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Sierra Club vs. UCF

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Mediation between the University of Central Florida and the local chapter of the Sierra Club concerning UCF's master plan should have been sewn up by June 2. But it wasn't. "We're still in limbo," says Sue Eberle, the Sierra conservation chair who challenged UCF's master plan on environmental grounds.

Eberle says she's yet to reach a formal agreement with UCF on two key issues: the university's environmentally sensitive northwest quadrant, which UCF wants to bulldoze for Greek housing despite a promise that that land would remain undeveloped; and including the word "preservation" instead of "conservation" in the agreement's language. ("Conservation" makes it easier for UCF to build.)

Eberle says she's secured UCF's pledge to hold public hearings before building an 18-hole golf course that has raised the ire of enviros. Critics see the golf course as a sign of excess, considering that the rapidly growing UCF lags in on-campus student housing and causes considerable traffic jams in east Orange County. But that victory is minor. As the public hearings when UCF's board of trustees approved the master plan in January demonstrated, citizen input matters little when the university's mind is made up.

But the most crucial elements of the mediation -- the aforementioned northwest quadrant and language -- are, for now, up in the air. Says Eberle, "I don't know what to say, but it's really not done."


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