PUC Ends Triad Contract; Drops Ecovillage

By Julie Z. Lee on October 21, 2010

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On October 4, 2010, the Pacific Union College Board of Trustees voted to end the college’s consulting contract with Triad Communities and instead pursue opportunities for PUC’s property outside of an Ecovillage project.

“This decision comes after more than a year of careful study and consideration,” says Dr. Heather Knight, president of PUC, who spent much of her first year on the job assessing the development project. “After speaking with various community leaders and given the current economic landscape, I feel this is not the best plan for PUC right now.”

PUC is still committed to selling land that is not currently in use by the college and that is considered non-essential to PUC’s core mission. This is in accordance with a 2002 board resolution to liquidate non-essential assets to ensure that the College has resources to meet its current financial obligations, as well as to achieve its long-term financial objectives for its future growth and development. These goals include growing the college’s endowment, providing more scholarships for students, increasing faculty and staff compensation, and enhancing the campus infrastructure and facilities.

Selected property surrounding and east of the airport will be sold, as is, through a broker, with appropriate restrictions and covenants created to obtain essential uses for the college—such as water and some recreational trails. The environmental impact report has been suspended, and PUC retains the county’s approval to build 191 housing units, as necessary, at the appropriate time. Knight will be analyzing the housing needs of both the college and St. Helena Hospital before developing plans in this regard. She also plans to continue dialoguing with the community to explore ways in which to strengthen PUC’s linkages and service to the surrounding community.

Says Knight, who met with many local residents, including project opponents, “We want to work with our neighbors in Angwin and the Napa Valley to ensure that we remain good neighbors while securing the college’s future into perpetuity.”