tree is a separate ‘project’ (19PLN-00206)


News Update - 4/8/2019

The City received revised plans on April 4, 2019 for the Castilleja project. These plans show the proposed new campus building - which is associated with a separate application for Architectural Review (file 19PLN-00116) that is viewable on Building Eye. The Castilleja School Foundation proposes to demolish and replace the floor area of three existing classroom buildings (Fine Arts Center, Arrillaga Family Campus Center, Middle School Classroom/Rhoades Hall) and one maintenance building with one new building not exceeding the R-1 zone’s 30-foot height limit and providing two floors above grade and one basement level. The plans update the proposed site modifications shown earlier (in the March 2018 plan set), including a proposed landscaping plan for the park adjacent to Emerson Street, and proposed details related to the proposed below grade pool and loading/trash areas.

News Update - 3/8/2019

The DEIR has not yet been completed, and when the City has a firm publication date, this webpage will be updated.


News Update - 1/31/19

Castilleja School has hired a new architect, who intends to submit updated project plans in March 2019. After the plans are submitted, a link to the updated plans will be provided on the Castilleja School Project Documents page. The Draft Environmental Impact (DEIR) is anticipated to be published late February 2019. Once the DEIR has been prepared, a notice of availability will be disseminated to allow public comment on the DEIR.


News Update - 10/12/18

In September, the City received a letter from an attorney representing her client “Preserve Neighborhood Quality of Life” (PNQL). It is viewable as item 6 under “Public Comments and Neighbor Submittal” found on the Castilleja School Project Documents page. 

In October, the City received a letter from the applicant regarding the September letter from PNQL’s attorney. It is viewable as item 19 under “Castilleja School Project Application Submittal Items” on the Castilleja School Project Documents page

At the end of August, the City received an updated target month - January 2019 - for publication of a Draft EIR for a 45-day circulation period for public comments. There are no public hearings scheduled for the project prior to publication of the Draft EIR.


Staff awaits the submittal of architectural plans to complete the Architectural Review Application.

News Update - 6/4/18

The City received several documents in May 2018:

  • On May 16th, the applicant submitted two documents to supplement the phasing and temporary construction logistics plan and describe the proposed site walls (soundwall, solid gate and retaining walls).
  • On May 24th, the applicant submitted four tree-related documents to correct dates and address previous comments from Urban Forestry.

View project documents


News Update - 5/1/18

The City’s consultant resumed work on the Draft Environmental Impact Report following the March 26, 2018 submittal, found on the Project Documents page under the header “Castilleja School CUP Application Submittal Items - 2018”.

City staff recently issued notices to the applicant regarding the status of the applications.  The City’s letters to the applicant regarding the applications are also uploaded to the Project Documents page under the header “City Staff and Consultant Documents for Castilleja School Project Review: 2018”.


News Update - 4/2/18

Castilleja School submitted several documents on March 26, 2018 - viewable since March 26th on Building Eye. The project description on Building Eye has been updated to reflect the current plans.   

Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report has resumed.  Below is a summary of project components

  • The Tentative Map is to merge 3 parcels greater than 19,999 sq.ft. in the R-1(10,000) zone district, requiring an exception in order to support school use. 
  • The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is for increased enrollment beyond the current CUP’s maximum of 415 students - to 540 students - phased over several years.
  • A Variance is requested to remove and replace the existing 84,572 sq.ft. of above-grade gross floor area (GFA) on the current campus with the same GFA.
  • A Variance was also requested in April 2017 by letter for below grade setback encroachments.
  • Plans for Phase 4 to complete the ARB application are anticipated to be submitted in early June (and review by the Architectural Review Board and Historic Resources is targeted for late Summer or early Fall 2018). The ARB application is for: 
    • Retention of the historic administrative-chapel/theater building (17,781 sq.ft. above-grade GFA) and fitness/athletic center (13,944 sq.ft. above-grade GFA).
    • Phase 1 demolition and construction: 
      • Demolition of Lockey/Alumnae House and rental home (off current campus parcel) fronting Emerson, removal of those two driveways, and creation of Emerson Park, a community park.
      • Construction of a below-grade garage (encroaching underground into the Embarcadero Road special setback) to provide for 114 parking spaces and below-grade drop-offs and pick-ups, 
      • Construction of an entrance ramp from Bryant Street parking lot and an exit ramp onto Emerson Street (opposite Melville Avenue),
      • Creation of a tunnel underneath the Utility easement with elevator and pedestrian stair (to access to the tunnel) between chapel theater and fitness center, with a second garage access staircase near Emerson Street exit ramp, and
      • Reconfiguration of the 24-stall Bryant Street parking lot into a 14-stall parking lot.
    • Phase 2: Demolish fine arts building and adjacent parking lot, construct a new below-grade pool between the athletic center and Emerson Street, and create a public bike pavilion at the corner of Bryant Street and Kellogg Avenue.
    • Phase 3: Create on-site temporary school facilities (modular buildings) on Spieker Field (field activities to be located temporarily off-site for approximately one year or less).
    • Phase 4: Demolish four buildings on current campus parcel and replace the existing above-grade gross floor area, more specifically: 
      • Demolish the maintenance building, campus center building, classroom building, pool equipment building, and existing pool,
      • Replace the 15-stall parking lot at the corner of Kellogg Avenue and Emerson Street with a 13-stall parking lot (and remove one Kellogg driveway)
      • Adjust (eastwardly) Circle driveway curb cut and reduce Circle size,
      • Create ramp down to below grade trash enclosure and pool equipment, west of Circle driveway,
      • Adjust (eastwardly) two Bryant Street curb cuts, and
      • Construct one replacement ‘net-zero-ready’ building (84,572 sq.ft. above-ground GFA), with: 
        • 20-foot setbacks from Kellogg Avenue and Bryant Street,
        • A 71-foot setback from Emerson Street, and
        • Nine separate sunken gardens serving classrooms around Circle.
    • Landscaping, tree removals/replacements/relocations/other site modifications.

