The Santa Monica Community College District board of trustees gave college officials the go-ahead to proceed with a long-range master plan for the college Bundy Campus, located south of the Santa Monica Airport in Mar Vista.
Despite opposition from Los Angeles residents in Mar Vista and Santa Monica residents in Sunset Park, trustees voted unanimously Wednesday, July 6th, to keep the Bundy Campus project moving forward.
“This is just an interim benchmark,” said trustees board vice chair Nancy Greenstein.
“We are not approving a final master plan tonight.”
The Bundy Campus, at 3171 Bundy Drive in the City of Los Angeles, is a 10.4 acre site next to Mar Vista and Santa Monica Airport.
The campus — which would become the largest satellite campus of Santa Monica College ñ began the first full semester of classes this summer Tuesday, July 5th.
“I think buying a piece of property that is landlocked on three sides and putting a college campus there was an unfortunate mistake,” said Zina Josephs, president of the Friends of Sunset Park neighborhood association.
“You are compounding this mistake by moving forward with this master plan,” she said to the trustees board.
Josephs said that Sunset Park residents object to the campus because plans to add new parking spaces “would generate more than 10,000 car trips daily.”
Residents are also concerned that campus access to Airport Avenue in Santa Monica would have a negative impact on traffic flow in Sunset Park.
The City of Santa Monica has prohibited Bundy Campus access to Airport Avenue until requested information has been received.
Those pieces of information include traffic studies, a master plan and environmental studies.
Mar Vista residents hope Airport Avenue can be used because a prohibition means more traffic on Bundy Drive and traffic jams in Mar Vista.
Bundy Drive — adjacent to and north of the Bundy Campus — becomes Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles south of the Bundy Campus.
“Traffic from Santa Monica should go back to Santa Monica and traffic from Los Angeles should go back to Los Angeles in the best flow,” said Mar Vista resident George Komotani.
College officials agreed and are looking at three traffic circulation plans.
Two of those plans hinge on getting access to Airport Avenue.
“We have three scenarios of access and the nicest of the three is the first one,” said trustee Margaret Qui”ones.
The first scenario involves entering and exiting the Bundy Campus from both Airport Avenue and Bundy Drive.
“The most viable type of plan is to have shared access,” said college district interim president Tom Donner.
Donner said the Santa Monica City Council agreed to hear from college officials and take a vote on Airport Avenue access, possibly on Tuesday, July 26th.
“We are going ahead with classes in the fall,” said trustee Herb Roney.
“If we don’t have access, we have problems and the campus staff has problems.”
Last week, college officials heard presentations and approved recommendations from Bundy Campus consultants.
The consultants are architects WWCOT, traffic experts Kaku Associates and community outreach experts Urban Dimensions.
“The amount of traffic to be added by the Bundy Campus is not great compared to the rest of the traffic that is out there now,” said Tom Gaul, Kaku vice president.
Greg Brown, director of facilities and planning for the college district, said the Bundy Campus is using a remote parking lot and shuttle service to ease the traffic impacts.
“We have all of our students parking at the airport shuttle lot,” Brown said.
“There are only staff and disabled parking on the Bundy lot right now.”
Recommendations approved by the trustees include:
n authorizing staff to proceed with the Bundy Campus Master Plan as the process was presented last week;
n authorizing staff to negotiate with necessary parties for an ongoing monitoring program;
n putting a career opportunities center at the Bundy Campus or another designated site;
n bringing all future program development at the Bundy Campus to the board of trustees for approval;
n holding joint community meetings with Santa Monica and Mar Vista residents; and
n adding a suboption to the first traffic circulation scenario that states college officials prefer a right turn on Airport Avenue when vehicles exit the Bundy Campus.
“The vision that the architects presented tonight is one of enormous promise,” said trustee Susan Aminoff.
“We are excited to think about the ways in which the community can benefit from this campus.”
The Mar Vista Community Council — a certified Los Angeles Neighborhood Council — had wanted a deed restriction to prevent access to the Bundy Campus from Stewart Street.
Stewart Street is a small Mar Vista neighborhood street adjacent to the campus.
Currently, only emergency vehicles have access to the campus from Stewart Street.
“We don’t know what the future will bring, so we have to look at what a deed restriction will do,” Donner said.
“If the college were to sell the property, a deed restriction would clearly be a detriment to the sale of the property.
“The college does not support a deed restriction. The college supports board action that implies a self-imposed restriction,” Donner said.
The next steps in the long-range master plan for the Bundy Campus include workshops and community input.
After a final master plan has been approved, visioning sessions will start the process for an environmental impact report.
Bundy Campus documents can be found on the Web site at www.smc.edu/facilities_airport/ default.html