UCSC to hold public hearing on draft EIR for faculty-staff housing project

The University of California, Santa Cruz, will hold a public hearing on February 26 to receive comments on a draft Environmental Impact Report that has been prepared related to the campus's Ranch View Terrace faculty and staff housing project. The meeting will take place at UCSC's Barn Theater, located at the base of campus, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) examines the environmental effects of the project, which includes 80 three- and four-bedroom for-sale houses, 3 rental units, and a community center.

The project is planned for a portion of the 25.5 acres designated as "Inclusion Area D" in UCSC's Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). Inclusion Area D is located between UCSC's main entrance, Arboretum, and Farm. The project is proposed to be constructed on 13 acres in the northern portion of the inclusion area. The inclusion area's remaining acreage, situated between the housing development and High Street, will remain undeveloped.

The campus's LRDP, which provides a blueprint for campus growth, set aside several inclusion areas, including "D," to accommodate nonacademic, university-related activities such as faculty and staff housing.

UCSC has a critical need for faculty and staff housing on campus, said Frank Zwart, UCSC's associate vice chancellor for physical planning and construction, adding that UCSC expects to recruit 300 new faculty and replace 300 retiring faculty during the next 10 years. "The cost of regional housing is making it difficult to compete with other universities in attracting new employees," he said.

The draft EIR is available for review at UCSC's McHenry and Science & Engineering Libraries and the main branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library. Paper copies may be purchased from Kinko's at 105 Laurel Street in Santa Cruz for the cost of duplication.

At the February 26 hearing, members of the public will be invited to give oral comments on the draft EIR. Written comments may also be submitted during the comment period, which ends on March 10. Written comments should be sent to UCSC's Environmental Assessment Group (EAG), 515 Swift Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

For more information, call the EAG at (831) 460-3570.