Posted by dfb, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Nov 16, 2009 at 3:15 am
This is in response to Christine Crosby who wrote about the Cuesta Annex/ Permanente Creek flood control project draft EIR.
You can read the draft EIR here in PDF: Web Link
The draft EIR does identify significant impacts to trees and wildlife. See Section 4, Chapter 13, page 13-1. It also lists mitigation steps.
"Impact: * BIO5—Disturbance of
Nesting Migratory Birds and Raptors (p. 5-17)
Where * All project elements, during
construction; Rancho San
Antonio, Blach School, Cuesta Park Annex, and
McKelvey Park flood
detention facilities, Blach
School Outlet Culvert,
Cuesta Park Annex Inlet
and Outlet Culverts, during
Mitigation * BIO5.1—Establish Buffer Zones for Nesting Raptors
and Migratory Birds"
The water district's EIR is intended to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The term "significant and unavoidable" is a legal term of art used in CEQA. You get a lot of EIRs if you search Y! or Google for: ceqa "significant and unavoidable" See also one of the many guides put together for CEQA compliance: Web Link My understanding is that the mitigation steps are intended to avoid the impacts. Where a buffer can be set up to avoid disturbing nesting birds, a buffer cannot be set up to avoid traffic.
Also, CEQA only requires a certain notice and comment period. It is the same notice and comment we get for almost all draft EIRs for the various projects going on around us daily. If you don't think CEQA gives enough time, contact Assembly member Paul Fong (he has an office downtown, on Castro) and get him to change the state law to require more notice and longer comment period; just remember that increased notice and comment period applies across the board for all projects that CEQA applies to (note that some things, like a football stadium in LA and the Napa Wine Train have gotten specially written exclusions :-). More info about CEQA: Web Link
CEQA is a procedural statute. It is intended to put information about environmental impacts in a report for the decision makers (water agency board) to make their decision. Public notice and comment is but one component in the approval process for a project. The draft EIR is not the beginning or end of the process. The board, at the hearing, estimated it will not vote on the project until summer 2010. It was also clear that the water agency has been talking with the city for a number of years. I remember Cuesta Annex as a flood control basin being discussed with regard to the general plan update and even before that, at least 2 years ago.
I attended the hearing and posted about it previously to the MV Voice Townhall, if you are interested. Web Link