The 2015 Alcuin School Rezoning
Alcuin School on Churchill Way requested a zoning change to increase the number allowed in grades 10, 11, and 12 from 35 to 135, to create a small high school within the school. They did not ask to increase the total number of students.
After extensive negotiations, an Agreement was reached between Alcuin School and (a) the Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association, (b) the Preston Citadel Association, (c) Churchill Way Estates, (d) the residents of Brittany Circle, and (e) Parc du Lac Association. The zoning change was approved by the Dallas City Council on April 8, 2015.
The HFNA initially opposed this re-zoning, but Alcuin made many changes in response to our concerns, and many new restrictions have been placed on the school to protect our neighborhood. The final piece was a commitment by Alcuin to fund $100,000 a year for 10 years to provide Security Patrols in the neighborhood near Alcuin. With these revisions, our association supported the zoning change. See Alcuin's offer.
THE ZONING CHANGE
Q: Will this increase traffic?
A: Alcuin was already allowed 700 students. In 2015, they were at 540. The amended zoning will not increase allowed student count. The school hours for high school will start and end 30 minutes later, and will not add to existing traffic peaks.
Q: How many Alcuin students will drive?
A: The agreement allows for up to 70, versus the 35 previously allowed. This can actually reduce traffic somewhat, because a driving student will only be on Churchill Way twice in a day: driving onto campus in the morning and driving off in the afternoon. A parent dropping off a student is on Churchill Way 4 times a day: entering and leaving in the morning and entering and leaving again in the afternoon.
Q: Will we have teen drivers on our residential streets?
A: No. Student drivers will be issued parking stickers and must park in Alcuin's northwest parking lot. They can only enter from Preston Road and exit to Preston Road. Students will never drive by a residence unless they have an exception because they live in our neighborhood, or visit a classmate who lives here.
Q: How will this be enforced?
A: A police officer or school staff member will be stationed at the northwest parking entrance to assure that students only use Preston Road. Neighbors can alert the school of suspected violators by contacting Alcuin's Community Liaison, Priscilla Sebel, at 972-239-1745.
Q: Will the campus change?
A: You will not see a major change from the street, but some existing buildings will be replaced with new construction. The square footage of floor space can increase up to 16%. The allowed heights will not change. No changes to their small athletic fields. No changes to their parking lots, except that 25 more spaces could be added, if needed, on the west side next to the Aerobics Center.
Q: Can we expect the school to continue making zoning changes?
A: The president of Alcuin's board signed a Letter of Commitment that they will not request another zoning change for at least 6 years, which is 2021. In addition, the school granted a private deed restriction to our Association that states they cannot increase the enrollment cap of 700 on the current property or increase high school students in grades 10-11-12 above the new limit of 135, for a period of at least 15 years.
Q: Will there be an expanded football field or bleachers?
A: No. Their athletic fields will remain pretty much the way they are, locked in by the new zoning. In addition, bleachers and lights are prohibited by the zoning.
Q: Will Alcuin have enough parking?
A: City code requires a certain number of parking spaces per various grades. Alcuin will meet the city's parking code. Plus, an extra 25 spaces can be added, if needed, as stated above.
Q: What else has the school agreed to?
A: Numerous items, including improvements to the wall they installed next to the Brittany Circle homes; more traffic control at the morning peak; fixing drainage issues to the south; and restrictions on things like dumpsters, portable toilets, outdoor PA systems, signage, construction traffic, and use of their athletic fields by non-Alcuin teams.
Q: How will these be enforced?
A: Many are spelled out in the zoning, and the City would enforce those. Others are guaranteed by legal agreements with Hillcrest Forest or by Letters of Commitment.
Q: Can we view the site plan?
A: Yes, here.
Other items: Alcuin school would love to have more neighborhood students and stated that they will give preferential admission to nearby students. They will continue their community liaison position (currently Priscilla Sebel) for residents to contact with questions, concerns, or complaints. She will also send email updates to neighbors who add their name to her list.
Q: How did we get the Security Patrol offer?
A: After a year of discussions, it became clear that Alcuin cannot do much more to fix the traffic generated by the school. "It is what it is." But our association continued to press Alcuin, and Alcuin eventually came back with the Security Patrol offer as an offsetting benefit of significant value to the neighborhood. Hillcrest Forest members south of Forest Lane pay $160-$200 a year for a security patrol which has reduced crime by over 60%.
Q: Explain the Security Patrols.
A: Alcuin is providing up to $100,000 per year for 10 years for Security Patrols, guaranteed by a binding legal agreement. The patrols funded by Alcuin will cover the streets on this map. Patrols will not include gated communities and will not include non-residential properties. However, some synagogues and churches are in or adjacent to the patrol area, so the patrols will benefit the entire community. The patrols will not include Alcuin. Nearby residential areas may be added, only at their own expense.
Q: Who will manage the Patrol service?
A: The legal agreement appoints the Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association. The association formed a Patrol Committee which includes members from across the patrol area, including the other associations named in the agreement.
Q: Will the Patrols be by police or a private security service?
A: Both. Night patrols will be by a uniformed, armed officer from Smith Protective Services. Additional patrols will be by uniformed, off-duty Dallas Police officers in city police cars at random times.
Q: What are the Patrol hours?
A: For security reasons, the details are not published here. Members of our association in the patrol area will be kept informed. Residents among the other associations will be informed by those associations.
Q: Can the Dallas Police control speeding?
A: To some extent. Although the primary function of the patrols will be for security, they will occasionally monitor traffic on streets such as Willow Lane and Churchill Way.
We have never heard of a school making such a generous offer to its neighbors. It took months of hard work on both sides to achieve this.
The Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association would like to thank Alcuin School. The outcome of these negotiations was a compromise, but our board believes that overall, this will be beneficial for both the school and the neighborhood.
Alcuin Zoning Ordinance, April 8, 2015