Neighborhood Advisory Committee Minutes
Dec. 8, 2015 Meeting
The Neighborhood Advisory Committee met on Dec. 8, 2015, in Argyros Forum 209A.
ADMINISTRATION AND STAFF:
Dawn Bonker, Recording Secretary
Harold Hewitt, Jr.
CALL TO ORDER
Daniele Struppa called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.
Content Reported in Meeting Minutes
Kris Olsen distributed a map of properties owned by Chapman as requested in advance of the meeting by Robert Baca. See Property Map – December 2015.
Jeff Frankel, Brian Lochrie, Sandy Quinn and Teresa Smith indicated they wanted the minutes to be expanded to reflect the discussions that occur and varying viewpoints expressed during the meetings. Following a full discussion, Daniele Struppa indicated that going forward the minutes would be a fuller and more comprehensive reporting of the meeting’s proceedings, and that the committee could decide, in the future, to modify its procedures again if desired.
Documentary Interview Request
Harold Hewitt, Jr. reported that a Chapman University student in a documentary film class had asked to film a documentary on the issues that led to the formation of the committee. Harold Hewitt, Jr. asked the committee members if they felt comfortable with the idea, noting that the student was working on a tight deadline as the semester was drawing to a close. If willing to participate, committee members who wished to be interviewed by the student would need to meet with him within the next few days. Pat Buttress and others expressed concerns that the committee was still in its early stages and had not formulated any recommendations. The timeline for the documentary would preclude a comprehensive look at the entire process. It was decided that those members willing to be interviewed could do so. Brian Lochrie and Sandy Quinn said they would meet with the student. Harold Hewitt, Jr. said either he or Daniele Struppa would also meet with the student.
As requested by the committee in the previous meeting, Harold Hewitt, Jr. presented a student housing report showing that Chapman University presently has housing for 36 percent of its undergraduates with a goal of reaching 50 percent. Sandy Quinn asked if there was information available as to how many similar universities also exist in National Historic Registry Districts, as Chapman does. Sandy Quinn said the Old Towne Preservation Association had offered to make an intern available to the City of Orange community development staff to research that topic and how those communities addressed similar concerns of students impacting a historic district. At Harold Hewitt, Jr.’s suggestion, Kris Olsen, who participates in national organizations of campus planning professionals and so has access to unique resources regarding this question, agreed to participate.
The 400-bed Villa Park Orchards residence hall currently in the planning process would help move the University closer to the 50 percent objective, Harold Hewitt, Jr. said.
Robert Hitchcock stated that at present the goal was some time away from being reached because of the time it takes for new construction to be completed and available. Harold Hewitt, Jr. responded that Chapman is moving the Villa Park Orchards development process forward as quickly as City and other requirements will permit, with occupancy expected in the Fall of 2019. Teresa Smith encouraged the University to pursue more properties that could be repurposed, as it did with Panther Village, a suite-style residence facility created in a former hotel off campus. Brian Lochrie said he felt the 50 percent goal was too low and needed to be much higher. Brian Lochrie urged the University to increase density in its student housing plans, moving away from suite-style halls to higher occupancy dormitories.
Public Safety Overview on Party House Policies
Harold Hewitt, Jr. informed the committee that Chapman University hired Randy Burba as its Chief of Public Safety following his 20 years of service as a sworn law enforcement officer serving USC. He noted that USC is well-known for its efforts to address town-gown issues. Randy Burba is the Immediate Past President and current Board member of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, where he was active with the California legislature in the passage of 3 new laws to further protect students attending California colleges. Finally, he is President-Elect of International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (“IACLEA”), and will become President in June.
Randy Burba presented an overview of his department’s structure and its response protocols for dealing with complaints related to student behavior and house parties. Randy Burba reviewed the City of Orange Party Ordinance and explained that his officers could report to a party or similar incident only if called in by the city officers. In addition, he described the educational outreach he and his officers conduct in an effort to instruct students on the expectations of living in a family-oriented neighborhood. See Party House Response presentation.
Harold Hewitt, Jr. added that the University is interested in exploring a very narrow agreement with the city that would allow Public Safety officers to also be first responders to very specific student situations within the neighborhoods.
Daniele Struppa asked the members of the Committee to discuss the nature of the ordinance. Jeff Frankel, Sandy Quinn, and Brian Lochrie indicated they felt, like Daniele Struppa, that the ordinance lacked strength, as the penalty to the owner is too limited, and the rule of ten days too weak.
Teresa Smith explained that the Party House Ordinance was modeled after one in Newport Beach, created to curb party house problems largely along Newport Peninsula. The Orange ordinance might have been stricter, but additional restrictions were met with opposition by some property owners who draw income from their rental properties, Teresa Smith said. Dan Jensen encouraged the city to consider revisiting its ordinance anyway and making it stricter. Harold Hewitt, Jr. added that the ordinance is an excellent example of the University and City Council joining forces and cooperating to improve conditions in the neighborhood; Chapman and the City jointly created and sponsored the ordinance.
Randy Burba and Jerry Price explained that because of The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that protects student privacy, the University could not contact parents when students violate the code of conduct or were cited for disruptive parties. However, Jerry Price said fees related to code infractions will go on students’ billing statements, which will in affect alert parents to misconduct.
