So there’s a war beginning to brew on my campus in regards to a part of the campus called the Wooded Hillock. It’s an 11 acre forest that the University secretly decided would be developed at the end of 2007. They have decided to relocate some buildings from East Campus where there will be new development, and move these buildings in place of the forest. Students and professors are not happy about this, and are raising hell. The Student Government Association recently passed a unamimous resolution asking the University of consider other alternatives. Below are the two recent articles regarding the Wooded Hillock destruction, as well the text of the resolution that the SGA passed. If this is something you are concerned about, I suggest you give the University of Maryland a piece of your mind. I will in my column this upcoming Tuesday.
A Resolution Supporting Alternatives to the Wooded Hillock East Campus Redevelopment Project
S 09-02-02 A
1. WHEREAS, the University of Maryland’s 2001-2020 Facilities Master Plan outlines land-use strategies for the institution to be followed over the next several years as the demand for buildings and facilities increases; and,
- WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock is an area of woodlands located behind the greenhouses near Comcast Stadium; and,
- WHEREAS, the East Campus Development project on Route 1, anticipated to begin construction in 2010, will require the relocation of several University facilities including Shuttle UM Parking and Maintenance, University Police, Building and Landscape Services, and University Mail Distribution; and,
- WHEREAS, 11 acres of the Wooded Hillock were chosen by the Facilities Council in 2007 to serve as the relocation site for the aforementioned facilities; and,
- WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock is a rare space, not only from an academic and environmental standpoint, but from a land-use standpoint; and,
- WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock is one of the few remaining green spaces on campus and the vegetation, soils, and wildlife habitat that exist in these woods are unique to the campus and to the region; and,
- WHEREAS, faculty and students in several departments including Plant Sciences, Landscape Architecture, Biology, and Environmental Science and Technology, frequently visit the Wooded Hillock and use it as a “living classroom”, exploring the unique diversity of the site; and,
- WHEREAS, the Wooded Hillock relocation project conflicts with every guiding principle in the Master plan which outlines environmental preservation, careful development, and automobile reduction as major goals; and,
- WHEREAS, the removal of trees from the Wooded Hillock also conflicts with the University’s Climate Action Plan which supports sustainable development as a strategy for becoming carbon neutral by 2050; and,
10. Therefore BE IT RESOVED SGA strongly recommends Facilities Management and Administrative Leadership conduct feasibility studies for alternative sites to include cost estimates and environment impact statements in addition to the studies for the Wooded Hillock Site.
11. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Student Government Association will work with the Provost to establish student representation on the Facilities Council to address student concerns related to the changes of the campus layout and facilities.
Sponsor: Steven Glickman, Outlying Commuter Legislator
Committee: Campus Affairs Committee
Vote: In Favor _____ Opposed _____ Abstentions _____
Therefore, the bill: PASSES FAILS
How the Wooded Hillock East Campus Redevelopment Project violates the guiding principles of the 2001-2020 Facilities Master Plan:
1. Planning the built and natural environment of the University in a way that preserves the beauty of the campus and protects the environment
The Wooded Hillock Redevelopment Project would eliminate 11 acres of aesthetically pleasing wooded area on campus. The project includes parking lots and ground-level warehouses and office facilities which consume a larger amount of land than multi-level buildings or parking garages. If Facilities were to consider developing on an alternative site such as an existing parking lot and/or constructing multi-level buildings or parking garages, the project would consume considerably less space and thus destroy less of the undisturbed environment.
2. Reducing the number of automobiles on campus and eliminate vehicular congestion to the extent possible while promoting unimpeded movement across the campus.
Development on the Wooded Hillock site will maintain the same amount of—if not more—space for parking on campus. By instead choosing an existing parking lot as the site for redevelopment, the University would be achieving its Master Plan of reducing the number of automobiles on campus.
3. Reinforcing the campus’s role as a good neighbor in the larger community by the careful development of sites on the campus periphery or in outlying areas that link us to the community
The Wooded Hillock is located on the periphery of campus near the intersection of Route 193 and Paint Branch road. This project has not been made transparent to nearby organizations and businesses or local government who may have stake in the decision. For example, organizations such as the College Park Committee for a Better Environment and the College Park Sierra Club who have worked to preserve green space in the local community have not been made aware of the project.
4. Preserving the architectural heritage of the campus and enhance it through open spaces, gathering places, vistas of green lawn and trees, and groupings of buildings that promote a sense of community.
The Wooded Hillock is a vista of trees that if developed on, will be destroyed.