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Saint Mary’s College High School Seeks Approval for Building

The Albany Planning & Zoning Commission will consider the master plan for the private school on its southeastern border.

Future building at will be considered by Albany’s at Wednesday night’s meeting.

The private school sits on 12.5 acres in the southeastern corner of Albany, next to the Berkeley city line and Codornices Creek. Homes in both Albany and Berkeley—on Monterey, Posen and Albina avenues, Ordway and Acton streets, and Hopkins Court—back up to the campus.

In the short term, the school is asking for a conditional use permit and design review to rebuild its music building, which sits roughly at the center of campus and next to the athletic fields. The current building is 1,930 square feet; the new building would be 13,400 square feet and one story high.

Albany city planner Anne Hersch said she thought construction would not begin before next summer.

In the long term, Saint Mary’s is also seeking approval for its master plan. The new master plan is a scaled-down version of one proposed in 2008. Approval of the new master plan would update the 1994 conditional use permit for the whole campus.

In addition to the music building, the new plan includes:

  • A new 4,400 square-foot, single-story campus chapel;
  • A 14,000 square-foot addition to St. Joseph’s Hall;
  • A 1,400 square-foot new kitchen at the student center;
  • Renovation of Cronin Hall, including a classroom conversion of existing space;
  • A new drainage plan

Saint Mary’s currently has funding for only the music building, according to Hersch.

The chapel, the only building listed that would break new ground, would sit just inside the Albina Avenue entrance to the campus, not far from Codornices Creek.

In June, the Planning & Zoning Commission listened to two hours of public comment on St. Mary’s environmental report for these plans. Many speakers were concerned about traffic, Hersch said. (Comment letters to Albany can be read on the city website.)

Hersch said the City of Berkeley sent Albany a letter earlier this summer requesting that Albany ask Saint Mary’s for $20,000 for traffic calming measures on Hopkins Court and Albina Avenue.

The planning meeting is set to take place in Albany City Council chambers, 1000 San Pablo Ave. It starts at 7 p.m., but the St. Mary’s matter is the third discussion item on the agenda. Hersch said the earliest the commission would get to the issue is about 7:30 p.m., with 8 p.m. being more likely.

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If there's something in this post you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at albany@patch.com.

Mary Flaherty September 18, 2012 at 04:46 PM
UPDATE: The Planning & Zoning Commission held a public hearing and took public comment on this issue for about two hours at its Sept. 12 meeting. The Commission did not take action on the conditional use permit or design review for the Music Building, but instead continued the meeting until Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., according to city planner Anne Hersch. She said the commission received a lot of correspondence on this issue right before the meeting and that commissioners said they had not had time to thoroughly review the correspondence. Also, commissioners requested that representatives from the school, the neighborhood and the City discuss solutions to problems, prior to commission action.

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