The City of Elk Grove released the draft environmental impact report (“DEIR”) for the California Northstate University (“CNU”) Hospital Project (“Project”) on August 14, 2020, finally giving the public the first look at the Project’s potentially significant environmental impacts and an opportunity to provide comments. The deadline to submit written comments and receive a response in the Final EIR is 5:00 pm on September 28, 2020.
Who: The City is the lead agency for the Project, meaning it is responsible for preparing the DEIR and complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).
What: The Project is the total redevelopment of the shopping center located directly east of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and north-west of impact mitigation land for Swainson’s hawk. The Cosumnes River Preserve is only 12 miles from the Project site. CNU, a for-profit medical school already operating on site, intends to construct a 12-story hospital topped with a helipad, a dormitory, and numerous parking and auxiliary structures. The Project would be developed in three phases over a period of 10 years.
When: The 45-day public comment period began on August 14, 2020 with the release of the DEIR. The deadline to submit written comments and receive a response in the Final EIR is 5:00 pm on September 28, 2020. Oral comments may be provided at the September 16, 2020 City Council meeting and the City will provide responses to those comments in the Final EIR as well.
Where: The DEIR and supporting documents is available at: http://www.elkgrovecity.org/city_hall/departments_divisions/planning/current_development_projects/california_northstate_university_hospital/documents__visuals. Physical copies of the DEIR are available at the City Planning Division counter at 8401 Laguna Palms Way, Elk Grove, CA 95758.
Why: Concerned members of the public should submit comments on the Project to demonstrate opposition to this intrusive Project that would have negative consequences for residents and wildlife alike. The City is already conceding that the Project would have significant impacts that cannot be mitigated. With respect to impacts to local residents, the Draft EIR admits that the Project would create light and noise pollution and increase criteria air pollutant emissions. The Project also poses a significant threat to native protected species like Swainson’s hawk, sandhill cranes and burrowing owls that inhabit the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding habitat. Noise and light pollution would disturb roosting birds, while helicopter flights and the massive hospital building would pose a danger for bird strikes. Long-term, the Project would contribute to depleting groundwater levels and impaired air quality. Now is the time for the public to voice their concerns and let the City know that Project is not right for Elk Grove.