After a long debate, the Santa Clara Planning Commission approved Agape Playskool’s application to build an outdoor play area at its location at 3700 Thomas Road.
The preschool initially applied for approval of the outdoor play area during the Aug. 25 meeting, but commissioners asked the applicants to put better systems in place to protect the children from noise, air pollution and traffic produced by the nearby Montague Expressway.
The preschool returned to the Dec. 8 meeting to present the changes.
“We took all your feedback very seriously and we went ahead and immediately spoke to Placeworks who is a consultant for noise, air and traffic,” said applicant Isadore Netto.
The new plan includes a 6-foot concrete masonry wall near Montague Expressway that will meet California Building Code and American Association of State Highway and Transportation specifications.
“If I don’t have an outdoor, then I cannot run the business,” said Netto when asked if the outdoor play area was necessary. “In order to have a full-day program, I must have an outdoor play area. That is the California state licensing requirement. It’s a must.”
Despite the changes, some commissioners were still concerned about the preschool’s location and the safety of the children.
“From a noise impact, from an accident potential impact, as a parent, personally, if I cannot choose this, I’m wary of saying it’s not my child but somebody else can go here,” said Planning Commission Vice Chair Priya Cherukuru.
Other commissioners were pleased with how seriously the applicant took their concerns.
“My hat’s off to the applicant for mitigating my initial concerns with the barrier being more substantial,” said Planning Commission Secretary Ricci Herro.
“I think the applicant followed all our requests and I think it’s only fair that this project should be approved after the efforts that they put in and the way they listened to our concerns,” said Commissioner Yuki Ikezi.
Ultimately, the Planning Commission approved the plans for an outdoor play area 5-2.
Good-Bye to Gloria
City councilmembers and former members of the Planning Commission Anthony Becker and Suds Jain joined the meeting to wish long-time staff liaison Gloria Sciara the best in her retirement. This was Sciara’s last Planning Commission meeting.
“It’s a pleasure to have worked with you,” said Becker. “I remember that one night when it was pouring rain and you provided me a ride home because you said it wasn’t safe for me to ride the bus. I will never forget that and I will never forget all of your hard work that you have committed to the City of Santa Clara and I greatly appreciate your service.”
“She brings us through the confusion and I think that’s something that has helped everybody on the Commission,” said Commissioner Lance Saleme. “I wish her well in her post-City activities and I hope that they’re enjoyable. I hope that she finds that someday, she’s getting bored and she has to come back.”
“While I mourn the city’s loss when you leave, I wish you all the best as you enter the next phase of your life,” said Planning Commission President Nancy Biagini.
The next Planning Commission meeting is Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.