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Anaverde school caught in dispute

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.But grading for the school will require hauling in enough dirt to raise the height of the site by 4 feet, contrary to what the city letter says, according to Steven Walton, The Empire Companies’ chief operating officer. In addition, Walton said, city officials have not approved street plans necessary for the installation of campus water and sewer lines. “This is nothing more than a public-relations ploy. They are starting to feel the heat because they are responsible for holding up the school,” Walton said. More than 270 Anaverde youngsters are now going by bus about six miles each way to a leased Palmdale School District school near the Antelope Valley Mall, with Anaverde to be billed for half the cost until the new school is built. Anaverde Hills School’s construction has become ensnarled in other issues between the developer and city officials, who are refusing building permits for about 500 homes yet to be constructed in Anaverde’s 1,400-home first phase and blocking the second phase. City officials said they want the developer to make significant progress on both financing and designing a dam to control normally dry Anaverde Creek. PALMDALE – City officials have told Anaverde builders they can move ahead with a long-delayed school in the midst of a dispute over a flood-control dam and other issues that have led officials to stop issuing building permits for more houses in the development where 5,200 homes are ultimately planned. On Monday, however, a top Anaverde official called city government’s letter a public-relations move, not real clearance to start school construction. The letter dated Friday from city government to Empire Land says the company can grade the Anaverde Hills School site in the development’s second-phase area, where city officials have blocked any homes. “Westside School District has a need for that school there. They were already behind,” Mayor Jim Ledford said. The developer also is required to build a road and bridge to provide access for emergency vehicles across the California Aqueduct south of Elizabeth Lake Road. Walton said city officials have twice changed their minds about how the road is to be built, and the latest plan revision is awaiting a city design decision. “We have now designed that road three times,” Walton said. About 810 homes have been completed in the master-plan community, and an additional 90 are under construction with previously issued building permits. An additional 500-some lots have been graded, but city officials are refusing to issue building permits. Westside officials had originally hoped a school would be ready when the first homes were occupied in May 2005. But under an agreement finally reached in November 2005 between school and Anaverde officials, construction on Anaverde’s own school is to start this year, and Westside officials expected the school to open in November 2007. Westside Superintendent Regina Rossall said school officials asked city government in May to let school construction proceed despite the dispute with Anaverde. But she said school officials are trying not to get caught up in the dispute. “We’re not taking anybody’s side. We’ve had a long issue with this entire process. Our desire is to have a school for children,” Rossall said. Anaverde Hills School is expected to resemble Westside’s Esperanza School and initially serve children in kindergarten through eighth grade. It will be designed for 750 students. Westside officials expect the school will cost about $20 million and will be paid for with state matching funds and money that Anaverde’s builders have been paying into a special account.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more