Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Pepperdine Expansion Plans Get a Municipal Green Light

• County to Hear Proposals This Week

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council took a position last week endorsing Peppedine University’s latest expansion plans if school officials agree to the conditions the city wants imposed on them.
Council members were asked to discuss the adequacy of the responses to the city’s comment letter on the Draft Environmental Impact Report and to determine whether to take a position in support, opposition or remain neutral on the university’s plans.
Last December, the council heard from university officials about its plans, which were immediately followed by Malibu Country Estate residents who at the time were critical of the proposed project and sought a stronger response from the city.
Since then, MCE homeowners told municipal officials and the city council they had been mollified by the mitigation measures the university undertook to accommodate the residents’ concerns.
The Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission hearing is this week in downtown Los Angeles.
The city attorney had indicated at a previous meeting that the county’s Department of Regional Planning staff had agreed to accept a comment letter from the city after the public comment period deadline. Hence the lateness of the city’s responses.
The planning panel, which will meet after the Malibu Surfside News goes to press, is expected to consider a Conditional Use Permit, parking permit and Environmental Impact Report.
The CUP would authorize the construction, operation and maintenance of 394,137 square feet of new development and grading in excess of 100,000 cubic yards within approximately 365 acres of existing core campus area on the 830-acre site, according to regional planning department documents.
The six components of the expansion call for student housing rehabilitation, a new 5470 seat athletic events center, upgrades to the soccer field, a new “town square and welcome center,” enhanced recreation area and school of law parking structure of three levels.
The buildout, according to city planners, would be in two phases over about twelve years.
“The final EIR determined that all environmental impacts associated with the project can be mitigated to less than a significant level except traffic,” wrote the city’s senior planner Stephanie Danner in a staff report to the council.
“Even with mitigation measures, the environmental impacts of traffic and access during major events remain a significant and unavoidable impact.
“Therefore a statement of overriding consideration would need to be approved by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.”
Plans call for 468 new student beds. The new events center is a planned 5000-seat venue that would allow NCAA regulation volleyball and basketball.
The events center will be relocated to the northern campus interior and provide parking for 830 adjacent parking spaces including 265 new spaces.
A new campus center is planned and additional parking structures are included in the expansion.

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