On Jan. 12, nearly a decade after the process began, Gavilan College cleared a key milestone in the process of developing a educational center in San Benito County, with the receipt of an “Incidental Take Permit” (ITP) from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The 77-acre property at Fairview Corners — at the corner of Airline Highway and Fairview Road across from the Ridgemark Golf Club and resort — was initially purchased in June 2007 for a San Benito County educational center that will eventually develop into a full-service college campus. The ITP covers both the district’s acreage and Dividend Homes’ adjacent property, with both parties contributing to costs of mitigation.
“This is an important step and brings us closer to our goal of expanding facilities for higher education in San Benito County. It has been in process for a very long time and involved a lot of work on the part of Gavilan College staff,” said Gavilan College President Dr. Kathleen Rose. “We are now in conversation regarding planning for the future of the site.There are still a couple hurdles to cross before we can begin.”
A similar, parallel Habitat Conservation Plan approval process is still underway with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mitigation easements have been purchased to fulfill habitat mitigation requirements.
The property at Fairview Corners, the work and costs associated with the ITP and HCP, and the mitigation expenses, were provided through the 2004 voter-approved Measure E bond measure. Gavilan College also purchased property in the northern part of the district with Measure E funds, acquiring acreage in Coyote Valley in 2006. That property also required a lengthy habitat mitigation process. Classes began in Phase 1 of the development in January.