Castilleja School

   Previous rendering of Phase 4 building (from June 2016 plan set) 

News Update - 1/10/18

Castilleja School submitted several documents on January 8, 2018 (now uploaded on the Castilleja School Project Documents page). The applicant intends to submit updated project plans at the end of February 2018. After the plans are submitted, a link to the updated plans and any other submitted materials will be provided on this webpage. Preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact (DEIR) will resume shortly, since technical documents providing source information are nearly completed, and the applicant has committed to completing the application materials in early 2018. Once the DEIR has been prepared, notice of availability will be disseminated to allow public comment on the DEIR.

News Update - 8/30/17

The Architectural Review Board will NOT conduct the preliminary review of the concept plan for phased campus development on September 7, 2017. The applicant has requested postponement of the meeting. Applicant-submitted letters dated August 21 and 28, 2017 are viewable via web-links on the listed Applicant Submittal Documents in 2017, found on this Castilleja Project webpage. The August 21st letter clarifies that the map request is for a Tentative Map with Exception and not a “Vesting” map. The August 28th letter is the request for postponement of the September 7th meeting. The applications for CUP, ARB and Tentative Map are still incomplete and the applicant is working on completing the applications. There is no date yet for publication of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR); technical documents that will provide source information for the DEIR are still being prepared.

News Update - 7/11/17

On June 29, 2017, Castilleja submitted a Request for a Preliminary Parcel Map for a 6.58-Acre site to merge two R-1 parcels (1235 and 1263 Emerson Street) with the Castilleja School Campus parcel (1310 Bryant Street). The process for this request is the Tentative Map Process involving review by the Planning and Transportation Commission and action by City Council. The map may be reviewed at the Planning and Community Environment Office on the 5th floor of City Hall. To view the proposed map submittal online, please enter the address 1310 Bryant Street and look for file 17PLN-00234 at our Building Eye page or download visit our ACA page to download plans.

News Update - 4/28/17

Castilleja submitted several documents on April 28, 2017. They have not yet been reviewed and distributed but may be viewed at the Planning and Community Environment Office on the 5th floor of City Hall. Among the documents is a revised plan set. 

View: April 28, 2017 Revised Plans Submittal 

Additional documents will be uploaded in the coming week.

News Update - 4/24/17

The public comment period on the scope of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will be prepared to evaluate Castilleja’s request has been extended until the close of business on Friday, May 12, 2017. View the revised Notice of Preparation (NOP)

News Update - 4/14/17

The public comment period on the scope of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will be prepared to evaluate Castilleja’s request has been extended until the close of business on Friday, April 28, 2017.

News Update - 3/14/17

On March 8, 2017, the Planning and Transportation Commission conducted a public “scoping” meeting to obtain comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will be prepared to evaluate Castilleja’s request for an expansion in enrollment and three-phase redevelopment of their existing campus.  The public comment period has been extended to allow all interested parties to submit written comments on the EIR’s scope until the close of business on April 15, 2017, after which staff will prepare and publish an explanatory “scoping report” regarding comments received.

News Update - 2/13/17

On February 8, 2017, the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) continued the Castilleja School project scoping meeting to March 8, 2017 at 6 pm. PTC agendas and staff reports are available to view. From that link, readers may ‘click’ on the PTC agendas, then ‘click’ on the item to see the staff report. The report for February 8, 2017 included a ‘primer’ on the CEQA process. 

