The AC Meeting:
If you weren't able to attend the Architectural Commission meeting on April 28, it went very well indeed! The AC directed the City staff to collect more information in a number of areas, including the plant and animal surveys, hazardous waste disposal and seismic concerns, as well as on the actual cost of using the quarry. They also asked CUC to prepare a list of the benefits the project would provide the City. The city attorney and the city staff made it quite clear that the City has the legal right to require that the project be located in the quarry and that the colleges are subject to the same land use and environmental regulations as any other private property owner in Claremont.
Letters & articles abound!
The Courier has been full of articles about the North Campus Master Plan: the vernal pool that somehow was missed, the Fish and Game recommendation that the loss of coastal sage scrub be mitigated at a ratio of 3:1, the Tongva oral history that says an important village once stood on the proposed building site. And letters about the importance of this land to Claremont's sense of place and character, about the opposition of students and faculty to building on the BFS, about the fact that once the land and view are gone, they cannot be replaced.
What arethe next steps?
The City staff will spend the next 6-8 weeks collecting information and revising the draft environmental impact report (DEIR), as well as preparing responses to all the comments about the DEIR that were sent to city hall or mentioned at the commission meetings. The final EIR should be ready at the end of June or beginning of July. The public will have 10 days to examine it and make comments. Then the Architectural Commission will decide if the document is an accurate analysis of the environmental impacts and if the mitigation measures it contains are adequate. If they decide it is, they will certify it.
After the EIR is certified, the colleges will revise the North Campus Master Plan to conform with the mitigation measures in the EIR. Then, sometime later, probably in late fall, the AC will consider whether or not to approve the project as proposed. Since the EIR states that the quarry is the environmentally superior alternative and that it meets all of the project's objectives, in order to approve the project the AC must produce a Statement of Overriding Consideration. This would say that benefits to the community outweigh the project's significant unavoidable adverse impacts.
The City Council can override the decision about the EIR or about where the project should be located by a simple majority vote if it believes information was overlooked or that the decision does not reflect community values. After this, either side may begin legal action or ask for a referendum.
If, after the EIR is certified, the AC believes there is little chance of their approving the project, they will tell CUC that right away. It will then be up to CUC to redesign the master plan and locate the KGI elsewhere, to abandon the project, or to submit a modified form of the present proposal anyway and hope the AC changes its opinion. So, it's important to talk to the AC between now and the end of June.
What can the Friends do to help?
Lobby!The most important activity is to let the Architectural Commission and City Council members know just what our community values. The more people who talk to them about moving the KGI to the quarry, the better. Ask people to phone the Architectural Commission and City Council members or write to them at City Hall, P.O. Box 880, Claremont, CA, 91711-0880.