Sunday, August 23, 2015
#235 / Cool Schools
The Sierra Club does an annual review of "Cool Schools," nationwide. For the Sierra Club, as might be expected, a school is "cool" if that school is doing well on environmental practices. The latest list of "Cool Schools" has just been published. According to the Club, the list is based on a months-long analysis, undertaken in partnership with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the results are "thorough, accurate, and trusted."
The #1 "cool school," nationwide, is the University of California at Irvine. The #2 school is the University of California at Davis. The #7 school is the University of California at San Diego. The #10 school is the University of California at Berkeley. The #18 school is the University of California at Santa Barbara. The #42 school is the University of California at Los Angeles.
The #44 school is the University of California at Santa Cruz.
The current Long Range Development Plan for the University of California at Santa Cruz proposes converting something like 374 acres of what was once a "Natural Reserve" into roads, parking lots, apartments, and academic buildings, cutting down lots of trees to accomplish the project. Over 3,000,000 square feet of new buildings are contemplated in this former "Natural Reserve" area.
The area that the University proposes for all this development is outside the limits indicated for future development in both the City and the County General Plans, and is outside the City's Water Service Area, besides. In connection with this proposed development, therefore, the University has had to ask the Santa Cruz County Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, to permit the City of Santa Cruz to extend water service into this former "Natural Reserve" area, and to provide the new development area with 152 million gallons of water each year. We are in a monumental drought, but that didn't stop the University from asking.
The environmental review undertaken by the University (and by the City) in connection with the University's request to have the City extend water service was challenged by a local environmental group, and the University and City environmental review document was found to be out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. So far, the University has not tried to update and recirculate its flawed EIR.
The University hasn't withdrawn its application for those 152 million gallons of water, though. That's still pending!
Not so cool!