City of Los Angeles Issues Draft EIR for USC Development
May 27, 2010
Largest Project in South L.A. Will Create 12,600 New Jobs; Generate $5 Billion Impact
LOS ANGELES -- May 27, 2010 -- The City of Los Angeles today released the Notice of Completion of a draft Environmental Impact Report for the University of Southern California development project that would create a mixed-use housing, retail, academic and entertainment complex adjacent to USC's University Park campus.
Upon full build-out, the project will create an estimated 12,600 jobs and generate more than $1 billion in construction-related economic impact. A projected $3.8 million in tax increment to the Community Redevelopment Agency through year 2030 would make this the single largest addition of incremental tax revenue in South Los Angeles.
The proposed project is located on land already owned by USC, and would provide new retail – including a full-service grocery store, drug store, restaurants and cinema – that would serve the community near USC as well as USC students and faculty. The project would also provide more than 5,000 new beds for student housing adjacent to the University Park campus.
The project, which has been in development for four years, will both enhance the academic mission of the university and revitalize and transform the community, according to Tom Sayles, USC vice president for government and community relations.
"This project was developed to provide USC with badly needed additional student housing, provide new academic space, and to create a vibrant retail space that will serve both our surrounding community and our academic community," Sayles said. "It will create thousands of new jobs, both during construction and once the facilities are operational, and provide Los Angeles City and County with some $5 billion in economic impact over the course of the project."
The City's draft Environmental Impact Report includes assessments of impacts;in aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and solid waste, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning issues, noise, traffic and parking, employment, population and housing, public services and recreation resources.
A 45-day public review and comment period begins today, with final comments due to the City not later than July 12th. The City Planning Department will host a public forum on the document the evening of Wednesday, June 16, 2010 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Expo Center, Senior Ballroom, 3980 S. Menlo Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90037.
The report is available online at the Department of City Planning's Web site [http://cityplanning.lacity.org/ (click on “Environmental” and then “Draft Environmental Impact Reports”)].
The report is available to the public at the City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning at 200 N. Spring Street, Room 750, Los Angeles.
The City has additional viewing stations at the following Library Branches: Central Library - 630 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071, Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Branch Library - 3900 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90062, Junipero Serra Branch Library - 4607. S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037, Vermont Square Branch Library - 1201 W. 48th Street, Los Angeles, CA 9003, and Jefferson Branch Library - 2211 W. Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018.
In addition, USC is making copies available at the USC Community House, and the USC Community Computing Center located in the University Village.
City and USC Move Forward on University Park Campus Plan
January 30, 2009
City of Los Angeles Issues Notice of Preparation of EIR; Public Scoping Meeting Set for Wednesday, February 18
The City of Los Angeles today commenced the environmental review portion of the permitting process for the University of Southern California University Park Specific Plan, paving the way for the eventual development of university-owned land on and adjacent to the University Park campus.
The city’s action is required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which provides for the study and documentation of potential environmental impacts before development projects are approved for construction. Under the statute, the city issued a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, which begins a public participation phase.
The city announced it will hold a public scoping meeting the evening of Wednesday, February 18, 2009, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the EXPO Center, Community Hall (2nd Floor), 3980 South Menlo Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90037. (For a PDF file of the announcement, click here; for a PDF map showing the meeting location, click here.)
At that meeting, city planning officials will solicit input from the public regarding the environmental issues to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The environmental issues typically studied in EIRs include potential impacts in the following areas: aesthetics, agriculture, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazardous chemicals and waste, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning issues, noise and traffic, population density, public services and recreation resources. (For more on CEQA, please visit http://ceres.ca.gov/ceqa.)
The University of Southern California Specific Plan
In December 2008, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion by members Bernard C. Parks, Ed P. Reyes and Jan Perry that allows the University of Southern California to move forward with the process to gain entitlements to develop university-owned land on and close to the University Park campus. The action began the process for creating a planning area called a Specific Plan. The proposed University of Southern California University Park Specific Plan covers university-owned portions of master planning subareas one, two and three of the USC University Park Campus Master Plan – all areas on or adjacent to the University Park campus (UPC). Because USC owns the land, neither the university nor government agencies are contemplating the use of eminent domain as part of this plan.
Over the next two decades, USC estimates the need for more academic space, including more residential housing in a concentrated area adjacent to campus. As part of the university’s engagement of the community on the issue, USC has in the past two years engaged in a process of Master Planning that envisions the long-term needs of the UPC. The USC Board of Trustees approved the master plan in fall 2008 after extensive consultation with university stakeholders, community leaders, planning officials, and the public at large.
“Through the USC UPC Master Plan process, it became clear that one of the most significant concerns both the university and neighbors share is the need to build additional undergraduate and graduate student housing on university property to relieve pressure on the North University Park residential neighborhood,” said Curt Williams, USC’s vice president for campus development and facilities management. “Today, we are entering the environmental review process in the City Planning Department to begin to address these and other academic needs.”
USC will provide full cost recovery to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning for work on the Specific Plan.
University Village and Housing
Eventually the process will likely lead to the replacement of the University Village shopping complex and adjacent USC-owned housing, located at the junction of Jefferson Boulevard and McClintock Street, with a new planned development that would provide more undergraduate and graduate student housing and academic space, centrally located public open spaces, green space, pathways, and retail and other amenities accessible to the neighborhood and the university.
Beginning in 2005, the university involved the community in the planning process through a series of more than 70 meetings with University Park community groups, stakeholders and political leaders to discuss USC’s long-term growth and ways to provide enhancements to the campus and neighboring community.
A Master Plan Advisory Committee made up of representatives from various neighborhood organizations, churches, museums and other stakeholders was formed in 2006. Chaired by Jackie Dupont-Walker, president of Ward Economic Development Corporation, the group was responsible for drafting a set of guiding principles for future development that were formally adopted by the university in 2007.
In June 2008, the USC Board of Trustees approved the Master Plan, and asked that USC Administration proceed with initializing necessary public approvals.
“USC has a long and proud history in the University Park neighborhood and is committed to being a good neighbor,” said Williams. “Over the years, USC has embraced the UPC area, providing a reliable, vibrant source of social and economic activity.”
USC has long been involved in outreach to our neighbors that enhances public safety, education, economic vitality and health. In fact, the five guiding principles of its neighborhood engagement philosophy are: “Great Schools, Safe Streets, Good Jobs, Home Ownership and Respectful Partnerships.”
With more than 33,000 students and about 11,400 faculty and staff, USC annually generates more than $4 billion in direct and indirect economic activity as a result of its teaching, research and outreach.