|The Agreement with Alcuin School
|An Agreement has been reached after extensive negotiations between Alcuin School and
the Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association, the Preston Citadel Association, Churchill
Way Estates, and the residents of Brittany Circle (adjoining Alcuin on the east).
Alcuin made many accommodations, the largest being a commitment to fund $100,000 a
year for the next 10 years to provide a Security Patrol in the neighborhood. In return for
this million dollar benefit, the Hillcrest Forest and other neighboring associations agreed
to support the zoning change.
We believe that this is an extraordinary offer of considerable value. On our annual
surveys, 27% state crime as a concern. The #2 concern is speeding, at a distant 4%.
|Answers to your questions
THE ZONING CHANGES
Q: Will this increase traffic? A: Alcuin is already allowed 700 students, although they are
only at 540 today. This will not increase their allowed head count. The morning peak is the
20 minutes prior to the 8:15 bell, when all 540 students are dropped off. That will not grow,
because the additional 160-180 students will be high school age with a bell at
9:00. But this will add a second, smaller peak just before 9:00. Likewise, the smaller
number of high school students will be dismissed 30 minutes later, at 4:00 p.m.
Q: How many Alcuin students will drive? A: The agreement allows for up to 70, which is
35 more than the 35 currently allowed. This will actually reduce traffic somewhat, because
a student will only be on Churchill Way twice in a day: driving onto campus in the morning
and driving off in the afternoon (2 "trips"). Parents dropping off a student add 4 "trips" a
day: entering and leaving in the morning to drop off, and entering and leaving in the
afternoon to pick up.
Q: Will we have teen drivers on our residential streets? A: No. Student drivers will be
issued parking stickers and must park in the far northwest parking lot. They will only be
allowed to enter directly from Preston Road and exit to Preston Road. Students will never
drive by a residence, unless they have an exception because they actually live in our
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. The
school will have a "contract" that students AND their parents must sign, agreeing to the
rules. Violation will be immediately reported to parents, students will be warned, and
repeat violators can lose their driving privileges. Neighbors can alert the school of
suspected violators, by phone or email to Alcuin's Community Liaison, Jana Haigood.
Q: Will the campus change? A: You will not see a significant change from Churchill Way.
The new development plan draws “building envelopes” around most of the existing
buildings, allowing them to be replaced with new construction at some future date. It
would allow the buildings to be shifted around slightly within those dotted lines, and allow
for slightly more square footage of building than now (an increase of up to 16% in Floor
Area Ratio). That doesn’t mean that they will use it, but it gives them flexibility. Because of
the location of the buildings, most of this should not be very noticeable from Churchill
Way, other than a new building might replace an old one. The allowed heights will not
change. No changes to their small athletic fields. No changes to their parking lots or the
front of the property, except that a new 26-space parking lot is allowed at the southeast
corner, at the far back, away from Churchill Way, and 25 more spaces could be added, if
needed, on the west side next to the Cooper Clinic. Portable classrooms could be
temporarily located at the southeast corner of the property for a maximum of 18 months
while an existing building was removed and replaced with a new one.
Q: Can we expect the school to keep requesting zoning changes? A: As part of the
Agreement, Alcuin will give a Letter of Commitment to the neighborhood that it will not file
for a zoning change for 6 years. Our City Council member, Lee Kleinman, will sign that he
supports that moratorium. In addition, the school agreed to a private deed restriction that
they cannot increase the enrollment cap on the current property above the current 700, or
the high school students in 10-11-12 above the new limit of 135, for a period of 15 years.
Q: Will there be a football field or bleachers? A: No. Their athletic fields will remain
pretty much the way they are. That is ensured by the site plan in their zoning. Their field is
too small for regulation football or soccer, much less bleachers; and bleachers and lights
are prohibited by the existing zoning and that will not change. With a small high school
enrollment and students primarily there for the International Baccalaureate program, they
do not expect to have major outdoor sports.
Q: Will Alcuin have enough parking? A: City code requires a certain number of parking
spaces per various grades. Elementary grades require 1.5 spaces per classroom. High
school grades require 9.5 spaces per classroom. With Alcuin's addition of 26 spaces in the
southeast corner, they will meet city code for schools. An additional 25 spaces can be
added, if needed, on the west side next to the Cooper Clinic. But they will not have as
much excess parking as they do today. In recent years, Alcuin has taken extra measures
when having large events, to prevent parking from overflowing into the neighborhood.
Q: What else has the school agreed to? A: There are numerous other items, including
visual improvements to the concrete block wall they installed along Brittany Circle homes;
traffic control at the peak of the morning so Brittany Circle residents can get out of their
street onto Churchill Way; restrictions on things like dumpsters, portable toilets, outdoor
PA systems, signage, construction traffic, and use of their small athletic fields by non-Alcuin
Q: Can we view the site plan? A: Yes. Alcuin will not change muchfrom what is seen on
campus today, except for what is stated above: mainly some slightly larger or slightly
reconfigured buildings. You can view the site plan here. You can zoom in or out. You can
see a Word document with the written "conditions" in their zoning agreement here. There
have been some very minor changes to these since the City Plan Commission hearing.
