Mission College Funds for Growth Imperiled

At a Thursday night public meeting, Mission College officials tried to quell controversy surrounding their expansion plan, but county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the move is too little, too late.

The college must negotiate a formal land purchase agreement with the county before Dec. 15 or it will lose $4.2 million the state earmarked in 1992 for campus expansion.

College President William Norlund said if the college cannot negotiate a deal with the county before the deadline, it would consider using the state funds to purchase a building in San Fernando to serve as a satellite campus.

Yaroslavsky said he was skeptical about the college meeting its deadline.

"They've still got a lot of hurdles to jump through," Yaroslavsky said. "They literally don't have time to do it all by the deadline."

In the expansion proposal, the college would purchase 40 to 60 acres occupied by county-owned El Cariso Golf Course and build a new golf course of equal size at the adjacent Pacoima Wash. The college would then construct five buildings, athletic fields and a parking lot.

The plan has drawn criticism from neighboring residents, golfers, hang gliders, equestrians and the Sylmar Graffiti Busters groups that use the area earmarked for the new golf course.

In the new plan unveiled Thursday before a crowd of about 250, the site of the new golf course is moved to the southeast where college officials hope it will be out of the way of other groups that use the area.

College officials will meet with group members next week to see whether the new plan is acceptable, said Vice President of Administration Shari Borchetta.

However, Yaroslavsky said generating public support of the expansion proposal is only one task the college must accomplish by the December deadline.

The college also must get permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns about 10 acres in Pacoima Wash, complete an Environmental Impact Report and address a subdivision ordinance that designates a portion of the land as open space, Yaroslavsky said.

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