Stanford University withdraws request to dump construction dirt

The Mercury News
March 12, 2008

Stanford University withdraws request to dump construction dirt

Construction-related Fill Worried Neighbors

by Lisa Krieger

Stanford University has withdrawn its application to dump large amounts of excavated dirt, generated by its campus construction, on its 143-acre former Christmas tree farm between Sand Hill Road and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, west of Interstate 280.

The San Mateo County Planning Department received Stanford’s request March 4 to withdraw its application for a permit to place 300,000 cubic yards of fill — excavated from underground parking lots and basements of new buildings — onto the property over a 10-year period.

The application had triggered concern from neighbors and environmental groups, including the Committee for Green Foothills.

“Blanketing these scenic hills with up to seven feet of surplus diggings from expansion of the campus, hospital, shopping center and other construction projects would be unattractive,” said Committee for Green Foothills legislative advocate Lennie Roberts. She proposed using the dirt to help restore former salt ponds in Redwood City and along Menlo Park’s Bayfront Expressway, as well as to rebuild levees in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.

Stanford community relations director Jean McCown said the project would have helped restore land that has not yet not recovered from years of growing Christmas trees.

But the scope and expense of the project made Stanford reconsider, according to McCown. The county planned a public hearing on the subject, as well as studies of an on-site creek, the endangered San Francisco garter snake, potential hazardous materials and traffic.

Stanford is now considering other locations for the dirt, McCown said.

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