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City of St. Helena

The St. Helena Planning Commission on Tuesday approved one new building and the reconfiguration of two previously approved buildings at the St. Helena Montessori School.

Once constructed on the school’s College Avenue campus, the buildings will house the school’s Adolescent and Toddler programs, which have been operating out of temporary buildings. The current enrollment of 210 students will not increase.

Two of the proposed buildings were already approved in 2009, but the school won permission to reconfigure them, decrease their overall size, and place them closer together under the same roof to house the Adolescent program.

The third building, measuring 1,300 square feet, was newly proposed to house the Toddler program. The changes result in a net increase in overall construction of 492 square feet.

School representatives said the changes were based on their experience running the programs out of the temporary buildings, which gave them ideas on how to use the proposed buildings more effectively.

After some discussion, the commission agreed with city staff that the project’s impacts had already been analyzed by the project’s environmental report from 2009. The commission approved the project 4-0, on the condition that the school find a way to shield students inside the buildings from the noise of tractors that operate on a nearby agricultural property.

Coldwell Bankers moving

In other action, the commission unanimously approved a use permit for Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley to move from its current space at 1289 Main St. to a vacant space at 1200 Main St. in the Galleron Building.

The real estate office will take over the space previously occupied by the St. Helena Hospital Well Now Showcase, as well as a vacant space in the back that used to be part of the St. Helena Star office.

Commissioners had a few concerns about parking, since the office’s current space has eight parking spaces and the new one has only four. But the applicants said there be won’t be more than four or five staff members in the office at any given time, and added that the company’s agents do a lot of their work remotely, and some of them bike to work.

In approving the project, commissioners told staff to consult with the city’s attorneys on how to revoke the use permit for the office’s old space at 1289 Main to prevent another real estate company from moving in.

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