Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pondering Marymount College's Expansion Project, in San Pedro

Marymount College is a private two-year college located in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Currently, the college owns an apartment building near 24Th Street and Cabrillo Avenue, for off-campus housing, and a site on Palos Verdes Drive North, again used as off-campus housing, both in San Pedro.

The college has another expansion project planned that is moving through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) processes and other processes within the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.

The expansion supporters want to make renovations to the campus, located on Palos Verdes Drive East, just above the switchback portion of that road.

Expansion plans call for the construction of on-campus dormitories at the college's site.

If Expansion plans are approved of, per what the college wants, the college would sell the apartment building near 24Th and Cabrillo.

The preferred expansion plan the college wants also calls for redeveloping the off-campus housing site it calls "Palos Verdes North" on Palos Verdes Drive North, in one of its alternatives.

Currently there are about 82 duplexes on that former military housing site. The college received a zoning variance when the government gave the land and buildings to the school, so that it could have more duplexes that current zoning laws allow. The buildings were already there and the military is not required to follow municipal building codes.

If the college does not get its preferred expansion plans approved, an alternative calls for the college to not only add residential dormitories to the site, but it also move much of its athletic department to the site. There would me more dorms and more classrooms added on Palos Verdes Drive North.

Changing anything at the Palos Verdes North site is shear folly, in my opinion.

I doubt highly that the college would want to tangle with the city of L.A.

However, there are very few, if any, private two-year colleges west of the Mississippi River that have on-campus housing.

There is also a strong and large group opposed to on-campus housing up on The Hill.

So, we have yet another issue to ponder, it looks like.

Should the San Pedro community support on-campus housing at Marymount to reduce traffic and other issues that happen with Marymount's two off-campus housing sites?

Is there any chance Marymount might find support for enlarging their Palos Verdes North site, if they cannot have the on-campus housing they want?

How might more off-campus housing at Palos Verdes North affect all that is going on in northwest San Pedro/south Harbor City-Lomita, hint Ponte Vista?

Supporters of expanding Marymount have tried for years to get approval of enlarging the campus' facilities and learning environments.

Marymount was close to getting approval to expand several years ago, but something always seems to come up to delay or deny expansion.

College supporters strongly state that they need expansion as a way of allowing more students to have a good education.

There is one thing that is not debated, though. An education at Marymount College is a quality education and it is one of the best two-year colleges not only in the area, but in the country as well.

As an R.P.V. Traffic Safety Commissioner, and as someone who lives on a street where it is projected that 40% of all Marymount traffic will pass by, I have some real concerns about allowing on-campus housing at the college's site or thinking their Palos Verdes North site should be expanded.

I have been pondering these issues for some time now.

I would like to see what happens when others ponder and what their opinions are.

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