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October 11, 2004

Public workshop will focus on first draft of UCSC's next Long-Range Development Plan

By Elizabeth Irwin and Jim Burns

On Wednesday, October 20, UC Santa Cruz will hold the fifth in a series of public workshops as part of a multi-year effort to update the campus’s Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP). The event is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., in the Sierra Room of the University Inn, 611 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz.

Intended to describe how the campus might plan for potential physical development through the year 2020, the draft considers how it would accommodate a potential campus fall, winter, and spring average campus enrollment of 21,000 students. That figure for potential enrollment by the end of the 15-year planning period was proposed late last spring by the Strategic Futures Committee, a faculty-led group recommending that number after several months of analysis of statewide demographic trends, desired development of existing academic programs, and potential creation of new academic majors or professional schools.

At the workshop, planning consultants from Cooper, Robertson & Partners of New York and campus planners will provide an overview of the first draft of the Long-Range Development Plan for 2005-20. They will also lead a public discussion of the draft, which was distributed on October 6 to the campus and community members serving on the LRDP Committee.

The draft document can be viewed online at UCSC’s "Planning through 2020" web site.

"This draft represents our first attempt to address the campus's programmatic and enrollment goals that were outlined by the Strategic Futures Committee,” said Tom Vani, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services and chair of the committee. "While the official definition of this project only considers the physical planning implications of enrollment growth on campus, the committee also is attentive to the concerns of our immediate neighbors and the wider community,” he emphasized. “Including community leaders--along with faculty, students, and staff as members of the LRDP Committee--underscores that commitment, and the upcoming workshop is another important opportunity for community members to continue providing their perspective as we move toward finalization of a plan,” Vani said.

The LRDP draft includes the following highlights:

• States a set of principles that balance the university’s academic, research, and service mission with a commitment to sustainable development and careful stewardship of a unique physical environment.

• Preserves open space to the maximum extent possible, including preservation of meadows south of the developed campus center as undisturbed grassland.

• Identifies a combined total of 53 percent of campus lands as protected landscape, natural reserve, habitat reserve, and site research and support for the UCSC Arboretum and the Farm & Garden operated by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems.

-- 912 acres out of approximately 2,000 total acres for Campus Natural Reserve and protected landscape

-- 25.5 acres for habitat reserve

-- 152 acres for site research and support

• Identifies the Cowell Ranch Historic District site.

• Assumes a housing land-use area to accommodate 50 percent of undergraduates, 25 percent of graduate students, 25 percent of faculty, and 3 percent of staff. (More than 80 percent of staff hired at UC Santa Cruz are already Santa Cruz County or nearby residents.) These figures are based on current consumer analyses, but enough land is being identified to house as many as 70 percent of undergraduates, should future demand require it.

• Espouses a goal to minimize use of single-occupant vehicles traveling to and within the campus, and projects only slightly more parking than provided in the 1989 LRDP, even with projection of a larger campus population.

It is expected that the draft Long-Range Development Plan will be completed in December 2004. At that time, the yearlong process of an environmental impact study will take place under the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It is anticipated that the UC Regents will consider the final draft Long-Range Development Plan and its accompanying environmental impact report early in 2006.

Within the University of California system, each campus prepares a Long-Range Development Plan, which is similar to a city’s General Plan, to support its academic goals; the plans also take into account projected statewide enrollment demand on the ten-campus higher-education system and other factors.

Upon their completion, the long-range plans define a building program and a land-use map that serve as a comprehensive planning framework for capital construction, infrastructure, and land-use programs. LRDPs are not mandates for growth, nor are they implementation plans, Vani emphasized, and adoption of an LRDP does not constitute a commitment to specific projects, construction schedules, or funding priorities.

The LRDP process that began last fall will produce UCSC's fifth Long-Range Development Plan, following plans that were adopted in 1963 (two years before the campus opened), 1971, 1978, and 1989.

A factor in the decision by UCSC officials to use the year 2020 as the planning horizon is the opportunity to align with the City of Santa Cruz's time frame in preparing a comparable planning document, its General Plan. The city's General Plan process will commence at the end of the year.

For more information about the upcoming public workshop on the first draft of the 2005 LRDP, call (831) 459-2170.


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