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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Scoping Begins on Malibu SMC Campus

• Plans Call for Demo of Old Site and Beginning Anew

                     BY BILL KOENEKER

There were more college officials at last week’s Environmental Impact Report scoping session from the Santa Monica Community College District, the lead agency, on the planned satellite campus in Malibu, than folks from the coastal city or elsewhere to talk about it.
SMC was conducting an Environmental Impact Report scoping session for the construction of a SMC satellite campus at Malibu City Hall.
The meeting and the impact report was overseen by Parker Environmental Consultants.
The proposal consists of about a 2.94-acre, irregularly shaped ground lease area within the larger 9.18-acre Los Angeles County-owned and operated Civic Center complex, according to SMC officials.
The site is the former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station, which was decommissioned in the early 1990s. The existing building includes approximately 23,882 square feet of developed floor area.
When college officials were asked why the school wanted to embark on such an endeavor, Don Girard, who heads up government relations for the school district, told the sparsely attended session, the college used to have a substantial set of programs at various schools in Malibu, but lost out when the schools expanded and the college “was kicked out.”
“We want to  have our own place [to service] Malibu,” he said.
Malibu Knolls resident Steve Uhring asked if the school was seeking any variances and was told no. Uhring said he did not think the EIR scoping session documents adequately laid out the plans of the school district.
Uhring asked if there was a study on parking. He said the initial documents had no numbers.
Uhring and the others were told the proposal calls for 210 students, full-time equivalent students and 12 faculty members.
“We need to identify how many surface parking spaces are needed,” said Shane Parker, who is the EIR consultant.
Planning Commissioner John Mazza told the EIR consultant since there are so many projects currently in the pipeline folks were taking extra care to explain to the consultants that the EIR’s study of cumulative impacts would be highly scrutinized.
Parker said there would be a cumulative impacts analysis with emphasis on traffic.
Mazza said the consultant should include evacuation plans of the other schools in the Civic Center.
Both Mazza and Uhring asked and insisted the consultant should use real traffic counts rather than extrapolating from older studies. Parker answered, “Real counts.”
SMC is proposing demolishing the existing building and the construction of a new two-story, 27,500-square-foot educational facility including an approximately 5700-square-foot community sheriff’s substation and emergency operations and planning center, which would take over the first floor. The college classrooms would be located on the second floor.
There would be a net increase of 3618 square feet compared to the size of the old building, according to SMC officials.
Activist Patt Healy asked if there would be any impacts to the farmers market, which is conducted on Sunday.
At first, Parker said that is something the EIR would study.
However, Susan Nissman, Los Angeles County field officer to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, said the market is “a wonderful thing for the community and the lease is handled by the property management in the county’s CEO office. They are on a lease. They are aware of it.”
Girard then interjected, “The market is not up in the air. They will be there. We wouldn’t consider moving it.”
The school campus will include five classrooms and labs, a multi-purpose community room that will convert into an emergency operations center for local emergencies, a computer lab, administrative offices to accommodate up to 210 students (full-time equivalent) and 12 faculty and staff members during peak time periods, according to a project description prepared by the consultant.
Girard explained the size of the classrooms and substation were determined by the existing footprint of the old sheriff’s station’s footprint.
The money comes from Measure A approved by the voters in 2004 that set aside $25 million for the project.
Audience members were told no variances are needed, there would be minimum grading, the basement will not be replaced and that the building footprint “is almost exactly that of the demolished building.”
Other features of the school include an interpretive center to support Legacy Park “or other programs to highlight Malibu’s coastal  environment and cultural history.”
“We want to partner with someone on that,” said Girard.
The project plans to connect to the On-Site Wastewater Treatment System currently serving the Los Angeles County Civic Center complex, including the existing sheriff’s station building, on an interim basis subject to verification that the new development will not exceed the current wastewater flows of the capacity of the existing OWTS.
“The project proposes to connect to the City of Malibu’s planned wastewater treatment facility for the Civic Center Area when it becomes operational,” the EIR consultant noted.
Parker also indicated none of the information of the other EIRs will be available to them as they finish up. They expect completion of construction by 2015.
Anne Payne wanted to know what will happen to Malibu Towing. She was told that is something that would be studied.
She also wanted to know how the emeritus program would play out given the new school.
She was told it might play a big role, but until students sign up no one knows for sure just exactly how the community and students will use the campus.

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