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FOREST HILLS

JOURNAL

Your Community Press newspaper serving Anderson Township, California, Mount Washington, Newtown

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017

CELEBRATING

120 YEARS

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BECAUSE COMMUNITY MATTERS

Residents concerned with traffic around proposed development Forrest Sellers fsellers@communitypress.com

OAKLEY – The status of a controversial Oakley development still remains undetermined. Last fall, the Fortus Group presented a revised development plan for a mixed-use structure at Madison Road and Taylor Avenue. The fivestory building would include retail on the bottom floor and residential units on the upper floors. The plan to develop the site, which was formerly occupied by a Fifth Third Bank branch, was first announced last summer. Residents have objected to the size and density of the proposed structure. During the April Oakley Community Council meeting, Stephen Dronen, a development director with the Fortus Group, detailed some of the changes made to the plan since last meeting with residents. These changes included setting some portions of the building further back from the street to help alleviate aesthetic concerns, architectural modifications to make the building more visually appealing and reducing the height of the building, which in the original plan had been eight stories and more than 100 feet. The current plan is for a

PHOTOS BY FORREST SELLERS/THE COMMUNITY PRESS

Anderson High School students also participated in the Anderson High School groundbreaking ceremony.

Groundbreaking kicks off last renovation project Anderson High School the last of 4 in the district Forrest Sellers fsellers@communitypress.com

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP – Work on the final school in a districtwide renovation project has begun. A groundbreaking ceremony for Anderson High School was March 27. Anderson is among eight of the schools to be renovated following the success of a November 2014 bond issue. Wilson Elementary School is also being completely rebuilt. Work on Sherwood Elementary, Ayer Elementary and Nagel Middle School has been completed. Mercer, Summit and Wilson elementary schools are expected to be finished before the start of the 2017-2018 school year, and Maddux Elementary and Turpin High School are expected to be finished in 2018. Anderson High School is expected to be completed in 2019. Improvements to Anderson include new science labs, up-

70-foot structure. Dronen said the residential portion of the building will have 82 apartment units. Residents at the April meeting seemed more concerned with the potential traffic impact than the height. Dronen, though, said a traffic study had been performed and that the development plan met city requirements. “This is not a final plan,” he added. A resident in the audience questioned whether it would be acceptable to grant a liquor license to a tenant considering the building’s proximity to St. Cecilia School. Dronen said specific tenants on the lower floor had not yet been determined. Although the parking and traffic impact remained a concern, Oakley Community Council members said any type of development at that location would likely generate additional traffic. “Something is going to go there that causes traffic,” said Sean Fausto, board president of the Oakley Community Council. Board Vice President Dave Schaff said council is currently looking at developing an updated master plan for the area in coming months. “Traffic issues will be looked at as part of this See OAKLEY, Page 2A

Anderson High School Principal Mike Overbey, right, welcomes those attending the Anderson High School groundbreaking.

graded security and technology, a multipurpose space on the school’s east side, installation of air conditioning which the building did not previously have, improved learning spaces and handicap-accessibility features. This is the culmination of

many years of planning, President of the Board of Education Forest Heis said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is the last and one of the biggest (projects) in the district,” Heis said, adding that this will create “transformed learning spaces.”

THE FIRST THING TO DO

FILE PHOTO

Stephen Dronen, right, of the Fortus Group, gets feedback on a proposed development from Oakley residents during a July Oakley Community Council meeting. Dronen has provided several updates on the plan since then.

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Vol. 57 No. 4 © 2017 The Community Press ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Forest hills journal 041917