Archer Halts Massive Expansion

On Apr 13, 2019, Archer School for Girls held a grand opening for its completed North Wing renovation. The board postponed the remainder of its massive expansion and will not be building: 85,500 sq ft multi-story underground parking garage with space for 251 cars; 39,300 sq ft two-story Multipurpose Facility with two gyms; 19,000 sq ft Performing Arts Center with 395 seats and a basement theater; and 7,400 sq ft Visual Arts Center.

For now the community has been spared over 100,000 construction vehicle trips clogging Sunset Blvd during several years of impactful construction, including 9,000 haul trucks and 10,000 cement trucks.  In addition, unbeknownst to the community, Archer’s massive expansion would have required the closure of two lanes on Sunset Blvd for 10 weeks in the fall of 2018 to update DWP utilities.

Despite overwhelming opposition from the Brentwood community, in Aug 2015 Mike Bonin and the City Council approved Archer’s expansion with the support of only one homeowners association (Brentwood Homeowners Association) and two neighbors as evidenced by the Covenant and Conditional Use Permit.

Sunset Coalition with the backing of thousands of affected residents in the community continued to oppose the massive expansion by taking the case to court.  The Coalition greatly appreciates all the support and donations it received from the community during the three-year court battle.  While this massive expansion is on hold, Sunset Coalition will continue to represent the Brentwood community and monitor the project.


Construction Routes

Planned Archer Truck Routes on Sunset Boulevard have no alternative but to dump into the most congested streets in Los Angeles

Planned Archer Truck Routes on Sunset Boulevard have no alternative but to dump into the most congested streets in Los Angeles

The Fight Continues

The original six-year construction plan included extensive demolition and excavation, followed by construction of two gyms, a large underground parking garage, Visual Arts Center, Performing Art Center, complete remodel of the North Wing, increased enrollment, increased Special and Athletic practice and Events. The current construction plan includes all of the above with minimal reductions and has been compressed into a three-year schedule. The result will be continuous construction six days per week for at least three years, with flagmen at Barrington and Sunset frequently bringing traffic to a standstill, starting in May 2017!

The Archer’s Plan is Still Too Big and Too Impactful

The current project documents do not take into account real-world traffic and other significant negative impacts caused by two of Archer’s major changes: (1) Archer recently compressed its prior six-year construction schedule into three years with minimal reductions to the project (with up to 130,000 construction vehicle round trips), and (2) Archer has delayed its proposed start of construction to 2017, which will now cause “cumulative” impacts with concurrent construction vehicle traffic from other major construction projects that will overlap, including the Brentwood School expansion, Mount St. Mary’s expansion, and the large Caruso project in the Pacific Palisades. (All of the construction vehicles for the latter two projects will also need to arrive and depart via Sunset.)

Archer’s project alone – with a compressed construction schedule now causing overlapping phases and an increase of construction vehicles per day – is certain to create new and unmitigatable impacts, particularly in terms of construction traffic (extending trip times on Sunset Boulevard from the I-405 to and from Pacific Palisades) and environmental impacts such as the increased levels of airborne toxins.

Please note that in ALL of Council member Mike Bonin’s self-congratulatory communications regarding the Archer project, he completely ignores the issue of construction traffic. His “plan” to “reduce traffic on Sunset” addresses only post-construction traffic, and even if his plan works (our traffic expert Tom Brohard completely debunks it, see his analysis here) its impact on Sunset traffic would be trivial compared to the 36-month construction traffic nightmare he has approved.

Archer’s analysis of air quality and related health issues was flawed and dangerously incorrect, as shown in this letter from our consultants. During the projected peak emission days, under a correct analysis, the estimated carcinogens would exceed permitted levels by 25%.

And that was when the demolition, excavation and construction was to be spread over 74 months. Archer has not provided an updated analysis – based on updated schedules of both construction activities and construction traffic onsite – of air quality and health risks, that reflects the compression of most of that work into only 36 months.

Even more important, Archer has not updated its analysis to reflect the new March 2015 statewide guidance, which incorporates new science showing that the increase in cancer incidence for “schoolchildren” is ten times what the prior science showed..

In the rush to get this project approved, Archer’s recent major changes have not been subject to proper analysis, disclosure or mitigation. Consequently, neither the general public nor the City Council had the information they need to make fully informed and responsible decisions.

There is so much information regarding the intrigue around this issue that we’ve created a dedicated site, The Archer Disaster, a Facebook Page, YouTube Channel and a Twitter Feed exclusively for the Archer School Expansion and its effect on traffic and the environment.

Also, please Sign your Name to our letter telling Council member Mike Bonin that the majority of Brentwood neighbors and community organizations still oppose the Archer School expansion plan.