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Studio City Residents Express Fears About Harvard-Westlake School Expansion

STUDIO CITY ( — Studio City residents met Thursday night to discuss a controversial proposal to expand the campus of an elite private school in a residential area.

The proposed construction of a three-story parking garage and soccer field with flood lights for Harvard-Westlake School is upsetting some locals.

The structures would be built on Coldwater Canyon, south of Ventura Boulevard, and near several homes.

KCAL9's Serene Branson spoke to community members at the meeting who say the addition will spoil the greenbelt, add to crowding and lower their property values.

Studio City resident Susan Jacobs accused school officials of acting without concern for residents.

"Harvard-Westlake has so much money and power and influence. These people fully understand how ludicrous the project is," Jacobs said.

School leaders say the parking structure will smooth the flow of traffic to and from the campus and enhance safety.

"We need another field, and that bridge will be a safe passage to that other field," Harvard-Westlake parent John Ellison said, his comments echoed by Harvard Westlake Vice President John Amato.

"We're going to put in mature, lush trees, lush landscaping. We're not talking about two-and-a-half-gallon, five-gallon buckets. It's not the way we do things," Amato said.

School officials maintain the land is not pristine and say it was operated by the Department of Water and Power at one point.

The Studio City Residents Association already voted unanimously to oppose the project.

More debate is expected in the coming weeks.

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