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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county

Coastal Commission allows development at Terrace Point

Terrace Point

By a vote of 7 to 4 the Coastal Commission has approved the UCSC plan
to expand development at Terrace Point by over 600,000 square feet.



Standing on Terrace Point on the western edge of Santa Cruz, the view of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Pacific Ocean appears infinite. Breathtaking coastline, wetlands, wildlife habitat, and unspoiled scenery. Isn't this what the California coast is all about? Many of us think so. Take a look now. By a vote of 7 to 4 the Coastal Commission has approved the UCSC plan to expand development at Terrace Point by over 600,000 square feet.

At the December Coastal Commission meeting it was clear that the University had illegally drained wetlands. Despite compelling evidence, the Coastal Commission took no action to improve the project. Instead, they embraced UCSC's claim that the environmental destruction was "worth it" since UCSC intends to educate future "ocean scientists" who will, hopefully, help to save degraded coasts and oceans somewhere else.

In sacrificing Terrace Point, the Coastal Commission not only allowed acres of new buildings on top of known wetlands, but allowed patently urban development such as dining facilities, sports courts, and housing to be constructed under the guise of ocean-dependent university and marine research. The vote appears to establish new precedent undermining California wetlands law by allowing special accommodations for state university developments that would not ordinarily be extended to private developers.

Thank you to all who took the time to write the Commission on this issue. We must intensify our efforts to preserve our spectacular California Coast. To receive emails about coastal issues, sign up at www.sierraclub.org/ca/coasts.



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