Dear CLUE Supporters,

We apologize for not getting a message out to our email list sooner, but have all been busy and exhausted by the mediation process with UCSC.

As you no doubt have heard from the recent press, a settlement has been reached with UCSC over all of the existing lawsuits with the City and County of Santa Cruz, CLUE, the Rural Bonny Doon Association, and eleven individual litigants.

While significant progress was made, this settlement falls far short of our objective of limiting the negative impacts of UCSC growth on our community.  UCSC is still allowed to grow to 19,500 students and we did not gain any concession to limit growth of any future growth plan.  But we did get some significant concessions and given the legal realities and the vast financial resources of the UC Regents, we feel we negotiated the best deal we could for the community under difficult conditions.

CLUE maintained that a reasonable settlement should have included no new vehicle trips to the main campus, just as Stanford University agreed to after a prolonged and bitter fight over their recent growth plans.  However, the City believes—astonishingly to us—that with “intersection improvements” key intersections on the Westside can accommodate another 20,000 vehicle trips per day.  This is about a 40% increase in traffic above today’s level, yet Mission Street is already the most traveled roadway (excluding freeways) in the entire County.  Though UCSC will pay for a portion of these “improvements”, all of us will endure increased noise, congestion, safety issues, and air pollutants. New traffic on the Westside from all UCSC growth — including the main campus, the Marine Sciences Campus, and 2300 Delaware Avenue — will add about 9,500 new vehicle trips, a 37% increase in UCSC-generated traffic.  When coupled with the approved project at 2120 Delaware, the Safeway expansion, and the New Leaf project, much of the 20,000 new trips the City believes is possible will be accounted for and other new traffic-producing development will not be possible.

While UCSC has promised to house a higher percentage of new students on-campus than it has in the past, in the best case, an additional 1500 students will seek housing off-campus. This will bring the total number of students housed on-campus to 52%, a far cry from the 70% it promised in 1988.

Unfortunately, the settlement did not resolve many significant environmental issues.  Increased traffic, along with the logging and urbanizing of over 120 acres of forest, will effectively preclude the possibility of Santa Cruz reducing its carbon footprint to 1990 levels as required by State law AB32.  There will also be increased pressure to augment water supply with expensive and fossil fuel hungry desalination.  UCSC growth will violate the Air Quality Management Plan of Monterey Bay.  UCSC also declined to develop a campus-wide Habitat Conservation Plan as recommended by U.S. Fish & Wildlife for rare and endangered species.

About two thirds of the UCSC growth and logging is slated for the undeveloped upper campus, beloved by hikers, runners, and cyclists.  UCSC agreed to seek approval from LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) to have City water and sewer services extended to the upper campus.  This is in keeping with Measure J, which City voters approved with an 80% vote. Though the City and County agreed not to oppose UCSC’s LAFCO application, CLUE made no such concession.

CLUE will fully participate in the public LAFCO process to ensure that all relevant environmental issues in any UCSC development application are considered and hope that you and all concerned citizens will also do so.

Thank you for your past support, and we hope that you will continue to support us as we seek to limit negative impacts and restrain unreasonable UCSC growth.

Best regards,

Don Stevens
(on behalf of the CLUE Executive Committee)

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