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Full text of Measure

The people of the City of Santa Cruz ordain as follows:

SECTION 1. TITLE.  The title of this ordinance shall be “An Ordinance to Provide the Regents of the University of California and the California State Legislature with Early Input Regarding the Santa Cruz Community’s Opposition to the Proposed Enrollment Growth at the University of California, Santa Cruz.”


Purposes of the ordinance are as follows:

1. To express the concerns of the residents of the City of Santa Cruz about the large-scale and continuing growth proposed for the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) for the upcoming Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), which proposes to increase campus enrollment to 28,000 students by 2040, a 50% plus increase over the average enrollment in 2017-18.

2. To provide guidance to City officials as they participate in the review UCSC’s proposed LRDP and communicate their response at the campus level, to the UC System, the UC Regents, and the California state legislature.

3. To direct City officials to actively and fully participate in the LRDP review process; to take policy and legal actions to limit the growth proposed for UCSC by the UC Regents; and to eliminate or, at a minimum, reduce the adverse effects of additional UCSC growth, particularly in the areas of housing, traffic, quality of undergraduate education, and water.


It is hereby found and determined as follows:

1.  UCSC is important to our community. UCSC is a vital part of the Santa Cruz community and provides substantial economic, social, cultural, and intellectual benefits to the community at large.

2. The California Master Plan for higher education is important to the community, state, and nation. Many scientific and social advancements for our state and nation have resulted directly from innovative research that may have never occurred without the California Master Plan for higher education being implemented. Concerns with the impacts of growth to UCSC and the community are not intended to show opposition to these audacious goals set by state leaders through the state’s Master Plan. Instead, the message to UC Regents and the state legislature are to re-invest in the infrastructure and resources needed to continue meeting the goals of educating the state’s top 12.5% of high school and transfer students regardless of a student’s personal wealth. This goal will be impossible to meet without the state re-investing in the infrastructure of current UC campuses and creating new campuses.

3.  Growth under the existing 2005 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) has significantly impacted the local community.  The 2005 LRDP provided for an enrollment increase of 6,000 students as well as faculty and staff, and this increase has affected the community, particularly in the areas of traffic congestion, housing availability and cost, public transportation infrastructure and neighborhood livability.

4.  The current 2005 LRDP housing mitigation has been insufficient. In the 2005 LRDP settlement agreement, UCSC committed to house, on campus, two-thirds of the increased enrollment anticipated in the LRDP, and it was understood that the larger community would have to absorb the remaining housing demand. Although the University has met this requirement, the total number of undergraduate students living on campus has failed to reduce the University’s impact on housing availability and cost in the greater community.  In addition, almost no additional housing has been provided for the increase in graduate students, faculty and staff.

5.  The housing crisis in the City of Santa Cruz has intensified.  Housing prices in Santa Cruz are among the highest in the nation.  There is a growing gap between rent paid and salary earned. Several factors contribute to this, but University growth is among the most significant and the failure of the University to provide sufficient on-campus housing for students, faculty and staff has had a detrimental impact on housing costs in the community.  Working families in our community are suffering due to high housing costs and the lack of housing availability and have been displaced by students living off-campus.

6.  High housing costs disproportionately impact lower income students.  The unreasonably high price of housing in the community makes it extremely difficult for lower income and disadvantaged students to attend UCSC and, for those who do attend, to focus on their education.

7.  The UC System proposes overwhelming UCSC growth.   According to a formal public announcement by the UCSC Chancellor, the next LRDP will plan for an enrollment increase at UCSC to 28,000 students, more than 50% over the estimated average number of students enrolled during the 2017-18 school year (18,000).  This increase in the student body would also necessitate a significant increase in the number of faculty and staff on the campus.

8.  Significant unavoidable impacts would be expected from further UCSC growth.  According to the adopted 2005 LRDP FEIR (Final Environmental Impact Report,) UCSC’s projected growth was expected to result in significant, unavoidable environmental impacts in the areas of air quality, cultural resources, hydrology and water quality, and noise.  It is highly probable that an additional enrollment of 10,000 students would further compound those impacts.

