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Parks Agencies Reject Sharing Soka Campus

State and federal parks agencies rejected a plan Tuesday in which a park headquarters and visitors center would share a Calabasas meadow with a proposed 5,000-student Japanese university.

Soka University, which runs a 6,000-student college in Tokyo, owns nearly 600 acres near Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road, where it runs an 80-student English language program. University officials had proposed the shared use during a December meeting with park representatives.

David Gackenbach, superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said a letter delivered Tuesday to the school explained that combining the uses would create too much traffic and otherwise damage the natural setting.

“If we object to 5,000 students, we surely have to object to 5,000 plus the parks headquarters too,” Gackenbach said.

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Instead, the parks agencies hope to find an alternative site that the university will accept in trade, leaving the meadow for park use.


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