LRDP Frequently Asked Questions

HISTORICAL DOCUMENT (last update in 2007-08)

Frequently Asked Questions about UCSC's LRDP and related issues


1. Why is the university planning to grow?

  • UCSC needs to grow in order to accommodate student demand and perform its mission as a comprehensive research university.

    • California's population of UC-eligible high school graduates (top 12.5 percent) continues to grow, including the number of students who are first-in-family to attend a university.

    • With the other UC campuses, UCSC must prepare to meet this growing demand and ensure access to transfer students from the state's community colleges.

    • UCSC already has reached the threshold where it cannot accommodate all UC-eligible students who apply for admission and, thus, has had to turn away UC-eligible students.

  • UCSC also will grow as it continues to serve society by providing graduate and professional degrees important to the state and through research and public service.

    • Graduate students at UCSC work with faculty who are world leaders in their fields and who perform at an unparalleled level of excellence in teaching and research.

    • These students are preparing for their career through involvement in exciting and groundbreaking research in a vibrant community setting.
    • UCSC research addresses critical needs and helps power the economy.

    • California and the nation need the innovation that comes from the discoveries and new knowledge generated by our research.

    • The faculty-led Strategic Futures Committee initially determined that an enrollment of 25,000 would be justified to achieve the critical mass that would enable all programs in every division to rank in the top 25 percent of public research universities.

    • The faculty committee recommended for LRDP planning purposes an enrollment target through 2020 of 21,000 after considering community concerns and the ability of the campus to grow at a sustainable rate.

2. What is the amount of growth projected in the 2005 LRDP?

  • The 2005 LRDP responds to community comments and reduces potential enrollment from 21,000 to 19,500 -- a 25 percent reduction from the number of additional students the campus proposed beyond the 15,000 envelope in the 1988 LRDP.

3. How much new building space is included in the Final LRDP?

  • It is estimated the campus will need to add about 3.2 million gross square feet (gsf) to accommodate existing space needs for current enrollment, research, as well as program needs and anticipated program and enrollment growth through 2020.

  • That includes a reduction of nearly 900,000 gsf compared to the Draft LRDP because of the reduced enrollment envelope.

  • 65 percent of new construction is proposed to be in existing developed areas.

4. Why were there only 13 days between the release of the Final EIR and the Board of Regents meeting at which it was considered?
  • The campus released the Final EIR as soon as it was completed. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires UC, as the lead agency, to provide responses to comments received by public agencies at least 10 days in advance of the Regents meeting at which the Final EIR would be considered for approval. UC more than satisfied this requirement.

  • A minimum 45-day public review period is required under CEQA for the Draft LRDP EIR. UC provided an 86-day comment period on the Draft EIR. The re-circulated traffic analysis received an additional 45-day comment period.

  • The public review period for the Draft LRDP/EIR resulted in 137 letters, which included about 1,500 comments. The final EIR addresses all comments received during the circulation of the draft EIR.

  • Through the review of comments and concerns, the campus further modified and strengthened on- and off-campus actions proposed to mitigate and alleviate impacts.

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1. What about traffic?

  • According to the City's Master Transportation Study, which used a 2000 baseline, more than 92 percent of afternoon peak-hour traffic within the City of Santa Cruz was from sources other than UCSC.  Only 7.4 percent of peak-hour traffic is associated with UCSC, according to the study.

  • The campus, however, recognizes the problem of peak-hour traffic on Bay and High Streets as well as neighborhood concerns about campus-related traffic and parking throughout the day. The campus is committed to work with city and regional transportation officials to find creative improvements.

  • UCSC supports an Eastern Access route to campus, which has been asked for by many of UCSC’s neighbors. Also, in a poll conducted by the city this summer, 53 percent of respondents said they favor the development of a third entrance to campus. City and County officials have repeatedly asserted they won’t support one.

  • UCSC is a primary contributor to the public bus system, paying $2 million a year in rider fees to the SC Metropolitan Transit District (SCMTD).

    • UCSC has worked with the SCMTD to improve bus service, adding the Westside 20 route and fully funding late-night Night Owl service.

    • UCSC is continuing to work with the SCMTD to support additional services to alleviate single-occupant trips to campus.

  • At least 50 percent of all "person trips" to campus now are made via alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.

  • The LRDP proposes to expand the use of alternative transportation beyond 55 percent.

2. What is the university's position on investing in alternative transportation systems as well as planning to fix intersections?

  • The university, in collaboration with the City and SCMTD, believes there are opportunities to alleviate traffic impacts with aggressive Transportation Demand Management measures that provide alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.

  • In addition, UCSC will pay its share of intersection improvements as the City or County initiate such improvements, including projects intended to anticipate and prepare in advance for growth.

  • UCSC also is interested in partnering with the city on a range of activities to alleviate traffic, including locating off-campus housing near transit, innovative alternative modes, "hard" improvements to intersections, bike-route improvements, education, and promotion of alternate transportation options.

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1. How will the university’s growth impact the city’s water supply?

  • UCSC pays for all of the water it uses and for its share of related infrastructure improvements.

