Opinion piece printed by the Fullerton Observer Mid-November 2017
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– Stadium: Little Truth in What Fullerton College Says
Fullerton College is downplaying impacts and spreading several falsehoods in their effort to justify building an unnecessary football stadium eighty feet from quiet neighborhood homes. Most infuriatingly, the perfectly usable and newly renovated Fullerton District Stadium exists less than 1/4 mile from the Fullerton College campus. We don’t get it. Why such disregard for real lives of thousands of people? Our fact-checking reveals:
It’s a HUGE STADIUM. The college conveniently neglects to mention their plan to build at Sherbeck Field 4,500 bleacher seats, six 100′ lighting structures, and a mega-watt P.A. system. Also, the college has gone into hiding with respect to its planned field use policy, outside school use, and/or other sports teams who may wish to use the field.
The “need” for a stadium is not supported by reasonable facts. The college already offers sufficient physical education courses to provide the 1 unit credit necessary for a student to gain an AA or transfer to CSU schools. Further, the purported $100k/year savings (amount college would save by having a stadium of their own) is a totally false argument. Why spend $67,000 per year on bleacher rentals when there’s the beautiful, $10 Million renovated FUHS 6,700 seat stadium available for a fraction of the cost? The actual “savings” the college claims would be just $35,100 per year.
Doing a separate EIR for the stadium isn’t good for Fullerton. In fact, it’s illegal. This is because California environmental law requires all aspects of development projects be evaluated. By analyzing the stadium separately from the Measure J projects, the college could falsely under-represent the impacts of the Measure J projects. This is because impacts from the stadium (traffic, noise, trash, light, etc.) won’t be included. Further, it means the cumulative impacts of all projects together will be harder for the public to assess.
Recent legislative changes DO NOT prevent community colleges from playing post-season at high schools. It merely requires easily provided modifications to goal posts and hash marks on the field. A quick online search found adjustable goal posts can be purchased for $5,400. Certainly, Fullerton College can implement these easy modifications to preserve the quality of life for thousands of people.
The college has NOT strived to be a good neighbor. It’s a well-documented fact that the college has been a horrible neighbor over the years. One need only look at the ongoing parking, traffic and trash problems in surrounding streets. The massive, ugly, zero-setback North Lemon parking structure. The 2009 attempt to build a stadium without CEQA review. False invocation of veteran support in Measure J. The list goes on and on. Now, despite formal objection from over 500 neighbors (and growing), the college still wants to build a giant, unjustified, noisy, light polluting, quality-of-life destroying stadium next to a quiet residential area. That’s not neighborly or caring.
According to Bob Singer, Fullerton High School Board Member, “The high school has been consistently supportive of working out a shared arrangement with Fullerton College for joint use of the (high school’s) newly renovated stadium.”