A preview of boundaries for the new Porter Ranch Community School and a request to add a liquor aisle at Wal-Mart attracted about 75 stakeholders to the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council meeting Tuesday night.
Only students who live north of the 118 Freeway in Porter Ranch will be within the boundaries of the new K-8 span school, which will open Aug. 14, 2012, at Mason Avenue and Sesnon Street.
Students from Twin Lakes, in unincorporated Chatsworth, will not be included. There was no discussion of students who might live in the proposed 188-home Hidden Creeks development which would be sited on an extension of Mason Avenue north of Chatsworth.
Many students from Porter Ranch now attend schools in Chatsworth, including , and schools. Porter Ranch currently has only one public school, Castlebay Lane Elementary.
Principal said the school will be geared to high achieving students. Plans include a leadership academy for middle school students and a dual Korean-English immersion program that will allow participating students to learn both languages beginning in kindergarten.
She anticipates that there will be a School for Advanced Studies and hopes to offer classes in either Spanish or Mandarin. The school will open with about 500 students in kindergarten through 7th grade and eventually will serve about 800 children through 8th grade.
The campus includes a gymnasium that will be open to the community for basketball leagues and indoor soccer, Melvin said.
Boundaries and curriculum will be presented at a community meeting, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 30 at , 20730 Germain St., Chatsworth.
After a brief presentation from Wal-Mart, 19821 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch, and a long discussion and a show of hands from the audience indicated overwhelming opposition, the board voted 4 to 2 to oppose sale of beer, wine and spirits for off-site consumption. Two board members recused because they are associated with groups that benefit from contributions by the store.
About a dozen stakeholders expressed concern that there would be serious negative impact to the community if the giant retailer is allowed to sell alcohol. Several cited security problems and crimes in the parking lot on Rinaldi Street between Porter Ranch Drive and Corbin Avenue. Others said there already is too much traffic headed to and from the store, and trash in the neighborhood parks and streets. There were also concerns that alcohol sales would attract homeless people to the area.
Store representatives said their application was based on trying to meet customer requests for the convenience of “one stop shopping.” They said store employees would be given special training to assure that there would be no sales to minors. Alcohol would amount to about 1.7% of total sales at the store, they said.
Several board members acknowledged that many nearby stores – including Ralphs, Whole Foods, CVS and a 7-Eleven – sell alcohol. One thought it would be punitive to deny the liquor permit but another thought the store would be predatory to smaller stores that sell the same items.
Two board members cited Wal-Mart’s contributions and involvement in the community.
The public hearing for Wal-Mart is 2:30 p.m., Nov. 7 at the Marvin Braude Building, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd. It is case ZA 2011-1734 (CUB). A similar request for the Wal-Mart at Fallbrook Mall in West Hills will be heard at 2 p.m. The West Hills Neighborhood Council approved that application.
Judith Daniels is vice president of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council.