The Board of Regents of the University of California today voted to adopt UC Santa Barbara’s Long Range Development Plan, a comprehensive land-use document that will guide campus planning and development through the year 2025.
Meeting in San Francisco, the governing board of the UC system acted on the unanimous recommendations of its Grounds and Buildings Committee and its Finance Committee to approve the plan and its mitigation and cooperation agreements, and to certify its Environmental Impact Report. Earlier, both the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and the Goleta City Council voted unanimously to support the campus plan.
Because the UCSB campus is located in the coastal zone, the LRDP now goes to the California Coastal Commission for review and approval.
“We are extremely grateful to all who have participated in this process, which has helped make our plan stronger and in harmony with our neighbors and the environment,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “We appreciate the support, approval, and thoughtful review by the UC Regents, whose wise counsel has helped us immeasurably throughout this process. As we look ahead to working with the California Coastal Commission, we will again work closely with the community so that the process is both a transparent and a collaborative one.
“I am also thankful to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and the Goleta City Council, which each voted unanimously to approve our LRDP agreements,” Yang added, “and I am grateful for the contributions of the MTD, the Goleta Water District and Sanitary District, SUN (Sustainable University Now), and all of our other community partners. We have been meeting and working with these groups for months. We have solicited, welcomed, and benefited from their input. Most of all, I would like to sincerely thank our campus community – our faculty, staff, and students, as well as our administrative colleagues – for the tremendous team effort over many months and years to make this the best possible plan to fulfill our shared vision for the exciting future of UC Santa Barbara.”
All UC campuses are required to have a new long-range plan every 15 years or so. The UCSB plan, called Vision 2025, has been in development for several years and is the product of a process that included the preparation of a strategic academic plan and a sustainability plan. In addition, UCSB hired Urban Design Associates to help develop a housing plan and campus physical plan, for which the firm received the Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism.
Throughout the process of drafting the LRDP, campus administrators as well as faculty, staff, and student representatives met with community groups, civic leaders, and elected officials – and UCSB faculty, staff, and students – to ensure that the final plan would address community concerns while meeting campus needs. More than 60 community presentations were made.
The Long Range Development Plan is considered an essential planning tool that makes it possible for UCSB to carry out its mission of teaching, research, and public service. The LRDP is not so much a master plan for growth as it is a blueprint for the future development of the campus. It attempts to describe the possible building projects over a planning period, and how these projects relate to the use of existing campus land.
Implementation of the campus plan will result in an additional 1.8 million square feet of assignable space (for classrooms, laboratories, offices etc.), while creating an orderly arrangement of buildings and open spaces, expanding the views of mountains, lagoon, and ocean. The Tower Mall and Storke Plaza, Pardall Mall, Campus Green and Quad, and Library Mall will serve as major public gathering places. Providing a variety of such campus “civic spaces” is one of the goals of the plan.
While the plan proposes an enrollment growth of a total of 5,000 students by 2025, that figure represents an upper limit and is not a foregone conclusion. Since the academic plan was approved on campus, the budget climate has seriously deteriorated, and UC and UCSB are now in a period of planned enrollment declines, which will continue until the California and UC budgets improve. Even if the LRDP were to be in place tomorrow, the campus would not be increasing its enrollment for several years.
Complete information about UC Santa Barbara’s Long Range Development Plan can be found online.