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Community shares ideas, concerns on long-range campus plans

– More than 125 Berkeley residents came together Monday night (Sept. 22) to share their thoughts, concerns and suggestions on the long-range growth and development of the University of California, Berkeley.

Earlier this month, university officials invited the public to participate in the meeting and comment on the scope of issues to be addressed in a new Long Range Development Plan and Environmental Impact Report. Comments also were solicited regarding the proposed Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies, which is planned for the center of campus.

The new Long Range Development Plan, which is in its very early stages, will help guide the look, feel and academic direction of the campus from 2005 to 2020.

The community members covered a wide variety of topics and concerns, ranging from preservation of creeks and watershed areas on campus to the need for more "big trees" around new campus developments to thoughts on architecture and design. But the night's common themes included the following:

  • Requests for fewer additional parking spaces and stepped-up efforts to increase transit use.
  • Concerns about campus growth in general and its effect on neighborhoods and overall quality of life.
  • Requests for more student housing close to campus.
  • Calls for preservation of open space and natural resources.
  • Concerns about the fiscal impact of campus growth on city services.
  • Appeals for campus leaders to work more closely with the city and community residents to find solutions.
Meeting participants included several representatives of neighborhood
organizations, a few student leaders, individual citizens, and representatives of the Berkeley City Council and city staff.

UC Berkeley officials came to the meeting simply to listen to community concerns and suggestions. These in attendance included Associate Chancellor John Cummins; Bill Webster, vice provost for academic planning and facilities; Tom Lollini, assistant vice chancellor for physical and environmental planning; the two lead managers of the new Long Range Development Plan project, Kerry O'Banion and Jennifer Lawrence; and Community Relations Director Irene Hegarty, who also facilitated the meeting.

A court reporter recorded all comments and questions posed at the meeting. Campus staff will review the comments further and consider them as they prepare the draft plan and environmental analysis. The draft plans are scheduled to be completed and available for public review in Spring 2004.