North Tustin Campus Enhancement Program
News for Our Neighbors

OCTOBER 2022 UPDATE!

Hello, Neighbors!

We have launched this website to keep you up to date and answer your questions about our North Tustin Campus Enhancement Program.

Since launching this website in July, we have spoken personally with many of our neighbors and are happy with the positive initial response to our plans to enhance the North Tustin Campus.

The accompanying chart (below) shows the responses we received. Neighbors also discussed ways we can be a better neighbor, which we’ll discuss further below.

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

The Process

Our proposal will undergo a review process that provides multiple opportunities for public comment. Once we have addressed all the requirements of Orange County’s planning department and have a complete application, it will be reviewed during public meetings before the North Tustin Advisory Committee and the Orange County Zoning Administrator. We hope the Foothill Communities Association will also review our plan.

We are eager to hear from you. If you need any information, have questions or would like to share something with us, please let us know by contacting our Project Coordinator, Laura Dickinson, at (310) 810-7395 (during business hours) or ldickinson@fairmontschools.com, or by going to the Contact Us section.

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

WHAT WE ARE PLANNING

Early Childhood Education: In recent years, we have received many requests from parents to expand the early childhood education program on the North Tustin campus. The state limits these programs to a much smaller class size than elementary or junior high classes, so the purchase of the church property will give us the space we need to meet the growing demand for early childhood education.

Additional Students: Increasing our student cap will also allow us to fill classrooms that currently have fewer students than allowed under state requirements.

Performance Venue: Our current auditorium and performing arts venue, Allison Hall, is less than ideal, so we are excited by the opportunity to use the former church’s sanctuary for performances, concerts and events. The room is more welcoming, has better sightlines and, most importantly, offers much better acoustics. We are not planning to have more events, and programs are limited to certain grade levels only, thus limiting the number of people attending events.

New Classrooms: In all, six new classrooms are proposed under this plan. The three proposed for the current Allison Hall will make it possible to expand our early childhood education programs, and an additional three in the church’s Sunday School building will be used for junior high classes.

Timing: With your support, we are hoping to be able to have our enhanced North Tustin campus ready for students in either the fall or spring semester of 2023.

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

Being A Better Neighbor

When we personally visited about 50 of our nearest neighbors in July, we heard two requests: First, many asked us to do something about traffic congestion, especially during the afternoon pick-up time, and second, our neighbors on Cameron Lane whose homes back onto the Fairmont North Tustin campus asked if we could do something about objects coming over the fence.

Traffic Congestion: The primary traffic congestion problem comes from parents traveling north on Newport Avenue who make illegal U-turns, either onto Vanderlip Avenue or Newport Avenue. All parents have received the following new instructions, showing how to utilize the church property instead of making U-turns:

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

We also are placing “No U-Turn” and “Left Turn Here” signs on Vanderlip Avenue to reinforce these directions. Staff members frequently monitor the traffic and speak to parents who are not following the new directions.

Have you noticed an improvement? Do you have any additional suggestions? If so let us know via the Contact Us section.

Flying Objects: Neighbors on Cameron Lane with property that back up to the campus asked us to do something about balls and other objects that periodically come over the fence and onto their property. Since speaking with them, we have:

  • Talked to students, playground monitors, parents, and teachers about the problem
  • Moved our security cameras to give us a better view of the fence
  • Looked into installing netting above the fence.

If you live in one of the affected houses and would like to have us install netting, or if you have other suggestions, please let us know via the Contact Us section.

BENEFITS TO OUR NEIGHBORS

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

No Busy Church: If a growing, active church had purchased the site, the property would become very active. It is not unusual for more than a dozen different groups to meet regularly at local churches from early morning through evening, every day of the week, in addition to the church’s Sunday services.

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors
Less Congestion:Because we now own the church’s parking lot, which increases the total number of our parking spaces from 27 to 90, we can use it to improve traffic flow during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up, with the primary goal of reducing congestion on Vanderlip Ave. and Newport Ave.
Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

No Additional Homes: While the church property’s current zoning would make it challenging to build housing on the site, if a developer succeeded in rezoning the site, several homes or even a small apartment building could be built there.

Ntc - Fairmont Neighbors

Less Noise: We will continue to not allow any outdoor activities after 6 p.m. on weekdays and to restrict weekend outdoor activities to only a very small number of official school activities held only on Saturdays and only during daylight hours. We also will move and improve the North Tustin Campus’ sound system so the noise level of outdoor announcements will be reduced for our neighbors.

Your Questions Answered

If you are adding students, how can you be reducing the allowed intensity?
The County established a “maximum intensity”– a maximum head count – for both the Fairmont campus (320 students) and the church property (200 attendees). Our proposal to consolidate the two lots and add 100 students to our current cap will result in a reduction of 100 in the total allowed use of the properties.
Will adding 100 students mean adding 100 more cars to local traffic?
We believe that it will not, but the traffic study that is now underway will provide a definitive answer. Because much of the need to request an increase in our student cap came from parents’ requests for a larger early childhood education program, we expect that many of the new students will be driven to and from school with their older siblings who already attend Fairmont. We have years of experience in improving traffic flow, which we will apply to the opportunities provided by owning the adjacent property, and we will continue to promote carpooling to reduce traffic.
Were churches actually interested in the property?
We were contacted by several churches, including one large church that wanted to lease the entire church property on evenings and weekends. Despite their strong interest, we declined in part due to our commitment to decrease the overall intensity of use of the combined properties but primarily because the church wanted to use the Fairmont playgrounds on evenings and weekends, which would have violated our promises to our neighbors.
Were any developers interested in the property?
We don’t know. Rezoning the property for housing would have been challenging, but its central location and good access would make it a possible candidate for a few single-family homes or a small multi-family development.
Since you now have the church’s sanctuary available to you, will you have more evening programs? Will there be more people at those programs?
No, we do not expect more programs or greater attendance. Most of our programs will continue to be held during school hours and we do not expect there to be more evening programs than the three or four programs on our current schedule. We also will continue to control audience size by limiting the number of grade levels participating in any one event.
What will you do to discourage on-street parking during events?
Parking in adjacent neighborhoods shouldn’t be a problem because we have much more parking than before. There are now 90 parking spaces on the combined property compared to our 27 spaces prior to the acquisition of the church property, and there is easy pedestrian access from one property to the other. Along with the on-street parking that is available on Newport Avenue, this should be sufficient for our events. If it ever appears that a larger event could create on-street parking problems, we will work with our neighbors and others to find solutions.
If you are expanding your early childhood program by converting the auditorium to classrooms, why do you need to move three junior high classes to the church’s Sunday school building?
State law limits the number of preschool students in a class, while still requiring a classroom similar in size to an elementary school classroom. The extra space needed to achieve our target of new early childhood education students necessitated moving the three junior high school classrooms to the Sunday School building.
Will a larger student body lead to more playground noise?
Most of the proposed increase in our student population will be in the early childhood education classes, which use a playground that is not next to neighboring homes. We also spread out the outdoor playtime for early childhood students, reducing the number of students on the playground at any one time. Finally, upon approval of our campus enhancement program, we will add a new fenced playground area north of the church property along Vanderlip Avenue, so fewer students will have recess next to the adjacent homes on Cameron Lane.

Contact Us

Use this section to comment and ask questions. We will get right back to you. If you need any information, have questions or would like to share something with us, please let us know by contacting our Project Coordinator, Laura Dickinson, at (310) 810-7395 (during business hours) or ldickinson@fairmontschools.com, or by filling out the contact form.

What are your initial thoughts?

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