News

Cuesta Annex: no flood basin proposed

A controversial flood detention basin at Cuesta Annex is no longer being proposed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and may be on its way off the table entirely.

Afhsin Rouhani, project manager for the Water District, said the Annex is no longer part of the preferred project in the project's environmental impact report -- which the Santa Clara Valley Water District is set to approve Tuesday. He said the move was made in response to years of public outcry and to address cost overruns of as much as $6 million.

"The majority of the comments on the EIR mentioned opposition to the Cuesta annex basin," Rouhani said. "Over a period of years it seems like that's the majority sentiment -- they would rather that it not be done."

The basin would have required the removal of 18 trees, including one large enough to classify as a heritage tree by city standards.

The Water District Board will vote on the proposal on Nov. 20 as part of a "final subsequent environmental impact report" for the project, which now includes basins only at McKelvey Park in Mountain View and Rancho San Antonio in unincorporated Los Altos. Rouhani said there is a chance that the Annex could be added back to the project by the Water District Board in order to protect an additional 300 to 400 properties, including El Camino Hospital, from flooding in a 100-year flood.

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Explaining why the Annex basin was removed from the proposal, Rouhani said,"The main reasons were just the feedback received though the draft EIR process and the fact that we are meeting the original project objectives. "

While the City Council voted in support of the concept in January, a vocal group of residents have strongly opposed any changes to the 12-acre remnant orchard where people retreat to enjoy a rare view of the mountains, walk among old orchard trees and sometimes spot some unusual wildlife, including a great blue heron known to hunt there.

The proposed project aims to fulfill voter approval in 2000 of the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Act.

The proposal includes a $10 million revamp of McKelvey Park, most of which will be lowered to crate a flood basin. Local Little League teams were promised new ball field facilities, including new bleachers, a new snack shack, artificial turf and improved lighting, among other amenities. The park would also have a new mini park and playground for the neighborhood.

The latest proposal uses all of the project's $40 million budget, Rouhani said. The Annex basin would have cost an additional $6 million, he said, to dig and landscape the 8- to 12-foot deep, 4.5-acre basin and run pipelines to and from Permanente Creek.

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Even without the Annex, Rouhani said the project would meet its original goals of protecting 1,664 properties north of El Camino Real, including four schools, during a major "100-year flood," the name for a major flood that has a one percent chance of happening every year. The latest proposal goes further by protecting another 1,000 properties south of El Camino Real in Mountain View and Los Altos, Rouhani said, although there may still be some flooding in a 100-year storm.

"That area would still get some flood benefit, just not the full 100 year flood protection," Rouhani said. "The flood depths are quite a bit less but not the full protection."

Rouhani said an additional 50 properties would remain in FEMA flood zones without the Cuesta Annex flood basin and would have to buy flood insurance.

The Mountain View City Council is set to vote on the McKelvey Park basin on Dec. 11, along with the Annex basin if the SCVWD board approves it Tuesday.

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Cuesta Annex: no flood basin proposed

by Daniel DeBolt / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 1:41 pm

A controversial flood detention basin at Cuesta Annex is no longer being proposed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and may be on its way off the table entirely.

Afhsin Rouhani, project manager for the Water District, said the Annex is no longer part of the preferred project in the project's environmental impact report -- which the Santa Clara Valley Water District is set to approve Tuesday. He said the move was made in response to years of public outcry and to address cost overruns of as much as $6 million.

"The majority of the comments on the EIR mentioned opposition to the Cuesta annex basin," Rouhani said. "Over a period of years it seems like that's the majority sentiment -- they would rather that it not be done."

The basin would have required the removal of 18 trees, including one large enough to classify as a heritage tree by city standards.

The Water District Board will vote on the proposal on Nov. 20 as part of a "final subsequent environmental impact report" for the project, which now includes basins only at McKelvey Park in Mountain View and Rancho San Antonio in unincorporated Los Altos. Rouhani said there is a chance that the Annex could be added back to the project by the Water District Board in order to protect an additional 300 to 400 properties, including El Camino Hospital, from flooding in a 100-year flood.

Explaining why the Annex basin was removed from the proposal, Rouhani said,"The main reasons were just the feedback received though the draft EIR process and the fact that we are meeting the original project objectives. "

While the City Council voted in support of the concept in January, a vocal group of residents have strongly opposed any changes to the 12-acre remnant orchard where people retreat to enjoy a rare view of the mountains, walk among old orchard trees and sometimes spot some unusual wildlife, including a great blue heron known to hunt there.

The proposed project aims to fulfill voter approval in 2000 of the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Act.

The proposal includes a $10 million revamp of McKelvey Park, most of which will be lowered to crate a flood basin. Local Little League teams were promised new ball field facilities, including new bleachers, a new snack shack, artificial turf and improved lighting, among other amenities. The park would also have a new mini park and playground for the neighborhood.

The latest proposal uses all of the project's $40 million budget, Rouhani said. The Annex basin would have cost an additional $6 million, he said, to dig and landscape the 8- to 12-foot deep, 4.5-acre basin and run pipelines to and from Permanente Creek.

Even without the Annex, Rouhani said the project would meet its original goals of protecting 1,664 properties north of El Camino Real, including four schools, during a major "100-year flood," the name for a major flood that has a one percent chance of happening every year. The latest proposal goes further by protecting another 1,000 properties south of El Camino Real in Mountain View and Los Altos, Rouhani said, although there may still be some flooding in a 100-year storm.

