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Home / Articles / News / News /  Growing pains
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Thursday, September 9,2010

Growing pains

School told to sit in corner and think about what it’s done

By Mathew Klickstein

A public charter school in Longmont is being sued by its own property manager due to complaints about vehicle and pedestrian traffic as well as parents’ behavior.

 

The Longs Peak Industrial Park is home to Front Range Community College, a phalanx of small businesses and Flagstaff Academy, a pre-K to eighth grade charter school.

In a lawsuit filed in March, Capital Circle — the company that manages the property in the park — alleged that Flagstaff Academy “is in chronic violation of provisions … regarding parking and loading. As a result of the inadequate parking and loading facilities at the Academy, large volumes of pedestrian and automobile traffic spill … into the streets and other private properties in the area.”

“Students and their parents routinely engage in unsafe, annoying, and illegal behaviors such as jaywalking, trespassing, and illegal parking,” the lawsuit says.

It also states that parents and other caregivers loading and unloading students at the school “engage in double-parking, unsafe backing, and other rude, unlawful, and unsafe parking-related activities.” Parents and caregivers “react rudely when confronted regarding their inappropriate driving, parking and pedestrian behaviors,” the suit claims.

The school filed a legal response in April, denying the claims and calling for a jury trial.

Kory Cash of Capital Circle declined to comment on the case.

Andrew Moore, 33, who took over as principal in spring 2008, says the ever-swelling student body forced the school to move to larger digs only a few blocks away after only six years of operation.

Moore says Capital Circle was made well aware of the school’s intention to grow, since Flagstaff obtained its larger plot of land directly from the property management company.

“We’ve been completely up front about growing at breakneck speed,” Moore says. “There have been no shenanigans on our part.”

After being warned by Capital Circle last year about possible parking/traffic violations, Moore says he has done everything possible to assuage neighboring businesses’ concerns. That includes bridging gaps with the city, architectural innovation, parental/caretaker assistance and technological improvements.

One strategy is to cut traffic through “incentivized rideshare,” as Moore calls it, in which carpooling drivers may to go to the front of the line in the parking area.

Flagstaff also minimizes parking and traffic by using an Apple iTouch system in which students wait in classrooms and are notified when their ride arrives.

Moore himself has remained out in the parking area for the past 18 months, diligently admonishing parents not to block the passageways of the school. He’s assisted by new stoplights, striped crossing walks and a fence that simply serves as a statement that the Academy is trying to be as complicit as possible with area parking regulations.

“We’re feeling proud for what we’ve done,” Moore says. “It’s really very confusing.”

What truly confounds Moore is the fact that there is plenty of nearby space available. The trouble, he says, is that Capital Circle refuses to allow Flagstaff Academy to purchase, lease, or rent more property for purposes of parking.

Moore says some businesses in the park are simply mad there’s a school nearby. He says last year one tenant complained to Capital Circle about a possible liability issue with students’ foot traffic over their property.

“The tenant was absolutely livid,” Moore says. “[Capital] felt [they] had to back the guy.”

Now that the city has ensured Flagstaff has the resources it needs to manage a streamlined parking system, along with the efforts by the school and parents/caretakers, Moore feels confident that the lawsuit will be easily shot down.

“I just can’t believe there will be any action by the courts,” Moore says. “[Circle Capital] thought we weren’t doing enough, fast enough. But now we have such a great system, we should be fine.”

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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