By Daniel Langhorne

A new slate of Orange resi­dents, business owners and pub­lic officials convened for the first time in November, as part of a committee organized by Chap­man University aimed at calming tense relations between students and neighbors.

At its inaugural meeting on Nov. 5, the committee identified five issues it wants to address at future meetings: student housing, parking in areas surrounding the campus, party houses, university growth, and Chapman’s appoint­ment of a primary lead person with whom the community can communicate.

“Our discussions focused on improving the overall relation­ship with the university and the surrounding community,” the committee said in a joint state­ment. “We identified key issues that need to be addressed. Future meetings will be held to work on converting these issues into win-win solutions.”

President Jim Doti proposed the committee in August, after community members voiced their opposition to Chapman’s plan to increase its permitted enrollment.

Growing pains

Chapman has about 7,900 en­rolled students; it’s allowed to have up to 8,700 under its present agreement with the city. Chap­man was looking to boost this number to 11,650 students, but has paused this effort.

Among the committee mem­bers selected by Chapman are some of the most vocal critics of Chapman’s proposal for increas­ing enrollment, including Jeff Frankel, chair of the Old Towne Preservation Association board’s preservation committee; Brian Lochrie, an Old Towne resident and president of Communications Lab; and Robert Baca, vice presi­dent of the Orange Barrio Histori­cal Society.

Chapman launched a website,
neighborsofchapman.com, where it will publish minutes for all its meetings. The website also in­cludes a submission form that neighbors can use to send ques­tions and concerns directly to university officials for prompt at­tention.

Chapman also noted that its “Neighbor to Neighbor” newslet­ter would resume publication in January, and will include a link to the new website. The website’s content will also be provided in the newsletter for readers who prefer print communications.

At the committee’s second meeting on Nov. 17, the primary topic of discussion was student housing.

Historic housing

Kris Olsen, vice president of campus planning and operations, updated the committee on the Villa Park Orchards Residential Village at West Palm Avenue and North Cypress Street. The dormi­tory building is still in the plan­ning phase, but could potentially house 420 students. This develop­ment would be built on the park­ing lot that houses the Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market, leaving the historic pack­inghouse undisturbed.

Committee members have sug­gested that the former orange packinghouse be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, in addition to its existing recognition within the Old Towne Historic District, according to the minutes.

Chapman also hopes to rede­velop its Davis Apartments at North Grand Street and East Rose Avenue into a North Residential Village, housing a larger number of students on the campus’ cur­rent footprint.

University officials are also eyeing other properties for satel­lite student housing, including a vacant property adjacent to the Panther Village at West Chapman Avenue and Interstate-5.

Ian Rose, a 20-year resident of North Olive Street, said that he is OK with who is on the commit­tee after learning their names and knowing that some of these peo­ple have been vocal about Chap­man’s development.

Trust, but verify

“I’m hoping my trust is placed properly, but so far, based on who is on it, I trust what they are talk­ing about,” he said.

Baca said those with roots in the Cypress Street Barrio are dis­appointed with how it has become “whitewashed” by Chapman’s purchase of many single-family homes in the neighborhood.

“There’s a value to what the Hispanic community gave to the city,” he said. “We’re not going to just let them take over and use [the neighborhood] for their benefit.”

Among those unsatisfied with the committee’s composition is Councilman Mike Alvarez.

“I’m very disappointed that they basically chose people that have a [public relations] back­ground and have no connection to this issue,” Alvarez said. “They ignored everyone in Orange out­side of the one-mile [historic] district.”

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 8. The pri­mary topics will be student hous­ing, public safety, and student behavior, according to the com­mittee’s minutes.

Twitter: @DanielLanghorne


 Neighborhood Advisory Committee members

  • Robert Baca, vice president of Orange Barrio Historical Society
  • William Crouch, Orange Community Development director
  • Jeff Frankel, preservation chairman of Old TownePreservation Association (OTPA)
  • Robert Hitchcock, board member of OTPA
  • Dan Jensen, owner of 190 S. Glassell St. and landlordfor Haven Gastropub and Kimmie’s Coffee Cup
  • Teri Lepe, Orange Barrio Society
  • Brian Lochrie, president of Communications LAB
  • Sandy Quinn, president of OTPA
  • Judy Schroeder, artist and owner of Schroeder Studio
  • Tita Smith, mayor of City of Orange
  • Pat Buttress, former Orange planning commissioner
  • Dennis McCuistion, principal of Orange High School
  • Tim Virus, senior architect at Tait & Associates


Chapman representatives

  • Harold Hewitt, Jr., executive vice president and COO
  • Daniele Struppa, chancellor
  • Alisa Driscoll, project specialist

Chapman committee hopes to bridge gap

between town and gown