Sunday, January 18, 2009

Planning Commission Meeting Regarding Marymount's Expansion

The Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission will continue to take oral comments concerning the Marymount College Expansion Project at is meeting scheduled for Tuesday January 27, 2009, beginning at 7:00 PM, inside the City Council Chambers at Hesse Park.

You are also encouraged to contribute written comments to the Planning Commission and you may do that via Email, using the Marymount College Expansion Project in the subject line and sending the Email to: That address is for Mr. Ara Mihranian, the city's manager for the project.

The Expansion Project's most controversial aspect is the proposition of placing 128-on campus dormitory rooms to house 250 students and 5 faculty advisers.

I will posting this notice on three of my blogs and providing some different comments on each blog, depending on the blog.

For many residents of San Pedro, especially those fine folks living near the corner of 24th. and Cabrillo, you may certainly want and strongly wish for on-campus housing to be approved.

Marymount College owns and operates an off-campus housing facility near that corner and I have heard numerous reports of things going on around the building that most residents do not approve of.

If the expansion project is approved as the college's administration wants it, the building called the Pacific Heights Housing would be sold and all the students would be gone.

However, years ago a former administration at Marymount claimed they would close the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing facility, but they did not.

If the expansion project is approved, there would be more than 1,500 ADDED vehicle trips every weekday classes are held at the college.

There would be some added vehicles on 1st. Street to Gaffey and 9th. Street to Gaffey but the real added number of vehicles would be along Western Avenue between Crestwood and Palos Verdes Drive North.

I can certainly understand that there could be some revenue generation in downtown San Pedro by students, but there has been no study to determine how much added revenue might be generated.

Personally, I do not want on-campus housing built at Marymount, but I do not begrudge anyone living in San Pedro from supporting that idea because of what has been happening at the Pacific Heights housing complex.

In a straw poll, all members of the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission voted to oppose on-campus housing, but that really means little right now, especially if the City Council is tired of dealing with Marymount and is simply willing to give in to the administration's wishes.


Steve Schwartz said...

So I was just wondering why exactly you wouldn't want on-campus housing. Is it just an issue of where the school is spending its time and resources, or something deeper?

Also, do you have any blog posts on these "activities" near the off-campus apartments? You got me curious. (I don't go to Marmount, I'm just very interested in issues of student housing)

M Richards said...

Thank you Mr. Schwartz

I don't have any blog posts on the activities near the Pacific Heights Housing building. I have talked to several residents of the area and have read a few Emails and even read a letter to the editor, with all confirming that local residents would be happy if that housing site was sold and the students housed someplace else.

Parking for residents has been stated as being problematic and neighbors in the area seem to not like having more rowdyness and partying in the area, compared to more normal situations.

I don't know of any other college housing in San Pedro that is so close to other residences. The Palos Verdes North facility is along Palos Verdes Drive North and is fenced in, guarded, and is on the opposite side of the main street from any other occupied housing.

I have more than a few reasons why I do not feel it is wise to have on-campus housing at the College.

Whether it is young drivers in an unfamiliar area, winding narrow roadways, fog, youthful speeding, and other traffic and driving issues, it seems to me that it is a dangerous place to have dormitories.

The atmosphere and use of the campus would go from daytime and some evening uses to a 24/7 facility which hasn't happened since the location was home for a boarding school with students not allowed to have cars.

Personally, I live in the neighborhood that would have an added 40% of the cut-through traffic with the 1,500+ added vehicle trips the EIR suggests would occur each weekday the campus has classes.

I also feel that on-campus housing is a marketing tool to attract more students whose parents wish for more observation and control of their children's out of class activities.

I have a three-part set of comments on: that contains a photo of the one College I visited that has adjacent campus housing and I enlarged the photo to illustrate a type of sign I viewed on the buildings I saw.

I do not believe that residents of the eastern portion of Rancho Palos Verdes should be subjected to the increased traffic 24/7, the younger drivers who are probably not very experienced with driving in the conditions that exist along P.V. Drive East, Miraleste Drive, and within Mira Vista. I think everybody may agree that we do not need added traffic along Western Avenue, where 40% of the added vehicled trips would be found.

I think there may be other ways for the College's administration to attract students than offering their parents more observation of their kids and more control over their activities.

200 seventeen to twenty year-olds packed into a location where their is not that much to do except study and where shopping and entertainment venues are miles away, does not seem to me to be a good idea.

I would expect that Marymount students are like all other students and having been to college, I know how we can be at times.

I feel that Marymount can have a superb program and continue to provide the excellent education it provides without having on-campus housing and having local residents becoming too much like care providers and observers in place of parents who live far away.

km said...

Mark, do you really think it's fair to have RPV gain all the benefits of a college in it's city but export the problematic student housing to San Pedro? In all fairness, why should Pedro residents have to absorb the problems of traffic, parking and what you refer to as "activities" while the PRV residents who gain the school's revenue and reputation don't have to? It strikes me that if RPV wants to be a college town, they get to be a college town.

RPV has an unfortunate history of moving its problems down the hill, then badmouthing Pedro. It's high time the Hill communities took their share of the Peninsula's burdens.

M Richards said...

km, thanks for your great comments.

I don't believe R.P.V. residents will gain any real benefits from having dorms placed on-campus at Marymount or with much of the other expansion plans.

There could be more athletic facilities that might be used by locals in that area, but that is just about it.

I doubt highly that R.P.V. would gain any revenue from having a religious facility be expanded.

I actually agree with what you are writing about how San Pedro sometimes is a dumping ground for what those on The Hill don't want to deal with.

Even though I oppose on-campus housing at Marymount, I feel it is only correct to attend the Coastal S.P.N.C. meeting on Monday evening to invite those who do not approve of having the off-campus housing at 24th and Cabrillo remain.

The latest news about the Planning Commission is that this Tuesday they will be taking up parking issues and grading variances and will continue taking comments about traffic at their February 24 meeting.

One thing that you or other may be able to help clear up is how and why folks in San Pedro and in the Council office did not do more to oppose the Ocean Trails-then-Trump National issues.

It seems that R.P.V. was allowed to run over most opposition from San Pedro residents who rightfully had some major complaints about traffic and other things.

With San Pedro being part of L.A., it is a wonder that the L.A. bureaucracy didn't come forward to support San Pedrans and whatever opposition there was.

I don't know what other things have been dumped onto San Pedro lately by cities on The Hill, but there is one issue that needs to be addressed.

Since Eastview students have the option to attend either L.A.U.S.D. or P.V.P.U.S.D. schools, and about 80% of the students picked P.V.P.U.S.D. schools, imagine what the student population of Crestwood, Dodson, and San Pedro High School would be today if the Eastview kids did not have the choice.

It might be without question that had the high school-age students not been able to attend either "Peni" or P.V. High, S.P.H.S. would have already be on a year-round schedule for years now.

In previous comments from Marymount representatives, they have promised to close some off-campus housing before and they never did.

Perhaps if Marymount sold its 'Pacific Heights' building and actually purchased an apartment building in R.P.V., that might be something good to discuss.

Marymount has about 99% full time students which is quite different than just about any other two-year college in the area.