Issue Areas¨ Farmland Conversion¨ Extending Urban Services¨ Urban Sprawl¨ Viable, Local Food Production¨ Greenhouse Gas Emissions¨ Additional Traffic Congestion¨ High Speed Rail Alignment¨ Alternatives to Proposed Development What are people’s biggest concerns?
CALIFORNIA’SENVIRONMENTAL PLANNINGTOOLS AND REGULATIONS
CEQA Presentation Overview¨ Brief History¨ Project Review and Timeline under the California Environmental Quality Act¨ Types of Environmental Impacts¨ Many Ways of Measuring the Impacts¨ Writing Effective Comment Letters¨ Major Issue Areas in South Santa Clara County ¤ Farmland Conversion ¤ Greenhouse Gas Emissions ¤ Extending Urban Services ¤ Additional Traffic Congestion ¤ Urban Sprawl ¤ High Speed Rail Alignment ¤ Viable, Local Food Production
HOW CAN WE AVOID IMPACTING THEENVIRONMENT AND STILL THRIVE?
Background and History of CEQA ¨ Passed by Governor Reagan in 1970 ¨ Requires environmental protection from the local to state decision-making process ¨ No CEQA police, enforced by citizen or agency lawsuits ¨ CEQA purpose ¤ Disclose environmental impacts ¤ Identify ways to avoid damage ¤ Prevent significant unavoidable damage ¤ Provide reasons for a project’s approval despite significant environmental impacts ¤ Encourage interagency cooperation ¤ Enhance public participation in planning process
So which agency is Do we have to worry leading this about any impacts project anyway? from the project? Can we design the project or will there be a significantto avoid causing an impact effect if the project goes on the environment, forward as planned? Let’s include any Following an initial study of the other agencies that project, we’re giving notice of have jurisdiction our preparation of the project’s over the project area. environmental impact report.
Hire a consultant to draft an EIR.Notify the public there will be a draft EIR released on a certaindate for a given amount of time. PUBLIC REVIEW Incorporate public comments PERIOD on project into a final EIRincluding our agency response to each question asked. Consider mitigations to significant impacts produced from the project. Make a final decision on the project.
How to use CEQA¨ Awareness of planning activity or projects in your area¨ Write a form letter to the lead agency to receive future notices on the project¨ Review the environmental determination (ND/MND, EIR) the agency makes on the project¨ Familiarize yourself with the key findings of the document and look for discrepancies in the project’s environmental review¨ Strategize how you can use your resources to send your informed analysis on the project¨ Write a comment letter to the lead agency regarding your concerns on the impacts of the project and potential mitigations
Environmental Impact Categories¨ Aesthetics ¨ In what way are you an¨ Air Quality every day expert?¨ Hydrology/Water Quality ¨ Whose expertise could you¨ Land Use/Planning rely upon for support?¨ Noise¨ Population/Housing¨ Public Services¨ Recreation¨ Transportation/Traffic¨ Utilities/Service Systems
Measuring the Environmental Impact¨ Global Warming Impacts¨ Environmental Setting, or Baseline Conditions¨ Significant Effect on the Environment¨ Compare Anticipated Impacts to Baseline Conditions¨ Direct vs. Reasonable Foreseeable Indirect Effects¨ Mandatory Findings of Significance¨ Thresholds of Significance¨ Significant Irreversible Changes¨ Growth-Inducing Impacts¨ Cumulative Impacts¨ Mitigation Measures
EIRs: How to Comment Effectively¨ Decide on your concerns/goals and read relevant sections first; think through questions as you analyze¨ Emphasize your local expertise but base comments on data, not emotion¨ Be specific, succinct and professional¨ Use standard intro, body and conclusion format¨ Cite section directly, focus on facts and quote relevant professionals¨ Make sure your take home message is clear
Reviewing and Commenting on an Enivironmental Impact Report Comment Letter Due Date: 3/1/2013 Comment Period 30-day 45-day Date(days until comment letter is due) 55 70 12/21/2012 Review Campaign Goals 53 68 12/23/2012 Consider additional secondary goals 50 65 12/26/2012 Review and familiarize yourself with mitigation measures that address these goals 40 55 1/5/2013 Review the relevant Elements of the Plan 35 50 1/10/2013 Determine what allies should be contacted to support particular sections, or specialties 30 45 1/15/2013 Begin to review the Plans EIR 25 35 1/25/2013 Following your review, compile resources to begin drafting EIR comments based on your analysis 20 25 2/4/2013 Make bullet points of the main findings from your review 15 15 2/14/2013 Draft a letter with your main findings from the Plans EIR analysis 12 12 2/17/2013 Send draft letter to colleagues for review 8 8 2/21/2013 Edit and update EIR comment letter 4 4 2/25/2013 Submit EIR comment letter 0 0 3/1/2013 Comment Letters Due
Resources¨ California Attorney General’s Office – CEQA ¤ http://oag.ca.gov/environment/ceqa¨ Planning and Conservation League – CEQA ¤ http://www.pclfoundation.org/publications/ceqaresources.html¨ Receive CEQA Notices for Particular Project ¤ Write a request letter to the lead agency¨ Greenbelt Alliance ¤ Sign in to receive email with handouts¨ Southeast Quadrant – Morgan Hill Planning Department ¤ http://www.morgan-hill.ca.gov/index.aspx?nid=670
ASSESSING MORGAN HILL’SPROPOSED DEVELOPMENTTHROUGH CEQA & THE EIR
Ag Policy in South County¨ South County Joint Area Plan – 1988¨ Gilroy adopted agricultural mitigation policies – 2004¨ Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) adopted agricultural mitigation policies – 2007¨ Morgan Hill published “Public Review Draft” of “Agricultural Policies and Implementation Program” - 2011
SEQ – How to use CEQA…today¨ Awareness of current planning activity around the SEQ¨ Write a form letter to the lead agency to receive future notices on the project¨ Review the online resources describing the project¨ Anticipate the key findings of the document and potential shortcomings in the project’s environmental review¨ Strategize how you can use your resources to send an informed analysis on the project¨ Draft an outline of a comment letter to the lead agency regarding your concerns on the impacts of the project and recommended mitigations
SEQ - Impact Categories¨ Aesthetics ¨ In what way are you an¨ Air Quality every day expert?¨ Hydrology/Water Quality ¨ Whose expertise could you¨ Land Use/Planning rely upon for support?¨ Noise¨ Population/Housing¨ Public Services¨ Recreation¨ Transportation/Traffic¨ Utilities/Service Systems
SEQ – Impacts from Urbemis¨ Air Quality 75,000 tons of CO2 emitted per year 47,000 trips and¨ Transportation/Traffic 354,000 vehicles miles travelled each day
Agricultural Mitigations¨ GOAL : NO NET FARMLAND LOST¨ Best practices – Agricultural Land Bank ¤ 1:1 Ratio of converted farmland to protected farmland n The developer to find the farmland to protect. ¤ CEQA Nexus of In-Lieu Fees (maybe acceptable in MH condition) n The city is in charge of find the farmland to protect.
Break Out Groups¨ Farmland Conversion ¨ What are you looking for?¨ Extending Urban Services ¨ What are your goals?¨ Urban Sprawl ¨ How would you comment?¨ Viable, Local Food Production¨ Greenhouse Gas Emissions¨ Additional Traffic Congestion¨ High Speed Rail Alignment¨ Alternative Scenarios for Planned Development¨ Other?