Are the planning or environmental review processes for the LRDP update affected by COVID-19?

The LRDP update is a multiyear process that began in 2019 and will continue into 2021, and the UC Berkeley campus is proactively engaging in planning around the COVID-19 outbreak in collaboration with our public health partners and the UC Office of the President. The campus is operating in accordance with all public health directives and applicable orders regarding the public health emergency.

Of direct relevance to CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act), on March 24, 2020, five days after issuance of Governor Newsom’s “Safer at Home, Stay at Home” Order, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research announced that “at this time, there has been no change to the deadlines, noticing, or filing requirements contained within CEQA.” UC Berkeley is operating in compliance with that directive and will continue to closely track any CEQA-related developments that may affect our ongoing projects, including those currently undergoing environmental review.

What is the public engagement process for the LRDP update?

The LRDP update process was formally launched in early 2019 and, since then, UC Berkeley has engaged with campus and community stakeholders on this important planning effort in numerous ways. UC Berkeley has undertaken at least one major engagement opportunity during each semester since the spring of 2019, including town halls, tabling in visible campus spaces, and hands-on substantive workshops for the campus community.

To further foster community engagement around the development of the LRDP update, the campus established the LRDP Community Advisory Group in fall 2019. The LRDP Community Advisory Group includes representatives from a wide variety of perspectives, including government, the non-profit/business sector, education, the arts and culture community, and student and alumni leaders. The LRDP Community Advisory Group kicked off with quarterly meetings in October 2019 and will continue to meet until the LRDP is approved.

UC Berkeley also has been meeting on a quarterly basis with City of Berkeley leadership, including staff, councilmembers with districts bordering the campus, and the Mayor.

In addition to this in-person outreach, UC Berkeley has regularly updated its LRDP website with news, key documents and conducted a six-month survey (from April-October 2019) intended to seek input from faculty, staff, students and the general public about the future development of the campus.

This robust process is intended to ensure that both UC Berkeley stakeholders and the surrounding community have ample opportunity not only to review information relevant to the campus’s work on the LRDP Update but to weigh in with meaningful participation.

What is a Long Range Development Plan (LRDP)?

The UC Regents require every UC campus to have, and periodically update, a Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). An LRDP guides future campus decisions about the development of facilities. A forward-thinking document, the LRDP envisions a coordinated strategy for providing the infrastructure needs of a modern research university. The LRDP is a framework which provides structure and order to the planning of future projects. It does not commit the campus to specific, individual projects.

While the UC Regents determine enrollment, population constraints and projections for each campus, the LRDP is a guide for planning a UC’s physical campus based upon those projections. The LRDP is also informed by the campus’s other guiding documents, such as its Strategic Plan.

When new capital projects are presented to the UC Regents for discussion and approval, the board will refer to a campus’s LRDP and associated Environmental Impact Report to ensure consistency.

Does an LRDP expire?

LRDP’s do not expire, rather they are updated on an ongoing basis. In early-2019, UC Berkeley will launch a process to update its LRDP. The Vice Chancellor of Finance and the Office of Capital Strategies will lead this process. This will be UC Berkeley’s fourth comprehensive LRDP update (previous plans were approved in 1962, 1990, and 2005).

Why does UC Berkeley need to update its LRDP?

After nearly 15 years, an update is needed to make the LRDP more aligned with UC Berkeley’s current priorities – such as seismic remediation and deferred maintenance, energy efficiency, traffic and transportation, and our student housing crisis.

UC Berkeley’s long range development is guided by strategic objectives that support the University’s mission and is consistent with the campus’s commitments to sustainability, being a good neighbor and community partner, and serving the people of California.

The updated LRDP will directly guide and impact how UC Berkeley will meet the needs of its students and research enterprise as a modern 21st-century public institution of higher education. The updated LRDP will also take into account that with two-thirds of the campus’s buildings having been constructed before 1960, the University must focus on the replacement and renovation of aging facilities and infrastructure.

The physical development of UC Berkeley’s campus also has direct, measurable impacts on community resources and the surrounding environment – such as energy and water use, transportation, housing, and numerous other utilities and service systems. The updated LRDP will guide future decisions in a comprehensive manner, strive for highest levels of stewardship, and hold the University accountable for responsible development.

Why aren’t University of California campuses subject to local land use control?

As a state entity, UC is constitutionally exempt from local land use control. This means the university has autonomy in land use entitlement decisions when the use of such land promotes the university’s mission. In addition, state agencies typically do not approve a UC campus’s LRDP.

However, the LRDP will address how campus planning will respond to relevant city, regional, state and federal policies and plans. UC Berkeley plays an important role in the region and the LRDP will strive to help advance the relevant development policies and objectives that guide the city and the region.

What environmental requirements are associated with an LRDP?

UC campuses are required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for their Long Range Development Plans (LRDP). UC Berkeley will prepare an EIR that will analyze the potential environmental impacts of the development proposed in the updated LRDP to support the strategic plan and campus master plan.

The EIR is intended to inform the campus, the UC Board of Regents, the local community, responsible and interested public agencies, and the general public about the potential environmental effects of the development represented in the LRDP, possible measures to mitigate any significant adverse effects, and possible alternatives to the proposed LRDP.

How is the Long Range Development Plan related to the Campus Master Plan?

The Long Range Development Plan is a framework that provides structure and order to the planning of future projects; it is a high-level document that is similar to a city’s general plan and does not identify specific, individual projects.

The Long Range Development Plan is focused on the overall organization of the built environment and the associated potential environmental impacts. The Campus Master Plan envisions potential projects and initiatives that could be implemented to achieve the university’s strategic goals, within the organizational framework of the Long Range Development Plan. From new buildings, renovations, and infrastructure improvements, the Campus Master Plan will consider changes in technology, new methods of instruction, and new modes of mobility, and how they can be integrated and reinforced in the physical environment.

In 2019, UC Berkeley has chosen to update its Long Range Development Plan and to create a new Campus Master Plan in parallel, with guidance from the same Advisory Group and Working Group, in order to optimize cohesion between the two plans.