9.  Further traffic impacts would be anticipated from additional UCSC growth.  The adopted 2005 LRDP FEIR traffic analysis found that "campus growth under the 2005 LRDP would cause unacceptable levels of service at 11 off-campus intersections" and these impacts were significant and unavoidable.  The major streets in the City as well as Highway 1 are already highly congested during most of the day.  Neighborhoods have also experienced significant traffic impacts, particularly in the University area and Westside. Although the University has made progress in reducing single occupancy vehicle trips to campus and promoting alternative transportation, an enrollment increase of 10,000 more students, with related faculty and staff increases, will further exacerbate traffic congestion and housing scarcity in the City and region as well as the quality of education on campus.

10.  The proposed UCSC growth will have direct, severe negative impacts on an already impacted community.  The proposed UCSC growth, by seriously increasing traffic and parking congestion, deepening the housing crisis, placing pressure on City services including public safety and roads, and making it increasingly difficult for working families to live in the City, will further compromise the quality of life throughout the City. 

11. The City is challenged to meet current and future water needs. The City’s water system is entirely dependent on local sources, has limited storage and is highly vulnerable to periods of drought that require restrictions on customer use. Although community-wide conservation has significantly reduced water demand and the University has taken important steps to reduce its water use, an enrollment increase of 10,000 students, as well as additional faculty and staff, will result in even greater stresses on water supply reliability. The City is actively investigating additional water supply alternatives, but until a new supply is available, additional UCSC growth will worsen the existing water supply situation. 

12.  Ensuring emergency access is critical.  The streets leading to the University can become so congested that inadequate access during emergencies constitutes a risk to public safety.  The proposed University growth will significantly worsen this risk and there are no active plans to supplement emergency access.

13.  Federal and State environmental protection laws must be complied with.  Past University growth has raised significant issues relating to the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.  Proposed growth will likely pose additional threats, both on and off campus, to habitats of rare and endangered species and Clean Water Act discharge requirements.

14. The City reaffirms its commitment to working with the campus administration to pursue mutually beneficial actions within the framework of the 2008 Settlement agreement.


1. POLICIES. It is hereby determined that in order to minimize the problems caused by previous UCSC growth, to seek to prevent unmitigated additional growth through the proposed LRDP process, and to ensure the public health, safety, welfare, environmental quality and quality of life for the community at large, the following policies shall guide the City of Santa Cruz in its response to the development of the proposed UCSC LRDP, and in its relationship with UCSC:

a. There shall be no additional enrollment growth at UCSC beyond the 19,500 students allowed by the current 2005 LRDP.

b. If there is additional enrollment growth at UCSC, UCSC should house the net new growth of students, faculty and staff on campus.

c. If there is additional enrollment growth, it will only occur when the on-campus and off-campus infrastructure (including on-campus housing) required to support the growth is provided prior to or concurrent with the growth.

d. The University will legally bind itself to tie the provision of infrastructure to enrollment growth.

e. A Capital Improvement Program identifying on-campus and off-campus infrastructure needs (including on-campus housing), funding and sources needed to carry out the proposed LRDP, shall be prepared concurrently with the LRDP.

2. CITY COUNCIL ACTIONS. In order to carry out the policies contained in this, the City Council is directed to take the following actions:

a. Cooperation with UCSC.  The City Council shall continue to cooperate with the University through the preparation process for the LRDP in attempting to carry out the policies of this ordinance.  Should such cooperative efforts fail to lead to an LRDP consistent with these policies, the City Council shall pursue any actions available to it in order to ensure that the policies are fully implemented.

b. Participation in the LRDP Development Process. The City Council shall take whatever actions are necessary, available and feasible to require that the proposed UCSC LRDP and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) evaluating it ensure the full mitigation of all adverse impacts of any proposed UCSC growth on the Santa Cruz community, particularly in the areas of housing, traffic, public transportation, and public services such as water and public safety.

c. Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The City Council shall undertake all necessary actions to ensure that the proposed UCSC LRDP fully complies with the provisions of CEQA.  This includes initiating legal action, if necessary, to challenge the EIR, if it determines, in public, that the EIR is not adequate under the law.

SECTION 5. ENFORCEMENT.  The City Council shall have sole authority to enforce this ordinance.

SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY.  If any portion of this ordinance is hereafter determined to be invalid, all remaining portions of this ordinance shall remain in full force and effect, and to this extent, this ordinance are severable.

SECTION 7. EFFECTIVE DATE.  This ordinance shall take effect as early as possible as provided by the State of California Elections Code.