Other items: Alcuin school stated that they will give preferential consideration to
admitting students who live in the neighborhood. They will continue their community
liaison position (currently Jana Haigood) for residents to contact with questions or
concerns, and who will keep neighbors informed.
Q: How did we get the Security Patrol offer? A: Alcuin already has many measures in
place that help "somewhat" with the traffic, even if they don't solve it. And much of the
traffic is not due to Alcuin, but to Dallas International School, the Aerobics Center, and
even neighbors in the 200+ nearby homes coming and going at those times of day. But
after a year of difficult discussions, it became clear that Alcuin cannot do much more to fix
the traffic at the peaks. It is what it is. Undeterred, the 4 neighboring associations
continued to work with Alcuin, and with some crucial help from our City Council member,
Lee Kleinman, at a critical moment, Alcuin came back with the Security Patrol offer as an
offsetting benefit of significant value to the neighborhood, because Alcuin cannot reduce
the traffic on Churchill Way.
Q: Explain the Security patrols. A: Alcuin committed to provide up to $100,000 per year
for 10 years for Security patrols for the neighborhood. The precise area has not been
determined, but it will clearly cover all of the single family homes north of Churchill Way,
and most or all of the single family homes between Churchill Way and Forest Lane. It will
not include gated communities for obvious reasons, and it will not include non-residential
areas such as the Tom Thumb shopping center, Cooper Clinic, or businesses or apartments
or churches along Preston Road or LBJ. Churches and Synagogues that are within the
patrol area will benefit from the same patrol watchfulness as residents, so it will benefit the
Q: Will Alcuin control the Patrol service? A: No. The Patrol service will be managed by
the neighborhood. Alcuin will just pay the invoices.
Q: Who will establish and manage the Patrol service? A: Leaders of the four
neighborhood associations (named at the top) worked hard on behalf of our
neighborhood and spent hundreds of hours in discussions with Alcuin, neighbors, and city
officials, all of which culminated with Alcuin offering this extraordinary benefit. Therefore,
the Agreement between Alcuin and the four associations is that the Patrol service will be
established and managed by representatives of those associations who secured this offer.
It will be done in conjunction with neighborhood input. After the Patrols are up and
running, at some future date the structure might change. But initially, it will be the 4
associations who secured this unprecedented benefit for us. They worked hard in the best
interest of the entire neighborhood, and will continue to do so.
Q: Will the Patrols be by Police or a private security service? A: Much work remains to be
done, and the service provider will be determined in future months. It will be decided with
input from a broad spectrum of the community.
Q: Does anyone among the 4 associations have experience with patrols? A: The Hillcrest
Forest Neighborhood Association already has a patrol service which covers 800 homes
south of Forest Lane. It is managed by an affiliated entity. Our boards overlap, so the
HFNA has significant experience with it. In the first year, crime dropped by over 20%. 400+
households there voluntarily pay $120-$160 a year for the service, and it is very popular.
They will be envious that residents in the Alcuin area will get Patrols for zero cost.
Q: How many patrol hours will $100,000 a year afford us? A: If it is the Dallas Police, who
are more expensive, it might be one 4-hour patrol shift every day, plus a second 4-hour
patrol shift on some days (or 8 hours on certain days). If it is a private security service,
probably 30% more patrol hours could be funded. There are pro's and con's to those two
types of patrol providers.
Q: What would the patrol hours be? A: To be determined. Neighborhood input will be
solicited. In the HFNA patrol area south of Forest Lane, about 30% of the crime takes place
during the day, primarily burglaries when homes are unoccupied when people are working,
between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. About 50% of the crime takes place at late night, after midnight,
mostly motor vehicle break-ins. About 20% is at various other times.
Q: If the patrol is by Dallas Police, can they control speeding, and traffic violators?
A: "Yes and no." Off duty Dallas Police cannot write traffic citations, nor do they have
radar units in their vehicles (those are only issued to on-duty officers). However, if a Dallas
Police officer observed a car that was clearly well over the speed limit, he/she could turn on
their lights and stop them and warn them to slow down.
We have never heard of a school making an offer like this. It took a lot of hard work on
both sides to get there, probably thousands of hours in total.
We want to thank Carol Scott of the Citadel; Garrett Sherman on Churchill Way; Walter &
Hinke Schroen on Churchill Way; Jack Wilson and Joel Maten on Brittany Circle; our own
HFNA President, Bruce Wilke; City Plan Commissioner (and HFNA member and former
board member) Jaynie Schultz; and our City Council member, Lee Kleinman – each of
whom was key in getting these benefits and accommodations for the neighbors
surrounding Alcuin School.
Many other neighbors contributed time at meetings and made good suggestions, as well.
Our thanks to them.
And finally, the Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association would like to thank Alcuin
School. This was a Win-Win for the school and for its neighbors, and it was Alcuin's
generous offer that made it possible. Thank you, Alcuin!