There are Alternative Sites to the East Meadow

We can have the additional housing we need and avoid destroying the East Meadow.

EMAC strongly supports more housing on campus, but urges the university to build it responsibly and in accord with our core values.  There are many possibilities, and unlike the East Meadow, a site proposed by the out-of-state developer and one selected without serious environmental or design review, the alternatives listed here have been subject to rigorous and careful review.

Alternatives Listed in the University’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

The administration acknowledges that there are less damaging alternatives than the East Meadow site and proposes several in the EIR.  Environmental Impact Reports are required to list alternatives to the proposed project.  The March 27 Draft EIR for Student Housing West (which includes the proposed East Meadow development) lists, in addition to the “no project” alternative (#1), the following alternate possibilities, none of which involve the East Meadow.  All of them locate the proposed Childcare Center near Family Student Housing.

#2. No East Meadow development, and a smaller development on the Student Housing West site, including Family Student Housing, undergraduate, and graduate student housing. This would take the shortest time to completion, but would reduce the size of the Student Housing West project by about 900 beds.

#3. No East Meadow development, no reduction in size, and design modifications allowing the entire project, including Family Student Housing, to be built on the Student Housing West Site.

#4. No East Meadow development; a smaller development, but which includes Family Student Housing, on the Student Housing West site; and new housing for about 1500 students on the North Remote site (a site to the west of Heller Drive just north of the trailer park).  This was the site originally designated for College Eight (now Rachel Carson College) and has been extensively studied.

The university’s EIR states that any of these alternatives would avoid the adverse consequences—from design, environmental, and other perspectives—posed by the development of the East Meadow.

See Alternative Sites Interactive Map:

EMAC Positions on Alternatives

EMAC supports any alternative that does not build in the East Meadow and does not result in a lower number of beds.  We feel that the loss in beds under Alternate #2 above could be compensated for by infill development in areas already designated for infill on-campus housing (sites near the Crown/Merrill apartments and sites near Porter, Rachel Carson College, and Oakes).

EMAC also supports building student housing on land the university owns on Delaware St. on the west side, which would be easy to build on and which is near existing apartment complexes.  An agreement between the university and the city of Santa Cruz currently limits off-campus university housing to 340 beds.   This limit could be renegotiated were the university to provide traffic mitigation (shuttles to campus, etc.).

Were the university to argue that any alternative to developing the East Meadow would pose unmanageable cost increases, we would stress the following points:

*Given the lack of adequate review of the East Meadow site, it is very possible that there could be hidden costs (karst, sinkholes, and other phenomena not initially evident).

*Litigation against the East Meadow development (by neighbours facing adverse environmental consequences, among other groups) could result in higher costs and considerable delay.

*EMAC knows of several prominent donors who have notified the university that they will no longer give to the university if the East Meadow is developed.  Given the thousands of alumni who have signed one of the two petitions protesting against East Meadow development, we estimate that development of the East Meadow would have significant negative consequences for alumni giving.

*The university administration should not overturn over fifty years of stewardship and environmentally sensitive design for cost purposes.

EMAC supports rational, careful development that maintains UCSC’s principles of access, fairness, and environmentally-conscious design.  Let’s not let our campus’s character be determined by the priorities of an Alabama-based corporation.   Let’s honour UCSC’s core values, and keep what architects and planners everywhere acclaim as one of the world’s most beautiful university campuses.