Aja Frost
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Cal Poly has extended its public comment period for three weeks so residents have time to express their opinions about the new housing complex proposed for the Grand Ave. parking lot. The university will now accept comments until Jan. 24, citing the holiday season as reason to push the deadline back.

The project has sparked controversy among locals, who argue the neighborhood will be disrupted by the installation of approximately 1,475 more freshmen living close by.

A recent draft environmental impact report (EIR) prompted even more complaints.

“We’ve received about 32 letters so far,” Facilities Planning and Capital Projects Director Joel Neel said. “Most of them from local residents, most of them negative.”

According to the impact report, there would be two “significant and unavoidable” impacts of a new residence hall at the edge of campus: increased traffic in already crowded areas, and exceeded construction and operational thresholds for reactive organic gases, nitrogen oxides and GHG, a greenhouse gas.

“If the comments have an environmental nature, we will respond to them as such,” Neel said. “And if they bring up some new information that we are unaware of, that could have a potential impact on the project.”

The report listed several possible alternatives, from reducing the number of beds to building the dorms in a different location, on the H-12 and H-16 parking lots north of Highland Drive and near Poly Canyon Village.

And the university might not even go through with the project, according to university spokesman Matt Lazier.

“There’s a lot of possibilities right now,” he said. “The president and the administration are going to look at the EIR, potential other sites on-campus, everything.”

Comments on the EIR can be directed to Nicole Carter at ncarter@swca.com.

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