Gas station without pumps

2016 August 10

Response from UCSC on MRC’s beauty spot

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:37
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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.

2016 July 17

MRC’s beauty spot revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:25
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In MRC’s beauty spot, five years ago, I commented on the temporary staging area set up by Chancellor MRC Greenwood around 2000, and how it seems to have become a permanent blight on the Great Meadow. I took pictures of it again last month—it seems to be becoming more permanent, with no indication that UCSC administration will ever restore the damage done to the Meadow.

They have broken up the staging area into 4 parking lots, cleverly numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4:

Lot 1 is contractor parking only.

Lot 1 is contractor parking only.

Lot 2 was contractor parking, but has been turned into student parking.

Lot 2 was contractor parking, but has been turned into student parking.

Lot 3 is for contractor parking, but seems to be used for storage as well.

Lot 3 is for contractor parking, but seems to be used for storage as well.

Another view of Lot 3, showing more random storage and trailers.

Another view of Lot 3, showing more random storage and trailers.

Lot 4 is labeled for student parking, but also has buses and storage containers.

Lot 4 is labeled for student parking, but also has buses and storage containers.

Lot 4 seems to be used for storage of buses and storage containers, as well as parking.

Lot 4 seems to be used for storage of buses and storage containers, as well as parking.

Another view of Lot 4.

Another view of Lot 4.

After about 15 years of “temporary” construction staging, I think it is long past time for UCSC to either decide that this parking lot is permanent and construct it properly (with lighting, shade trees, pavement that will last, and similar amenities) or clean it up and restore the land underneath as was originally promised.

UCSC has suffered a lot from MRC Greenwood’s mistakes (like taking on lots of extra students on the theory that the resources would catch up), but this particular problem is fixable.

2011 July 6

MRC’s beauty spot

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:08
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One of the most lasting legacies of our former chancellor, MRC Greenwood, who was kicked upstairs to the Office of the President and eventually became president of University of Hawaii, is MRC’s “beauty spot”—a temporary construction staging area that is still a blight on the campus seven years after her departure.

Aerial view of the construction staging area just before the East Remote Parking lot, on the most visible part of the Great Meadow. The area is about 170 feet by 550 feet. (Photo from Google Maps, probably taken in 2009 or 2010.)

Last year, the staging area was still in heavy use, as evidenced by this picture I took in July 2010.

There was a lot of contractor parking as well as general mess in July 2010.

Now that the McHenry Library construction is done, and the Biomedical Building is nearing completion, there is no further need for the staging area.

One can now wander into the previously locked up area, and see the forlorn, patched asphalt stretching seemingly forever.

This “temporary” staging area is no longer needed.  UCSC is probably not going to build any new buildings for decades—it s not as if the state economy were going to recover any time soon, and the reluctance to tax anyone or any business who actually has money does not seem likely to change until California is split into two (or more) states, and the Republicans all vote themselves a tax-free, bankrupt state in the southern part, allowing the rest of us to pay taxes and have government services like education and health care.  If UCSC does foolishly decide to go further into debt to build more buildings, I hope they find a less destructive and intrusive way to do the staging. For that matter, most of the lot was not used for staging, but simply for free parking for construction workers, which certainly was not worth destroying the meadow for.

It is long past time for UCSC to tear out the badly laid asphalt and restore the meadow.

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