"That area would still get some flood benefit, just not the full 100 year flood protection," Rouhani said. "The flood depths are quite a bit less but not the full protection."

Rouhani said an additional 50 properties would remain in FEMA flood zones without the Cuesta Annex flood basin and would have to buy flood insurance.

The Mountain View City Council is set to vote on the McKelvey Park basin on Dec. 11, along with the Annex basin if the SCVWD board approves it Tuesday.

Comments

It is over?
Cuernavaca
on Nov 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm
It is over?, Cuernavaca
on Nov 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Yah, I'm sure the complaints of the citizens carried as much weight as the $6M over-run when it was time to decide. The dog park, er, annex users should thank their lucky stars that a basin would be too expensive.
Personally I like the open space, but cannot buy into its "environmental" importance when it comes to wildlife. The off-leash dogs have pretty much taken care of that.
I actually find it depressing how little wildlife there is in such a large area...off leash dogs most likely to blame.


Dog Lover
Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm
Dog Lover, Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm

@Is it over? You're obviously a cat lover. What kind of wildlife do you think we're going to get in the middle of our neighborhood? We get opossum, raccoon, crows, squirrels and gofers. You're not missing anything, they're all still there and everywhere in spite of the dogs.


Annex Walker
Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm
Annex Walker, Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I like dogs. I have a problem with dog owners who blatantly disregard the city leash ordinance in the annex. I have frequently observed off-leash dogs disturbing birds that forage on the ground. I'm not sure why dog owners think their dogs are exempt from the leash law, perhaps they just don't care and know they can get away with it because the city doesn't have the resources to enforce the rule.


Cuesta Neighbor
Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm
Cuesta Neighbor, Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

The article makes no mention of the El Camino Hospital's exposure in the 100 year flood. That was a key issue with the Cuesta Annex element -- without it, key access roads to the hospital will be flooded as much as 6 feet in places in a 100 year flood. I think this is a short-sighted decision.


the_punnisher
Whisman Station
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm
the_punnisher, Whisman Station
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

" The article makes no mention of the El Camino Hospital's exposure in the 100 year flood. That was a key issue with the Cuesta Annex element -- without it, key access roads to the hospital will be flooded as much as 6 feet in places in a 100 year flood. I think this is a short-sighted decision. "

People will be using helicopters and the Army/NG will be using trucks that can ford the water.

The money is best spent elsewhere. Like spent ENFORCING LAWS for people with off leash dogs.


Voter
Blossom Valley
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm
Voter, Blossom Valley
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Isn't the water district flush with cash after voters approved the half billion dollar bond measure B?


ResZ
Whisman Station
on Nov 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm
ResZ, Whisman Station
on Nov 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Where is that idyllic place in those renderings? Is that wild field near the Cuesta tennis courts where the dogs "do their business"? I have never fancied a walk through it myself. Fear I might step in it.


Annex Supporter
Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:02 am
Annex Supporter, Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

I wish that the city could find resources to enforce the leash laws in the Annex. Firstly because many visitors who walk their dogs off leash there pretend not to notice when their pet poops and use this as an excuse not to clean up. Secondly, the dogs do disturb wildlife.
I walk my dog in the Annex most days but I never let her off leash - and I always pick up after her. It is so easy - the city even provides the bags!


It is over?
Cuernavaca
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:58 am
It is over?, Cuernavaca
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:58 am

@ doglover: "@Is it over? You're obviously a cat lover."

I'm going to assume this is an attempt to minimize my observations(kill the messenger, lump them into a category meant to marginalize them ). Fact is I do love cats but my two dogs chase them too much for me to own one.

As for wildlife, you wanna know what used to be in the annex yrs ago before it became an off-leash dog mecca?
- Quail. The place used to be littered with them. You could hear their calls in the sping. Very cool. Unleashed dogs love to chase ground running birds so no more quail in the annex.

- Nesting birds of prey. There used to be a few types of hawks and an occasional golden eagle nesting here regularly, about 20 yrs ago.

- Egrets and Herons. Now and again you'll see one venture in, to get chased away by an unleashed dog.

What the owners of unleashed dogs have left for us is the list you described.

Its time to start calling in complaints for off leash dogs. That's the only way something will get done.


James L.
Shoreline West
on Nov 17, 2012 at 8:04 am
James L., Shoreline West
on Nov 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

The residents of Staten Island were not expecting a 100-year superstorm "Sandy" when they were flooded out recently. Just like the poor residents who lived below sea level in New Orleans when Katrina hit, weather happens.


Dog Lover
Cuesta Park
on Nov 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm
Dog Lover, Cuesta Park
on Nov 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm

@is it over? The wildlife you mentioned has a good home at Rancho San Antonio where no dogs are allowed. And that is fine. Please allow the dogs a place too where they can run and be free for a little while like the other animals.

I would hope that dog owners be responsible to pick up after their pets. Unfortunately, there may be a few bad apples. Even a few who use a leash.

I'm too old to hold a leash and run with my young dog. She needs exercise every day.

The dog park by shoreline is a dust bowl, hardly equal to what the wildlife gets at Rancho.

Please don't call in complaints and let the dogs be dogs for a little while.


Name hidden
Bailey Park

on Jun 6, 2017 at 5:29 am
Name hidden, Bailey Park

on Jun 6, 2017 at 5:29 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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