The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Envision 2035 planners draft environmental report

As part of CSUN’s Envision 2035 campus planning project, the project’s developers are drafting an Environmental Impact Report that will address various environmental issues associated with the plan.

CSUN recently previewed for members of the community the final version of the Envision 2035 Campus Master Plan, and held a public scoping meeting to hear comments about environmental issues that will be addressed in the draft of the EIR, which is now being written as part of the Master Plan.

The draft of the EIR is being prepared by Anne Doehne, principal at Impact Sciences, the company hired by the university to map out the environmental aspects of the Master Plan, and will be released in Fall 2005 to the public and to county officials and state agencies for a 45-day review period before moving on to the next step of approval.

Once the review period is complete, Doehne will respond to any comments or suggestions made, and will begin drafting a final document to be published. The Master Plan will then become a legal document and can begin to become actualized.

Planned campus development projects and concerns about how Envision 2035 will affect campus aesthetics, air quality, noise, housing and traffic will be discussed in the draft of the EIR.

Colin Donahue, director of Facilities Planning, said he expects the campus changes to happen gradually.

“Over the next 30 years, we’re anticipating 1.15 million square feet of academic and administrative space on campus to accommodate 10,000 more students,” Donahue said.

According to the Master Plan, up to 600 new housing units will be built on North Campus to accommodate faculty and staff. The units will be located on Lassen Street between Lindley Avenue and Zelzah Avenue, replacing parking Lot T.

“There is currently a lot of (traffic) congestion on the west side of CSUN,” Donahue said. By creating large parking structures along Zelzah Avenue, “we’re going to try to balance the traffic on the east and west side of campus,” he said.

According to Donahue, baseline traffic counts and studies were conducted to measure the flow of traffic around the campus.

Richard Thompson is the director of Urban Design and Planning at A.C. Martin Partners, the company hired by the university to create the Envision 2035 proposal.

“Over the course of the next 30 years, the university is (going) to do a couple of things to encourage more public transit (use),” he said.

The EIR will address a plan for a bus transit stop near University Hall that would bring buses into campus, Thompson said.

A new bus stop will be constructed on Nordhoff Street adjacent to the university within six months, and buses will run east and west along Nordhoff Street, stopping at Lindley Avenue and every mile thereafter, according to Thompson.

Thompson said he encourages students to create carpools and find housing on campus to reduce the flow of traffic and the environmental concerns that are a result of it.

According to Donahue, air quality concerns that result from Envision 2035 are addressed in the draft EIR.

“Watering the construction sites is a huge issue” in order to reduce flying debris in the area, Donahue said.

One of the original landmarks that will remain on campus is the Orange Grove, located at Lindley Avenue and Nordhoff Street.

“The Orange Grove was a key issue all (throughout) the forums and in the Master Plan,” Donahue said. “It is a treasure to the campus that will be maintained.”

Plans for the Orange Grove include an “art walk” that will extend from Santa Susana Hall, formerly the Faculty Office Building, through the grove to the new Valley Performing Arts Center and toward the west end of campus, Thompson said.

Rebecca Stock, senior child development major, won an essay contest hosted by the Daily Sundial in 1993 when she was 10-years-old.

At that time, the Orange Grove was scheduled to be destroyed and replaced by a parking lot. Her essay asked that the destruction be stopped.

“I didn’t want the Orange Grove to disappear, because it was a landmark for my mom when she was in college, and I wanted it to be a part of my experience, too,” Stock said.

In addition to other vegetation on the CSUN campus, London Plain trees will be come the signature focal point in a new campus perimeter.

“They are very large trees that give off shade and do well in the climate,” Donahue said. “(This perimeter) has a lot to do with the character of the campus.”

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