North Campus Master Plan
The project that includes the Keck Graduate Institute is the North Campus Master Plan (NCMP), which has two components: (1) a new facility for the Keck Graduate Institute on 11 acres on the north side of Foothill Boulevard between College and Dartmouth Avenues (currently part of the Bernard Biological Field Station), and (2) new graduate housing between the Claremont School of Theology to the south, and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and the Claremont Golf Course to the north.
Project Approval Process -- CEQA
The process for project approval is determined by laws and policies of the City of Claremont and by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA dictates that if a project potentially has significant effects on the environment, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must be prepared. The EIR provides decision makers with information on environmental impacts and alternative sites.
Because the NCMP will have significant impacts on Claremont's environment, an EIR was prepared. The EIR found that the project would have significant long-term impacts on biological resources (habitat loss), aesthetic resources (loss of mountain views and natural vegetation). The construction will also cause short-term impacts on air quality and noise.
In order to approve a project with significant negative environmental impacts, the City must adopt a Statement of Overriding Consideration, which says that the benefits of the project outweigh the impacts. The City must then file a Notice of Determination with the state.
1Two other significant impacts in the Draft EIR were removed in the Final version. A significant negative impact on the City's character (loss of an iconic view) was removed by the Architechtural Commission, who felt that a new college would enhance Claremont's character. A significant negative impact on recreational facilities (added use of parks, etc., by residents of graduate student housing) was removed because the Colleges agreed to preserve the Claremont Golf Courses for 25 years.