In MRC’s beauty spot revisited, I complained about the temporary construction staging area having become a permanent blight on campus. I brought the blog post to the attention of the administration, who had the campus architect answer me:
I am responding to your inquiry about the staging area on behalf of the Chancellor. Thank you for your comments and I apologize for the delayed response. The areas adjacent to the East Remote Parking Lot are anticipated to continue to be used for contractor staging, as campus infill sites lack on-site staging space. During periods of low demand for contractor staging, the areas will be used as surge campus parking. Transportation and Parking Services is exploring the feasibility of making the area in and around the East Remote Parking Lot more efficient.
Please let me know if you have any other questions or would like to talk about this further.
I decided it was worthwhile to pass on Ron’s comment about the lack of environmental review, so I asked,
OK, but a question came up in response to my blog post. Did the campus ever do an EIR on the development of that “temporary” staging area which now apparently has been redesignated a permanent staging area?
And I got a subsequent reply:
The Campus determined that the creation and use of the staging area was categorically exempt from CEQA so no environmental document was prepared. At the time, the Campus anticipated that the staging area would only be needed for up to 5 years, at which time it would be restored. However, since the campus has accommodated enrollment growth under the 2005 LRDP through infill development, ongoing construction in the central campus has necessitated continued use of the staging area.
The Campus created a mechanism to collect funds for eventual restoration of the area. This mechanism is still in place.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
While a temporary staging area may be categorically exempt, I’m not sure that a permanent one is. I believe that the exemption was based on the assumption that the site would be restored after five years.
It has been 16 years now that this five-year staging area has been around, and there are clearly no plans to ever restore the site as originally promised. Perhaps the Sierra Club or some other land-use watchdog might want to look into this issue—I don’t have the time nor the energy to pursue it further.