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Campus planner discusses LRDP project

In an effort to provide additional information to the campus community about the process of updating the campus’s Long Range Development Plan, Currents will periodically discuss various aspects of the LRDP with campus personnel. This month’s Q&A is with John Barnes, lead staff planner for the project.

John Barnes
Photo: Louise Donahue

Why does the campus need to grow, and how was the growth projected in the Draft 2005 LRDP determined?

Part of the impetus to grow is due to demographic trends over the next 15 years and our responsibility to maintain the same degree of access to higher education. In other words, we want tomorrow’s students to have the same access to higher ed that prior generations had. It’s also true that additional graduate and undergraduate students create opportunities for the campus to respond to emerging new academic disciplines. Doing these things enables UCSC to honor its responsibility to serve the people of the region and the state.

During the early part of the LRDP process, a faculty committee called the Strategic Futures Committee and the LRDP Committee studied four enrollment levels: no growth; 17,000; 21,000; and 25,000. After careful consideration of the programmatic and physical implications, the Strategic Futures Committee recommended the 21,000 enrollment. It is important to remember, though, that the LRDP, should it be approved, would not mandate growth, but would provide a physical framework for growth should it come.

What opportunities have there been for public input into the LRDP process, and what opportunities remain?

Revising the LRDP is a two-phase effort. We started the planning phase in fall 2003 and published the Draft 2005 LRDP in January. It was the subject of five public meetings, we received countless written comments, and we included local public officials in our planning process. In January 2005, we began the environmental review phase, which will assess the impacts of the proposed 2005 LRDP in an Environmental Impact Report. We held three public meetings in February to get input on the scope of the analysis. We expect to circulate the Draft EIR in September of this year. There will be a 60-day public review period—15 more than required—with two public meetings and opportunities to comment on its adequacy.

The 1988 LRDP called for specific actions to mitigate the impact of campus growth projected in that plan. What is the status of those mitigation measures?

When the last LRDP revision was done, its EIR identified impacts that needed mitigation to reduce their effect on the physical environment, on and off campus. On campus, these addressed impacts such as water runoff, biotic resources, housing; off-campus issues included traffic and water use. The 1988 LRDP EIR identified 30 mitigations. Over the years, we have added 8 LRDP mitigations due to specific projects. Of the 38 on-campus mitigations, 33 are fully implemented. The remaining mitigation measures are partially implemented, with an infrastructure project under way to fully implement two of these.

Even off campus, where we do not control the timing or funding of the mitigations, we have a very good record in collaborating with the city. Of the 19 “university assistance measures” intended to address off-campus impacts related to UCSC activities, 8 are complete, 3 are either in process or in negotiation, and 8 await initiation by the city. Through the university assistance measures, we have contributed $1.4 million toward off-campus infrastructure upgrades.

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