News Update - 2/6/17

City staff will recommend that the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) continue its previously noticed Scoping Meeting for the Castilleja School project to March 8, 2017 at 6 pm. The delay will prevent a meeting conflict with the Mayor’s State of the City address, to be held at 7 pm at Hana Haus on 456 University Avenue. For those who are unable to attend on the new date of March 8th, please note that the Revised Notice of Preparation states that written public comments on the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Report may be submitted until March 15, 2017.

Project Scoping News Update - 12/21/16

A Request by the Castilleja School Foundation to amend an existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Castilleja School to provide for increased student enrollment and a series of phased site improvements. The Castilleja School has been located at its current site in a single family (R-1) zoning district for over 106 years and a CUP is required for schools in this zone. The proposal requests an increase in student enrollment from the current enrollment of 438 and the previously authorized enrollment of 415 to a maximum of 540 students over the course of a phased implementation plan. Castilleja has proposed increasing enrollment by 27 students each year and making the increases contingent on strict transportation demand measures such as a “cap” on student trips by automobile, as well as specific physical improvements to the site. There will be no change to the amount of above-grade floor area that exists on the site (currently 105,710 square feet), and building coverage is proposed to be reduced on the site by nearly 1,200 square feet. The proposal is subject to Environmental Review and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be prepared.

Additional City approvals requested in association with the CUP amendment will include Architectural Review (AR) and a lot merger which is likely to manifest as a request for a Parcel Map with Exception, so that the R-1 zoned lot supporting the school may be increased in size. The Architectural Review (AR) process will focus on a first phase to remove two residential buildings at 1235 and 1263 Emerson Street (alumnae house and head's house) and construct a below-grade garage of approximately 50,500 square feet for 130 parking spaces underneath the existing school site and the two Emerson Street properties that are requested to be merged, in order to increase on-site parking by 133%, and re-route circulation, and enable an associated enrollment cap of 490 students. Requested student enrollment caps of 520 and 540 would be contingent on Architectural Review of future phases, including relocation of the swimming pool to below-grade, installation of a bike pavilion on Bryant, removal of the fine arts center on Emerson, lowering the school's central circle (and including bus circulation), replacing buildings on the southerly half of the site with new buildings fronting Kellogg Avenue, and Bryant and Emerson Streets, and implementation of other proposed site changes.

A scoping meeting in a public hearing with the Planning and Transportation Commission has been tentatively scheduled for February 8, 2017, at 6 pm. The City’s consultant is preparing a draft initial study that will identify potential impacts in several topic areas. Early in the new year, staff will post additional information about the scoping session goals, as well as target dates for publication of reports for public review prior to the scoping session.

News Update - 10/25/16

On Friday, October 28th, Castilleja School will be removing the 120 foot tall Redwood Tree #112 located at 1235 Emerson Street, for which the City recently issued an emergency tree removal permit. 

Beginning October 25th, the adjacent fence and shrubs will be removed to allow for set up of the operation. On Wednesday October 26th, the tree will be ‘de-limbed’. Since rain is anticipated on Thursday October 27th, the next step is scheduled for Friday, when a large crane will be set up for the removal. Once the wood is removed from the site the following day, the site will be cleaned up and the fence will be restored.

The need for removal of the entire tree was recently confirmed by a second consulting arborist, Deborah Ellis, whom nearby neighbors retained following a meeting about the emergency tree removal held at Castilleja School on October 18th. The intent of the additional opinion obtained from arborist Deborah Ellis was to satisfy the neighbors’ concerns regarding the tree. This independent evaluation, which provided a “neutral”, third party determination, will be documented in writing for the City to upload onto this webpage; however, it will not be available to upload until after the tree removal.

The City did not need any written second evaluation to confirm Castilleja’s arborist’s findings; however, Castilleja consented in response to neighbors. The City does not plan to amend the previously issued emergency permit. Castilleja is approved to proceed as permitted.

News Update - 10/14/16

The City of Palo Alto and Castilleja School are hosting a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, October 18 at 4 p.m. at Castilleja’s Lockey House, 1263 Emerson Street, to discuss neighbor concerns about one of the school’s redwood trees that has been determined to be unsafe and must be removed. The tree is located at 1237 Emerson and its removal has been permitted by the City following verification of its condition by a City arborist and posting by the School. The removal of the tree is unrelated to the school’s proposed expansion plans. Given the tree’s current condition and the beginning of winter storm season, Castilleja has arranged for the unsafe tree to be removed as soon as possible. The City’s Chief Building Official Amy French and Urban Forester Walter Passmore will attend and answer any community questions about the tree’s removal.

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