The Threat

Harvard-Westlake Parking Expansion

In 2013, Harvard-Westlake launched an unprecedented parking plan, to the shock and surprise of its neighbors. Rather than benefitting the community, the plan would disfigure our foothills, urbanize our community, and add to congestion.

Since then, the community opposition to this massive project has grown steadily. In 2016, the School released a revised plan, only to make their proposed project LARGER, excavating MORE of the hillside, and taking LONGER to complete. The Final EIR (Environmental Impact Report) came out in June 2017. We now await City Planning response — despite FOUR YEARS of community opposition to the project, the School has not compromised or proposed any smaller-scale, more reasonable alternative, nor any reasonable alternative on their existing campus footprint. Read more to find out why so many residents, commuters and environmentalists oppose this unnecessary and destructive project.

Here’s what the school wants to do:



Put an athletic field on top of the parking garage. The artificial turf would be surrounded by fencing rising another 3 stories high and 14 light poles that beam lights down from a height of over 80 feet. They want to be able to use the field until 8:00 pm on weeknights, and on Saturdays and even weekday holidays.


This is the bridge that the Wilson Geosciences expert report says is “likely to fail” in a moderate to large earthquake.

Traffic & Construction

Estimate: 30 months

Excavation alone: 160 truck trips per day, 6 days a week for 9-12 months. 8am-4pm

Flagmen stopping traffic for trucks, cranes and backhoes.

Traffic delays from this extent of excavation and construction would be inevitable.


The Los Angeles Times reports that 1,300 cars per hour drive Coldwater Canyon.  During the years of construction, even partial road closures and delays would bring traffic to a grinding halt.  If the garage is allowed to be built, a net increase of over 500 cars would be able to routinely drive Coldwater — adding to the rush hour commute and creating even worse traffic delays and congestion.

Do we really want Canyon-Geddon II?

The Environmental Damage

Destruction of 147 protected oak and walnut trees, plus removal of hundreds of other trees and shrubs on the hillside.

“Human-intolerant mammal and bird species would permanently decline.” (SMMC Comment Letter, 9/23/13)

The creation of a “multi-acre disturbance zone” in a known wildlife corridor. (SMMC Comment Letter, 9/23/13)


Light and noise pollution from the athletic field.

Loss of scenic vistas.

Numerous sensitive and threatened species live on site (Rufous Hummingbird, Cooper’s Hawk, Nuttall’s Woodpecker and others).


The Law

The school must obtain carve-outs from the City Planning Commission, the Board of Public Works, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission and the Los Angeles City Council. The school wants to change all of the following:
Permitted Use: The land is zoned for very low and minimum residential use. That means a maximum of 4 single-family homes. That would be about 16,000 square feet, compared to the 300,000 square feet of parking and an athletic field proposed by the school.
Setbacks: They want to reduce the 25 feet required.
Height: They want to exceed the 30-feet limit.
Airspace: They want to build a land bridge as if Coldwater were a freeway.  The City would need to grant them the rights to the airspace above Coldwater Canyon for their private bridge, but the law states there must be a public benefit.  Harvard-Westlake does not – and should not – own our public roadway.
Retaining Walls: They want to build walls THREE TIMES the limit (90 ft tall).
Excavation: They want to remove 137,000 cubic yards of soil – over 400 million pounds. Hillside limit is 1,600. That’s 85 times the allowed amount.

cubic yards photo

The Need

There is none.

The School’s own lawyers have repeatedly told the City that, at their current enrollment, 436 spaces were more than adequate to meet the needs of the campus.  They already have 568 – 30% more than they need.  If the new garage is built, they will have 1,085 – nearly three times what they need.

The school now claims they have a 87 space shortfall – yet they are only considering project alternatives that have 750 spaces. They have so far refused to consider any smaller-scale alternatives, including a feasible alternative on one of their existing lots which would give them a half-size practice field and, if allowed ONE ADDITIONAL STORY of parking, an additional 120 spaces.

The school already has a state-of-the-art sports field on the east side of Coldwater Canyon, and routinely buses their athletes to nearby practice fields.


The school claims to have no plans to build new facilities on the existing parking lots. They have refused to release any Master Plan or Strategic Plan.

The school claims they are unable to increase their carpooling because of their “unique” after school needs.

Why is the school refusing to be reasonable?
Why are they asking for special treatment?
Why should all these exceptions be made just for them?