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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Coastal Panel OKs Pepperdine Expansion

•  Commission Staff Says Night Sky Views of Neighbors Matter

BY BILL KOENEKER


Pepperdine University’s proposed expansion plans contained in a Long Range Development Plan Amendment went before the California Coastal Commission last week in San Francisco.
The document contains language by the CCC staff  that was approved by the commission that will require university officials to “protect night sky views by requiring the replacement of outdated ‘globe’ style light standards throughout the campus with new lighting.”
In addition, the commission gave the nod for a modification “for establishing standards for new outdoor lighting, including the requirement that all new outdoor lighting, including athletics facility lighting, be designed and maintained to achieve the maximum feasible reduction of light pollution.”
Another modification sought by the commission staff and approved by the coastal panel addresses traffic, though, in a specific context.
The language reads, “Protect coastal access and recreation by requiring that high-attendance events hosted in the new university facilities are planned, scheduled and managed to prevent related traffic from congesting Pacific Coast Highway during times of peak travel by coastal visitors (Memorial Day through Labor Day, and state holidays during the remainder of the year).”
The City of Malibu had suggested specific traffic mitigation measures, but those were not adopted by the commission, nor considered in any detailed analysis by the commission staff.
The proposed amendment would allow for the construction of 394,137 net new square feet of structural development on the lower campus. Almost 300,000 square feet of assigned structural area would remain for future construction, according to a CCC staff report.
“The project is infill development designed and located to minimize impacts on coastal resources,” the staff report goes on to state.
The main components of the phased project within the developed 230-acre lower campus includes refurbished dormitory facilities, an athletics/events center with more than 5000 seats and NCAA-competition volleyball and basketball facilities, a NCAA-competition soccer field created by upgrading the existing outdoor field.
Other improvements include a town square visitors center with underground parking, a landscaped quad for campus community gatherings and intramural recreation area created by expanding a flat pad area and installing an intramural playing field with changing room/bathrooms.
 Additional parking will be created by converting the school of law parking lot into a tiered parking structure adding 433 parking spaces.
Last August 2012, the school submitted its application for an amendment to the certified Pepperdine University Long Range Development Plan. At its October 11, 2012 meeting the commission extended the time limit to act on this LRDP amendment for a period of one year.
The project proposes the construction of a large fill pad in a canyon on the northern end of the lower campus area, according to the commission staff report. The pad could include as much as 175,000 cubic yards of material.
In May 2011, the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission unanimously approved the expansion plans that authorizes 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 on an 830-acre site within a two-year, two phase development program, according to regional planning department documents.
The applicant and 12 persons testified in favor of the project and no one opposed the project or expressed concern regarding the request.
The so-called student housing rehabilitation consists of 150,692 net new square feet, 468 new beds, an athletics and events center with a maximum 5000 fixed seats and 470 temporary seats consisting of 235,845 net new square feet and two underground levels and five above ground levels of structure parking, a new 4000 new square foot town square and welcome center with two levels of underground parking, school of law parking structure with three levels above ground,
The approved plans also include a total of 2013 new parking spaces with the loss of 1217 spaces for a net increase of 796 spaces of onsite parking and up to a total of 5380 maximum spaces at project built out.
Project related earth movement is comprised of approximately 434,000 cubic yards, according to county planning officials.
An Environmental Impact Report indicated that after implementation of the required mitigation measures, the project would result in no significant and unavoidable impacts to the environment with the exception of special event traffic.

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