Mt. SAC’s GROWTH
Mt SAC has mushroomed into the biggest community college in the nation. Currently, it has 65,000 students (per the Mt. SAC 2012 Master plan). Based on their own projected growth to 80,000, by 2025, air pollution and traffic congestion will increase by at least 27%!
This growth is entirely within the rural, residential community of the City of Walnut with only 30,000 residents!
By comparison the average community college in the State of California has 15,000 students. Citrus College has less than 15,000 students enrolled.
The City of Walnut has had to carry the brunt of Mt. SAC’s growth resulting in excessive traffic, pollution, noise, and increase in crime over the last decade.
Mt. SAC’s growth is no longer sustainable unless the residents of Walnut agree to further sacrifice their quality of life for future years of more traffic congestion, air pollution and higher crime.
SOLAR POWER GENERATING PLANT
“The 2.4 Megawatt plant will utilize stationary photovoltaic cells set at a 10 degree angle, located on an 11 acre parcel west of Grand Ave (at Temple). Site development includes environmental mitigation, slope stabilization, landscape, fencing, a reclaimed water irrigation system, and a 1400 foot duct bank to bring power from the plant to the campus main point of entry.” (Mt. SAC special meeting of the Board of trustees dated February 7, 2015).
Initial and current planning and environmental review is being done without involvement of local residents and city officials despite the proposed Retail – Solar uses being less than 75 feet away from a housing neighborhood.
This will have an immediate negative impact on the adjoining Willows community that is within yards of this project. Further, to create a 9.9 acre building pad, some 70 feet above street level, there is grossly insufficient earth fill on site to build it. According to the preliminary grading plan, 261,000 cubic yards of imported earth material will be required. This massive import of earth fill at one of the busiest intersections in Walnut, requiring dangerous earth movers at street crossings or on-road dump trucks, may exceed City street weight limits.
Additionally, development of this parcel would also unnecessarily disrupt the visual continuity of naturally vegetated hillsides that continue from Amar Road south along Grand Avenue.
The parcel is zoned by the city of Walnut as Residential Planned Development which would likely render Mt. SAC’s Retail and Solar development inconsistent with City zoning.
The project is funded partially ($1,900,000) by measure RR although there was no mention of such in the Bond measure approved by taxpayers in 2008.
ATHLETIC COMPLEX EAST (STADIUM)
There are plans to demolish the current stadium and build a new stadium 2 1/2 times the original size to house a minimum 11,000 seats expandable to 20,000 seats!
This is contrary to disclosures in the Mt. SAC Master Plans, which indicated the work to be performed included deferred maintenance on eastern bleachers, new bleachers, restroom renovation, a press box and a new field house. However, a recent construction contract for the Athletic Education Building now appears to be performing site grading for this building in such a way to prematurely provide parking and support facilities for a totally new stadium complex not previously disclosed in any environmental documents!
Mt. SAC has already shaved the 80-foot hill north of the stadium containing California Walnut Woodlands groves! There will be earthen banks up 30 feet high over undisturbed fields, which will block views of Snow Creek residents who reside no more than 50 feet away. Further, there are significant aesthetic impacts associated with the removal of the 80-foot hill and its walnut groves immediately north of the stadium, which is substantially inconsistent with the City of Walnut’s scenic route designation of Temple Avenue.
United Walnut’s investigations now reveal that collective recent grading activities connect with massive earth moving operations to export a large volume of soil for relocating the Fire Training Academy, and ultimately to provide space for parking and support facilities for a fully new and expanded (not renovated) stadium, not previously disclosed in any environmental documents.
Per Gary Nellesen Facilities Director at the Mt. SAC oversight committee meeting dated November 6, 2014, in addition to hosting Olympic trials, the stadium will be designed to hold concerts to generate funds for Mt. SAC!
A stadium of this size and for the dual purpose of sports and concerts could have severe impact on streets, traffic, noise and potential criminal activity! The stadium project is funded by measure RR in the amount of $64 million, even though there was no mention of a massive new stadium project in the Bond approved by taxpayers in 2008.
FIRE TRAINING ACADEMY
The new location of the Fire Training Academy site south of the current athletic fields extends to Grand Avenue. In this case, the academy would be within a few hundred feet of residences in the Snow Creek area; however Mt. SAC did not contact nearby residents to advise them of the proposed relocation of this facility.
The Fire Training Academy operations involve:
• Fire related exercises within a proposed training tower at temperatures from 1,200 degrees to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit
• Transport of hazardous materials generated on site to offsite disposal areas
• Operations resulting in visible fire and smoke
• Spread of odors and solid and liquid droplets to offsite areas
The facility will be constructed to meet local, state and federal standards, but the fact remains that this conflicts with the close by urban environment.
The fire training tower, which is the focus of many training activities, will be 40 feet tall, 22 feet wide, and 73 feet long, and will have an imposing presence on the surrounding community, especially during fire training.
The grading of the Fire Training Academy site involved excavating and transporting around 263,000 cubic yards of earth fill from the hill immediately north of the Hilmer Lodge Stadium to the proposed Fire Training Academy site.
The site is about 40 feet high and as close as 50 feet to residences, and was prepared without any contact with the community, and without any evidence that biological evaluations and permits have been completed and documented. Funding for this project is from measure RR in the amount of $6,185,999.
This massive concrete structure would rise over 40 feet in elevation next to the Timberline community, and eliminate the buffer with Mt. SAC, which exists today in the form of the current surface parking lots.
By placing two stories of the parking structure below ground as is being proposed, the college has created a security and public safety issue for both students and the surrounding community that hasn’t existed before. Underground parking cannot be patrolled with the same degree of visual clarity as the open-space, surface parking area that exists today.
The campus area is zoned Residential Planned Development, which apparently does not allow parking garage structures unless specific City application is made and permit conditions can be met. This non-classroom facility is within 125 feet of residential communities.
According to Appendix B in the Mt. SAC 2008 Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR), for the campus-wide Facilities Master Plan, the suggested possible parking structure needs around 900 spaces to meet the very highest parking demand that occurs a few weeks a year at the beginning of the semesters when students enroll, or attempt to obtain classes or drop/change classes.
The peak demand drops off quickly, and the college should consider simply absorbing this short-term peak rather than basing parking needs on circumstances that occur only a few weeks a year. These extreme parking peaks can be contrasted with significantly underutilized parking lots 3 to 4 months a year during vacations and periods of limited enrollment, and lower needs on Fridays resulting apparently from limited class schedules.
The huge difference between peak demand and underutilized parking justifies aggressive study of practical alternatives.
Facilities Master Plan planning and environmental review documents all recommend exploring the use of Cal Poly Pomona parking facilities through the use of a joint campus shuttle service. The documents estimated a 5% reduction in parking needs (around 500 spaces) if students have access to offsite parking facilities, or are involved in online classes or attend classes at offsite locations during the busiest part of the day.
The 2013 Subsequent Program EIR for the campus-wide Facilities Master Plan notes that the space for the future Athletic Education Building could be used for 1,000 student parking spaces immediately, and possibly about 500 spaces in the long-term.
Funding $57,988,259 for the Parking Structure is from measure RR. There was no mention of a Parking Structure in the Bond that was passed in 2008.
Mt. SAC has started the construction of state of the art Food Court located center of campus to keep students on campus all day. They have contracted with the French vendor Sodexo to provide “gourmet food”.
This project will have a significant impact on Walnut small businesses surrounding the campus that currently serve the student population.
Funding for this $14,775,401 project is also from measure RR and was not mentioned in the Bond that was passed in 2008.