  • In addition, the City has contractually agreed to provide up to 2 million gallons/day to the entire campus, well above the campus current estimated usage. In 2003, UCSC's actual water usage was approximately one-quarter of that contractual guarantee.

  • UCSC's water use represents only about 5 percent of the total demand from the Santa Cruz Water Department, according to the City’s 2005 Urban Water Management Plan.

    • In 2003, Santa Cruz used 3.9 billion gallons.

    • UCSC used about 206 million gallons in the same year.

  • Moreover, UCSC has proactively worked to conserve water and minimize usage. Its aggressive conservation efforts have cut per capita water usage by 36 percent since 1986.

  • UCSC used only 19 percent more water in 2003 than it did in 1986-87.

 2. Will UCSC help pay for a desalination plant?

  • UCSC is collaborating with the City on a temporary pilot desalination facility by allowing the project to be located at UCSC's Marine Science Campus, thus providing access to the existing seawater system. Through UCSC's participation, the city's costs and permitting requirements have been significantly reduced.

  • In normal rainfall years, the City has an adequate water supply to serve its customers.

  • However, the City is considering a desalination plant for use during drought years.

    • Campus water use peaks when classes are in session – not in the summer, but generally during the rainy season when the water district draws from the San Lorenzo River and North Coast streams.

    • If the City builds a full-scale desalination plant, the campus will pay its proportional share of the cost.

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1. What is the university doing to provide on-campus housing?

  • Historically within the UC system, UCSC has housed the highest percentage of its undergraduate students -- nearly half -- in university-sponsored housing.

  • UCSC has added 2,150 beds spaces since 1988 and continues to provide additional housing for faculty and staff.

  • Student demand for on-campus housing reflects the overall housing market. The majority of students are adults and many choose to live independently in the community.

  • Rental vacancy rates in the City of Santa Cruz are actually up, and rents have softened.

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1. Does the university pay its share for the impacts of growth that serve the campus?

  • The university has a legal obligation to pay its fair share of off-campus infrastructure projects.

  • In all cases, UCSC must rely on the City or County to initiate action for off-campus projects that are not in UCSC’s jurisdiction, such as fixing an intersection. The campus has paid — and will continue to pay — its share.

  • Of 38 on-campus mitigations promised in 1988 for its past Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP), 33 are fully implemented and five are in progress or partially implemented.

  • In an amount totaling more than $1.4 million in University Assistance Measures, identified in the campus's 1988 LRDP, UCSC paid the City of Santa Cruz for water-system upgrades serving the campus, reimbursed the full cost of traffic signals at Mission and Chestnut and Mission and Bay, paid for a share of the costs for Mission Street widening, and paid for other local roadway and intersection improvements.

  • In all, of the 19 University Assistance Measures identified in the last LRDP EIR to mitigate off-campus impacts -- a first by a UC campus -- eight have been completed with the financial support of UCSC, eight await initiation by the City or County, 2 are in process and unresolved, and 1 is not yet warranted. These are off-campus improvements that are outside of the University's jurisdiction.

  • The campus, as a customer of City water services, pays the established rate for water delivered to the campus.

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1. Why isn't the university required to adhere to local legislation?

  • The university is a constitutionally created state entity and is required to follow state law, including CEQA.

  • While not subject to the regulatory jurisdiction of the City, UCSC works very closely with City and County planners and staff.

  • In fact, the initial planning of UCSC's 2005 LRDP was timed to coincide with the City's updating of its General Plan. (The City delayed its planning process after UCSC's LRDP planning was well under way.)

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1. Won't campus expansion destroy sensitive natural habitat? Deer and other wildlife will be affected by a north campus expansion.

  • The campus always has and continues to respect the natural environment and preserve open space to the extent possible.

  • The 2005 LRDP includes 1,095 acres of open space – 238 more acres than the 1988 LRDP.

  • The proposed land use also protects routes wildlife use to travel through campus between parkland and other preserves.

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1. By buying the old Texas Instruments building and the Holiday Inn, UCSC removed essential property taxes from the local tax base.

  • The University Inn has not been removed from the tax base because it is not used exclusively for University purposes. The fully assessed tax on this property is paid annually.
  • In addition to property taxes, UCSC paid $291,946 in Transient Occupancy Taxes from the University Inn and Conference Center in 2003-2005.

  • The Texas Instruments (TI) building at 2300 Delaware was vacant for three years and had experienced several failed development deals, before UCSC and TI came to an agreement.

  • TI’s local property tax payments had been declining during this period as the company’s equipment was sold or removed.

  • UCSC contributes significantly to the local tax base as the county's largest and most stable employer.

    • Between 2001 and 2005, Santa Cruz County showed a net loss of 6,300 non-farm jobs.

    • In the same period, UCSC added 355 full-time-equivalent jobs.

  • UCSC pays sales taxes on millions of dollars of local purchases and is among the top 10 producers of sales tax revenues for the city.
  • The wages and salaries of its 4,600 local employees are taxed, as are their purchases of houses, cars, and day-to-day expenses.
  • UCSC faculty, staff, and students who live in rental units indirectly pay the property taxes of their landlords.

  • All in all, UCSC’s purchases and the expenditures of its employees, students, and visitors contribute $960 million to the local economy each year.

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