Monday, October 22 , 2018, 2:01 am | Fair 63º

 
 
 
 

UCSB Holds Workshop on Recirculated Environmental Documents for Long-Range Plan

Campus officials listen up with an aim to exchange information and engage the community

A relatively modest but vocal crowd showed up at UCSB’s Thursday evening workshop on the environmental documents related to its development plans.

Residents, development watchdogs and members of local agencies gathered at the Santa Catalina (formerly Francisco Torres) residence hall to comment on the recirculated portion of the university’s Environmental Impact Report for its Long-Range Development Plan.

“This is a workshop where we’re trying to get some dialogue on issues and see how that lines up to comments we’ve already had,” said UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas.

With a planning scope that spans the next 15 years, the long-range blueprint assumes a growth rate that is projected to increase the number of enrolled students by 5,000 in 2025 for a total student population of about 25,000. Accompanying the increased number of students will be a concurrent rise in faculty and staff. Taking into account family members of those who come out to teach, work or study, some project the total population increase to come out to about 10,000. The proposal’s environmental impact report covers what UCSB believes to be the impacts to the surrounding community.

While UCSB endeavors to keep development and housing within the campus, the surrounding community has nevertheless been concerned about the impact the increased population will have on local infrastructure and resources.

Five elements of the EIR that were previously deemed inadequate — transportation, air quality, housing, water supply and wastewater — were redistributed with further discussion and information, but workshop participants on the whole still seemed unsatisfied with the work.

Some participants, like the Santa Barbara County Action Network’s Mickey Flacks, were less than thrilled by the seeming vagueness of UCSB’s plans for housing the people it wants to attract.

“What the community wants is a commitment by the university to house its increase,” she said. One of the major concerns in relation to housing is that UCSB will attract people faster than it can provide housing, causing a spillover into the surrounding communities.

Over at the transportation station, residents of the Storke Ranch neighborhood adjacent to campus expressed concerns that UCSB is not doing enough for alternative transportation. They also aired issues they’ve had with potential plans to open the connection to Mesa Road on campus from Phelps Road, their two-lane main access road that they say could become dangerous if the cul de sac at the end were permanently opened to all traffic.

“When you bought those properties, did you not know that that road could potentially go through?” asked Marc Fisher, UCSB administrative services and campus architect.

While some have said the two-lane Phelps Road was intended to eventually open up to Mesa road on the other side of the gate, the Storke Ranch neighbors present said, aside from emergency access, there was no provision in their agreements with their homeowners’ association.

Some of their concerns may have been lessened however, with the news that the widening of El Colegio Road (scheduled for its second phase this summer) might take away the need to connect their access road to campus.

Meanwhile, Goleta Water District board members crowded the station that dealt with water issues, in an attempt to bridge an information gap between the district and its largest customer.

“Our objective is to protect the water supply,” said board member Bill Rosen. UCSB has, according to Rosen, interpreted some information differently from how the district would have done so.
Conversely, some of the misinterpretation may have been due to erroneous or missing information from the district’s end, as it struggles to update records and find a way to more accurately monitor campus water use.

The input from this informal workshop session will be rolled into an ongoing collection of public comments on the development plan, its original environmental document and the recirculated portions, Lucas said. All documents and comments will later be submitted to the UC Regents and the state Coastal Commission for review.

Two more meetings will be held:

» Goleta City Council — 6 p.m. Tuesday, Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive.

» MTD — 8:30 a.m. March 24, MTD, 505 Olive St.

» Board of Supervisors — 9 a.m. March 24, County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.


Public comment ends March 30. Click here for more information or to make comments.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at [email protected]

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.