Brian Lochrie suggested that a second violation should result in suspension without refund of tuition. Such a policy would have an almost instantaneous impact, as opposed to the lesser fines, he said.
Judy Schroeder added that in September the committee and the Old Towne community should plan an organized effort to encourage communication between citizens and student renters, many of whom don’t realize the impact their activities have on the neighbors. This written communication could provide neighbors with information about Chapman’s student code of conduct and offer suggestions on how to deal with students proactively.
Robert Hitchcock said he would like to see the list of consequences students face for conduct violations.
Jerry Price said that there is a menu of penalties and that he and Daniele Struppa were in the process of reviewing them. The list would be presented at a forthcoming meeting.
Sandy Quinn said that he had suggested to Daniele Struppa that students needed to be brought into the conversation about the consequences. Daniele Struppa said he would arrange for student representatives to speak to the committee at a forthcoming meeting, although January may be difficult because of the Interterm.
Students in the Community
Jerry Price reported on a new effort to collect the local addresses for all enrolled students. The system developed is connected to the class registration process, so students can’t secure classes without providing a local address. The system was instituted in November as students registered for the spring semester. The address list will be used by Jerry Price’s office and Chapman’s Department of Public Safety to determine which students are living in houses where disruptive parties are held. Jerry Price noted that a solution is still needed to be developed for fall semester registration that occurs before many students have finalized housing plans for the new academic year. See Student-Neighbor Relations presentation.
When the address list is finalized, Brian Lochrie encouraged the University to share it with the City of Orange Police Department. In addition, Jeff Frankel suggested the University use the information to revise its mailing list for the Neighbor to Neighbor newsletter to include neighborhoods outside of Old Towne where students are taking up residence.
Robert Hitchcock asked the University for a list of plans as to how it was mitigating the housing challenge. Harold Hewitt, Jr. indicated that Chapman will provide general information at a future meeting, however, some of Chapman’s discussions take place under Non-Disclosure Agreements, and others pertain to properties that are vulnerable to price changes once Chapman’s interest becomes public.
Robert Baca asked about the homes Chapman owns based on the map Chapman presented during the meeting. Robert Baca asked how many of the University-owned houses in Old Towne were being used for faculty and staff housing and what the University’s plans were to purchase more. Harold Hewitt, Jr. stated that there are approximately 2,000 faculty and staff members employed by Chapman and 100% of these homes are rented to them. Harold Hewitt, Jr. said it was the University’s plan to acquire more as they become available because the ability to offer rental housing near campus is a benefit in the recruitment process of new faculty and staff members.
Robert Baca questioned the past agreement between residents and Chapman of purchasing certain areas surrounding the school to create a “buffer zone” which was proposed in the 90s. Harold Hewitt, Jr. said he was not familiar with this as it was before his time with Chapman.
Kris Olsen stated that the first faculty member to live in a university home was in 2002 and prior to that, it was a common practice to rent the homes to Chapman students. Harold Hewitt, Jr. said that there are no students currently living in any houses owned by Chapman University, and that putting responsible families into Chapman houses is now the University’s policy.
Robert Baca then stated that there was also an agreement not to cross east of Schaffer. Harold Hewitt, Jr. replied that Chapman recently purchased a single parcel with two addresses on it located at the intersection of Sycamore and Shaffer as an exception, only after checking with City management.
Robert Baca stated the properties purchased and owned by Chapman created a dynamic change in neighborhoods and this challenged lifelong residents who had families going back 75+ years who didn’t want the growth. Residents had to deal with problematic students because of the University renting or leasing the homes that escalated the sale of privately owned homes on Center St. to Chapman, who was the highest bidder. Robert Baca stated that he had personally sold his home on Center St. to Chapman because of these same frustrations and that residents were upset, but felt they could not stand a chance on preventing Chapman’s push towards acquiring additional houses. Families were leaving the district because they were giving up, especially in the barrio.
Jeff Frankel said that the more properties the University acquires, the more the historic district becomes encompassed into the campus. He praised the University for its restoration of the homes, but said that the community feels the campus is creeping out into the historic district.
Brian Lochrie said homeowners feel they are losing their voice in the community because the University staff and faculty living in University-owned houses identify more with the University than with the local community.
Teresa Smith emphasized that the grass-roots work it took to have Old Towne placed on the National Register of Historic Places was relatively recent (1997) and that many stakeholders in the process still feel a direct connection and sense of ownership toward that achievement and the community it fostered. She said it was a sensitive topic that needed additional discussion.
Harold Hewitt, Jr. suggested that the topic be added to the agenda of a forthcoming meeting so it could be discussed in more depth.
PLANNING FOR THE NEXT MEETING
Harold Hewitt, Jr. asked William Crouch to assist in scheduling the city manager and the chief of police for the City of Orange to attend the next meeting to present their perspective on the City’s role in addressing neighborhood concerns and to discuss the University’s proposals to fund additional police staffing and/or have campus officers included as sworn officers on a limited basis.
Also planned for the next meeting are discussions about changing dynamics of the community and the historic district, and more in-depth reports on attempts to develop student housing.
Although not essential for the January meeting, Teresa Smith added that the Undie Run and students’ curbside dumping of used furniture needed to be added to the committee’s topic list.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 6, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Daniele Struppa adjourned the meeting at 10:35 a.m.