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 Brownfields:   Comments on Catellus EIR:  Deferred Mitigations

Catellus EIR

 Cover Letter
  Project Alternative
 Analysis Failures
 Deferred Mitigations
 Report Organization
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Deferred Mitigations

The environmental analysis identified several significant impacts resulting from the Catellus Mixed-use Development and the EIR proposed mitigation measures to reduce these impacts to less than significant levels. In some cases, the EIR is to vague to determine if the mitigation measures will have any effect in reducing impacts. In other cases, the mitigation measures will be identified by a series of piecemeal environmental analysis performed as different areas of the development are constructed.

In January 2000, Renewed HOPE Housing Advocates, East Bay Housing Organizations, ARC Ecology and Clearwater Revival Co. submitted the following comments, to the City of Alameda, on the deferred mitigation measures proposed by the Catellus Mixed-use Development EIR.


Mitigations do not lead to predictable reduction of impacts.

A number of the measures that the EIR proposes to mitigate significant impacts are too vague to qualify as mitigations under CEQA because they rely on future studies that are not required to meet a specified performance standard. Examples of the problem include:

  • Mitigation HAZ-6 appears to call on the City to set standards of "acceptable health risk" in setting building requirements for uses constructed on the benzene plume.

  • Mitigation T/C-2 to reduce traffic safety impacts of a school located at a busy intersection that calls for site planners to "pay close attention" to the issues.

  • Mitigation AQ-1a and 1b requires the developer to take specified preventive actions but does not assign responsibility for enforcement to a public agency (as, for example, by incorporating the requirements into the Master Plan, development plan, or building permits).

  • Mitigation AQ-2 to reduce regional air pollution emissions presents a menu of options with no requirement to adopt any of them and without setting a performance standard for the mitigation to achieve.

  • Mitigation PUB-2a and -2b require a plan to be prepared to reduce the impact of demolition debris on landfills but set no performance standard for the plan to achieve.

  • Mitigation UTL-5 calls for gas line abandonment plan that is to be prepared by an unknown party ("the Project or other responsible entity") to be approved by an unknown entity.

  • Mitigation AES-3 calls for a final design plan for a sound wall and landscape plan that sets a vague standard (no adverse effect on the visual character of the Atlantic Avenue frontage).

Additional Information Required: Set performance standards and procedures that ensure that a predictable lessening of impacts will occur.

Many of the plans called for by the EIR do not have to be approved until the Project has received all of its entitlements, rather than at the earliest possible stage of project planning.

Preparing mitigation plans after approval of the Master Plan, and in many instances, until after approval of the Development Plan, forecloses opportunities for Project-wide mitigations that could be more effective for a project of such a large scale. Opportunities to integrate the mitigations into the design of the Project are, in general, forfeited if the various plans are to be approved after all design decisions have been made. Examples of unnecessary deferral of mitigation plans include the following:

HAZ-6 Measures to avoid exposure to subsurface soil gases Apparently at building permit state To locate buildings elsewhere on Project site where soil gases are not a problem
T/C-1 Traffic Control Plan Required prior to issue of building or grading permits To phase project to minimize problem
T/C-2 Site plan that addresses safety issues Review at granting of encroachment permit To locate buildings elsewhere on Project site where safety is not an issue
T/C-19a TSM Plan Adoption prior to occupancy To cluster development to make transit service more efficient
AQ-2 Measures to reduce air pollution No deadline set To cluster development to make transit service more efficient
PUB-2a and b Plan to manage construction debris No deadline set To phase project to maximize deconstruction opportunities

Correction Required: Provide for mitigation plans to be developed at the earliest possible moment.

Cover Letter - Project Alternative - Analysis Failures - Deferred Mitigations
Report Organization - Land Use - Population and Housing - Traffic - Air Quality
Public Services - Noise - Drainage and Hydrology - Hazards

© 2000 Clearwater Revival Company
January 31, 2000