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August 6, 2013 > Ohlone Board contemplates development

Ohlone Board contemplates development

By Frank Addiego

Ohlone College may soon be one step closer to developing an area between campus buildings and Mission Boulevard. The Board of Trustees looked at two different proposals for housing communities that they hope will generate funds for the community college.

"The only reason we're doing this is to supply a steady stream of revenue to take care of our college," said Board Co-Chair Garrett Yee. "It is about the highest value we can get." Yee talked about the years Ohlone has spent seeking a way to develop the frontage property without success, a fact he attributed to trying to "over manage" the project by being too focused on commercial retail.

On behalf of the Administration, outside consultants Jim Eller and Andy Plescia along with Ohlone Vice President Ron Little presented two proposals for development, one from Clark Realty and one from Carmel Partners. Both companies propose housing complexes of over 300 units with some small commercial units for shops or a cafe.

"I don't foresee any type of development that would attract students," said Student Trustee Prabhjot Kaur, who offered that students are typically anxious to leave the campus after school.

The Board of Trustees expressed concerns over issues such as the environment and preservation of the area's historical value - the campus is located near Mission San Jose, founded in 1779 - but the main concern was traffic. The section of Mission Avenue on the perimeter of the college is subject to traffic congestion and there is concern that a housing development will worsen the problem.

Despite these questions, the Board is expected to move forward. The topic will be up for discussion at future Board of Trustee meetings and, eventually, Fremont City Council meetings. "We need to think through the eyes of twenty more years," said Board chair Vivien Larsen.

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