Elk Grove Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Report Released

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.

Click here to learn more about the hospital plans and the environmental concerns.

ECOS Comments on NewBridge Specific Plan, FEIR

On September 1, 2020, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) submitted comments on the NewBridge Specific Plan and Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), dated Aug. 21, 2020.

Below is an excerpt from our comment letter.

CONSISTENCY: The Jackson Corridor projects should be treated consistently in terms of the County’s requirements for project approval. The requirement to meet state mandated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions targets is a particularly important one. Mather South demonstrated that it met state mandated GHG emissions reductions targets in the Climate Change chapter of its Specific Plan/FEIR. By contrast, the NewBridge FEIR currently calls for a demonstration of adequate emission reductions at the time of tentative map approval.

Close scrutiny of the project by the public and yourselves as County leaders occurs at FEIR approval. We ask that the NewBridge FEIR be modified prior to your approval to ensure GHG thresholds are met and the project’s impact is reduced to a “less than significant level.”

Mather South’s FEIR, CC-2 measures (GHG-reducing measures) are named and quantified: EV Charging and 100 Percent Solar on All Nonresidential Buildings and Residential Buildings. In addition, the CC-3 measure for purchase of carbon offsets is described and quantified. The NewBridge FEIR simply lists the CC-2 measures as a menu to be selected at tentative map approval. No quantification is provided. A demonstration that GHG thresholds are met is not provided.

For reference, please see this excerpt from the Mather South FEIR, page 7-29:

“Implementation of Mitigation Measure CC-1 requires the project to comply with all provisions included in the AQMP. This mitigation would be consistent with provisions of General Plan Policy AQ-4. Implementation of Mitigation Measure CC-2 would further reduce GHG emissions associated with residential and nonresidential building energy and transportation. However, GHG emissions would not be mitigated to a less-than significant level through the provisions of the AQMP and Mitigation Measure CC-2 alone. Thus, the purchase of carbon offsets as discussed in Mitigation Measure CC-3 would reduce the transportation-related GHG emissions to reduce mass emissions by 301 MTCO2e/year for the transportation sector by 2032. With implementation of Mitigation Measure CC-3, all GHG thresholds would be met and this impact would be reduced to a less-than-significant level. [Mather South Final EIR, page 7-29, PLNP2013-00065]

Click here to read the letter in full (PDF).

Click here to view the environmental and planning documents.

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Proposed Elk Grove Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Report Released

August 14, 2020

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.

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.

Elk Grove Multi-Sport Complex Site Update

July 21, 2020

Heads up! The City of Elk Grove is still trying to acquire more land to develop, despite having thousands of acres that are available to develop within their sphere of influence. The next action deadline is August 19, 2020.

The latest move by the City of Elk Grove is called the Multi-Sport Complex Site and Southeast Grant Line Industrial Annexation Area. Here is where the project is in the environmental review process, under the California Environmental Quality Act.

There are four general stages to the CEQA process and the Supplemental EIR:

  1. Notice of Preparation and Scoping – Under this stage, the City provides notice (through a Notice of Preparation) that a Supplemental EIR will be prepared. This provides other local and State agencies, as well as the public, with an opportunity to comment on the scope of the EIR.
  2. Draft SEIR – The City will prepare and release for public comment, a draft Supplemental EIR. The EIR will be available on this page for review and comment.
  3. Final SEIR – The City will review comments received on the draft Supplemental EIR and prepare responses to comments, along with technical corrections to the draft Supplemental EIR. This will be documented in a Final EIR.
  4. Certification – Once the Final Supplemental EIR is prepared, the document will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council for review. The City Council will be asked to certify the document. Once certification is completed the City Council may approve the General Plan amendment, prezoning, and initiate the annexation application with LAFCo.

The Supplemental EIR is currently at Step 1, Notice of Preparation and Scoping. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) has been prepared and is available for review.

The comment period for the NOP is from July 20, 2020 to August 19, 2020. Comments may be mailed, emailed, or submitted using the form on their website.

To learn more, visit the project’s website at http://elkgrovecity.org/city_hall/departments_divisions/city_manager/strategic_planning_and_innovation/multi-_sport_park_complex.

Jackson Township DEIR Comments

On October 31, 2019, Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), Habitat 2020, 350 Sacramento, and Sierra Club provided comments on the Jackson Township Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Below are some excerpts from the letter, followed by a link to the letter in full.

Agricultural Resources

There is insufficient mitigation for farmland lost in the Jackson Township Specific Plan DEIR [Draft Environmental Impact Report]. By converting all this farmland to urban/suburban uses, the GHG emissions will increase due to the increased number of motor vehicle trips (more vehicle miles traveled). Moreover, loss of agricultural resources will reduce the potential for carbon sequestration in the soil by application of compost or regenerative agriculture methods, in addition to the natural processes of plant growth and soil microbial action from farming. There needs to be better mitigation measures to ensure carbon soil sequestration occurs at least as much as it would if the agricultural resources were preserved.

Biological Resources

Use of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP) was offered as one of the options for dealing with California Endangered Species Act (CESA) and Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA) impacts, and it was clearly stated that the hardline preserves identified in the SSHCP conservation strategy would be provided. Since the SSHCP now has its permits and is in the implementation phase, we are assuming that the Jackson Township will be affected by and compliant with the SSHCP.

Climate Change

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on Chapter 9, “Climate Change”, of the County’s Jackson Township Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Our greenhouse gas (GHG)-related comments are presented in the following seven sections. We first discuss the County’s past GHG-reduction commitments, because the DEIR:
I. does not accurately describe County climate planning;
II. uses inappropriate baseline data based on past planning;
III. applies inappropriate thresholds of significance; and
IV. is inconsistent with the County’s 2011 General Plan Update, associated Final Environmental Report (GP/FEIR), and Phase 1 CAP.
We also present,
V. other DEIR-related concerns.
We conclude:
VI. the DEIR is legally insufficient
VII. the County’s failure to provide promised mitigation is contrary to the General Plan.

Click here to read the letter in full
Attachment 1
Attachment 2
Attachment 3
Attachment 4
Attachment 5

North Natomas’ Panhandle Annexation Update, Jul 22, 2019, Sacramento City Express

Despite numerous concerns raised by ECOS and other organizations for over a decade, the panhandle of North Natomas has been approved for the construction of houses, schools, parks, etc. Among these concerns are flooding hazards, negative impacts on wildlife habitat, an increase in air pollution, and various other issues. This article by Sacramento City Express also fails to address the environmental and agricultural concerns related to this plan.