Stockdale Highway residents fight proposal for off-campus student housing

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Stockdale Highway residents fight proposal for off-campus student housing

Local residents attend developer David Moon's community presentation at St. John's Lutheran Church on March 18, 2019.

Local residents attend developer David Moon's community presentation at St. John's Lutheran Church on March 18, 2019.

Fernanda Martinez

Local residents attend developer David Moon's community presentation at St. John's Lutheran Church on March 18, 2019.

Fernanda Martinez

Fernanda Martinez

Local residents attend developer David Moon's community presentation at St. John's Lutheran Church on March 18, 2019.

Fernanda Martinez, Editor-in-Chief

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A northern California real estate developer has proposed to build two, five story, off campus student dormitories to accommodate CSU Bakersfield students, located on the corner of Coffee Road and Stockdale Highway. The plan will provide students with different housing opportunities and help them be more successful while pursuing an education.

The developer of the project, David Moon, set up a meeting last night with residents of the area to present the plan. The surrounding residents, however, were not pleased with the idea.

The meeting was held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Southwest Bakersfield and quickly filled up the room with upset residents. Moon made several attempts to finish his presentation but got interrupted by many attendees who claimed they only came to get their questions answered and not to see Moon’s presentation.

Moon’s company, Coleraine Capital Group, has been developing commercial facilities since 2000.

“We started focusing on student housing about nine years ago when two of my kids attended CSU schools,” said Moon. “In both cases we weren’t able to find on campus housing for them and I was disappointed.”

Complaints ranged from noise concerns, traffic, and even neighborhood safety, with one man stating that drug trafficking from students would be a major problem.

The off-campus dormitories, as compared to standard apartments, would feature 660 beds, full time staff scheduled 24 hours a day, resident assistants on every floor, security, and individual locking for each bedroom and bathroom.

The goal is for students to have their own bedroom and bathroom. Each unit would share a living room and full kitchen. Washers and dryers would also be available in each unit. A third-party security would be available to guard the outside of the dormitories from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Study rooms, presentation rooms, computer labs, internet café, fitness center, swimming pool, and vehicle and bike parking would also be included. Moon added that every lease would be individual so no student would be responsible for their roommate’s rent. The units would be fully furnished with utilities including internet and Moon estimates the monthly rent payment for each student to be around $800.

The Stockdale Highway residents raised concerns that the dorms would congest traffic in that corner, explaining that traffic going east and west is already bad enough.

To resolve this issue, Moon explained that shuttles would be available for students at all times from the dormitories to CSUB. Students would also be able to purchase a parking pass for their vehicle but Moon hopes that discourages students from bringing a vehicle and ride the shuttle instead.

Amidst the resident complaints, CSUB Public Administration graduate student, Haley Schlechta, shouted to the room that as a student living in the dorms, she pays over $900 for a bed and shares a bathroom with eight other students. She also mentioned that all students living in the dorms are required to pay $1,500 for a meal plan each semester with limited food options located away from both on-campus dorms.

Schlechta made it clear to residents that she supports the project before walking away and flipping her middle fingers at opponents.

“I hear the community out, as far as privacy and building a five story building but I don’t think that they care about the students,” Schlechta said to The Runner. “I don’t think that they realize how hard it is to be a student and how pricey it can be to live on campus, especially if you’re on financial aid.”

Schlechta said that the only reason she knew about last night’s meeting was because one of her professors sent an email encouraging the class to attend the meeting and voice their opinions. She was unaware of what she would be walking into as she had just heard about the project.

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny has publicly told local media that CSUB discourages the project as she would like students to live on campus.

According to Moon, one of the purposes for marketing the dorms to CSUB students is because of the high dropout rates for first year students.

“[CSUB’s] six year graduation rates are some of the worst in the system,” said Moon. “It’s a great school and a great community and it shouldn’t be that way.”

Moon said the reason students don’t succeed after their first or second year of school is because they don’t have a sense of belonging. Most students live outside of campus and are not connected with their peers and therefore do not engage in social school activities.

Coleraine Capital Group has other student housing projects in the state. CSU Monterey Bay and Stanislaus State already have same style dorms located outside of their campuses. Projects for Humboldt State and San Jose State are currently under construction.

The Bakersfield Board of Zoning Adjustment has scheduled a meeting for April 9 at 3:00 p.m. in City Hall North, Conference Room A, 1600 Truxtun Avenue, where they will decide whether to grant a permit for the dorms to be built on that area.