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Parking Lot Delayed : Marymount Objects to 650 Enrollment Limit

Times Community Correspondent

Marymount Palos Verdes College has balked at a city requirement that regular enrollment be limited to the current 650 students, thereby delaying plans for an 87-space parking lot that is supposed to be ready by fall to take college parking off nearby residential streets.

Angry homeowners, complaining about parking, noise and litter from the college, asked the city in April to declare Marymount a public nuisance for alleged violation of the conditional-use permit it obtained in 1975. The council on April 16 approved installation of the parking lot, subject to several conditions, including the enrollment limit, but the college has not yet applied for a building permit.

Karen Lee, an attorney for Marymount, told the City Council last week that the enrollment cap threatens “the viability of the college.” She also objected to a 200-student limit the council has considered imposing on students attending Marymount’s weekend college.

Lee’s remarks prompted the council to refer the matter to a two-person council committee, which will meet with the college and discuss the conditions.

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“We rolled over unanimously,” commented Mayor John McTaggart after the 5-0 council vote.

Other Conditions

Apart from the enrollment cap, other conditions imposed on the parking project are that the lot be completed by the fall semester, that an existing faculty parking lot be restricted to day use, and that a wall be constructed to separate the campus from San Ramon Drive homes that back up against the college.

The council also may hold a hearing in December to determine whether the college meets all conditions of its use permit.

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Lee said Marymount objects only to the enrollment cap and the December hearing.

Criticism of the college has come largely from San Ramon residents, who in April were granted permit parking on their street to eliminate student parking.

Before the April council meeting, Marymount President Thomas D. Wood said he already had decided to put a 650-student cap on enrollment because “the college has reached the size it should be.”

Cap Binds College

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However, Wood said making the cap an enforceable condition is unreasonable because it binds the college forever. “You just never know what’s going to be happening five years from now or 10 years from now.” He said the language in the enrollment condition is “very severe” and “could hang us out to dry.”

Some council members said they regret that legalities have crept into an issue they believed was on its way to a solution. Councilman Mel Hughes said that the permit process should adequately deal with college’s concerns.

In spite of the wrangle over enrollment, Wood said he has “absolutely no doubt that we’re going to resolve this thing amicably after getting together next time.”

When Marymount moved to its present campus a decade ago, it had 116 students and was on the brink of financial ruin. Its fortunes began turning around in the late l970s but as enrollment grew, so did problems with the neighborhood.

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