The Santa Monica Community College District board of trustees approved hiring a list of consultants to prepare a master plan, environmental studies and public outreach for the college district’s Bundy Campus Monday, January 10th.
The master plan for campus construction and the environmental impact report (EIR) are designed to help the college district address traffic concerns by the Cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, Mar Vista Community Council and other neighborhood groups.
“We met with 16 different neighborhood groups,” said Greg Brown, college district director of facilities planning.
“The master plan has come up in these meetings as one of the things that the neighbors are most concerned with,” Brown said.
WWCOT, a Santa Monica planning and architecture firm, has been hired to prepare the architectural master plan.
Christopher A. Joseph & Associates will serve as a master plan environmental consultant and prepare an EIR if necessary.
Kaku Associates will conduct a full traffic study and Urban Dimensions will handle community outreach.
Collectively, the college district will spend an amount not to exceed $362,000 on the consultants.
Funding will come from Measure U, a $160 million bond measure approved by Santa Monica and Malibu voters in 2002.
“We are keeping people who are familiar with the way the college district operates,” said Tom Donner, college district interim president.
“The architects provide the lead services on this,” Donner said. “The rest of the consultants are the same team we used for the Madison Campus theater project.”
TRAFFIC TALK — The campus is at 3171 Bundy Drive in the Mar Vista community of Los Angeles.
Entrances and exits to and from the campus could also be made from Santa Monica streets because the site is located at the southeasterly corner of Santa Monica Airport, which is in Santa Monica.
Since potential traffic conditions could affect Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Airport Commission voted last year to prohibit Bundy Campus access from airport property.
The commission forwarded recommendations to the Santa Monica City Council that the college district be denied use of Airport Avenue and the Donald Douglas Loop until more information is received.
“The Bundy Campus project as it is now presented represents a major change of use for the site,” said Santa Monica airport manager Robert Trimborn, in a staff report to the Santa Monica Airport Commission.
“And there is already the need for new construction associated with the project as it is evolving,” Trimborn said.
The airport commission wants the college district to present to the city a Bundy Campus master plan, EIR and reports that show California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) regulations have been met.
The airport commission may change its recommendations after all requested information has been reviewed.
The college district has so far completed a Bundy Campus initial study, which includes an environmental and traffic mitigated negative declaration, and a site access and circulation plan.
Officials from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation took issue with the negative declaration because the report proposes the placement of a traffic signal on Bundy Drive.
Los Angeles transportation officials advise against an additional traffic signal because the signal would be too close to an existing signal on Airport Avenue.
A signal on Bundy Drive and another signal on Airport Avenue would disrupt traffic flow in Mar Vista, the Los Angeles officials said.
The Mar Vista Community Council — a certified Neighborhood Council — supports the Los Angeles transportation officials’ advice and also claimed the negative declaration is inadequate.
“The traffic that was mitigated in the negative declaration was for construction on the West Building, not the traffic for the students and administrators that are going to be in there,” said Bill Scheding, Mar Vista Community Council vice chair.
BUNDY CAMPUS — Trimborn and Scheding shared the same concern that traffic was not properly mitigated because the college district presented plans only for construction and renovation, not for long-term use.
The college district bought the ten-acre site from defense contractor BAE Systems in 2001 for $30 million.
Current work on the site involves a major renovation of the four-story West Building, which is scheduled to open for summer classes in June.
The college district has already spent more than $1 million for aesthetic improvements and to shield adjacent residents from noise.
Completed work includes underground utilities, a landscaped sound wall, a new driveway from Bundy Drive and demolition of a manufacturing building.
At a Mar Vista Community Council meeting Tuesday, January 11th, Brown said all issues that Mar Vista residents have will be addressed in the master plan.
Brown also said the EIR would follow completion of the master plan.
The EIR will include a recommendation from the college district that access to the Bundy Campus from Stewart Avenue would be closed.
Stewart Avenue is on the rear or westerly side of Bundy Campus.
“The local residents are concerned about Stewart Avenue,” Scheding said. “We all agree that Stewart should just be written off.”
Brown said some issues are beyond the college’s control and can only be addressed by the City of Los Angeles, such as prohibiting street parking in Mar Vista neighborhoods closest to the campus.
Public hearings in Los Angeles and Santa Monica will be held when a draft master plan and draft EIR are completed.
“This action demonstrates our commitment to being good neighbors,” said Carole Currey, college district board of trustees chair.
“We plan to open and operate a satellite campus that not only will offer crucial nursing and teacher training and other programs, but will also be an excellent community resource for Mar Vista and Santa Monica residents,” Currey said.
The college district also plans to move its Continuing and Community Education program, which offers career development and other classes, to the Bundy Campus.
General education classes will also be offered at the campus.