Scoping meeting 

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St Vincents Scoping meeting Sep 10th
  the Video thankyou John Parulis,  Bright Path Video.

I got there early to find about a dozen people already there holding protest banners. 2 of them were dressed as cows holding a banner “Cows don’t drive".
Most of the public presenters represented environmental organizations. And made important points.

Some of the points:-

  • Many people addressed the Traffic issue and wanted to stress how bad it already was and no matter how little St Vincents would add, - any addition to the traffic was unacceptable.
  • Mike Arnold of Marin Citizens for Effective Transportation urged the commission to have the EIR consultants analyze not just traffic and numbers of cars, but the congestion that causes delays.
    "The EIR needs to quantify these kinds of delays," Arnold said. "It needs to quantify for the public how much additional time people will spend in their cars." 

      Moo
      Moo
      Moo
  • It is important that Peer revue be made of all traffic analysis, which must be thorough. The past shows us how biased this analysis can be, especially in the example of Novato where traffic impacts were virtually ignored. The City does not give the impression of being impartial here. (Darn right, they need ST Vincents to make up their State mandated quota of new housing).  
  • Susan Adams requested that developments in Oakwood and Hamilton etc. be included in impact reports and water usage be carefully considered. Landfill must not sink as it did in Santa Venetia, well after the developers have gone. Wildlife habitat destruction needs to be closely looked at.
  • Evaluate any benefit to traffic on increasing reverse commute. (That would refer to the commercial part of the development attracting workers from San Rafael, although the vast majority come from the north)
  • Others questioned  the “affordability” of the 182 units. And whether the 584 other houses would produce more of a negative effect because of their associated demand for services to be met by employing the residents of the affordable units …..
  • Marge Macris, Sierra Club recommended that there be a General Plan Revision before any more EIR. It is not normal for EIR to precede a necessary Gen Plan Revision.  The "No-Development" Alternative is definitely a possibility, not as impossible as the City has been portraying. The Silveira DEVELOPMENT plan MUST be included, (not just a Concept Plan) because Silveira  includes a higher proportion of commercial development. We must ensure provisions that the affordable housing remains affordable, especially in the light of Shapell's history of escaping affordable obligations in Contra Costa. 
  • Barbara Salzman, Marin Audubon Society was pleased the scope included “No Development”, (consideration of the acquisition of the property),  because her organization has been successful in raising money to purchase Bahia, Novato $18 mil. Need to explain how you can include a "Concept Plan" in an EIR   in her experience she has never encountered this. Her written submission includes habitat preservation.
  • Joe Walsh of the Ecumenical Association for housing: “A60 zoning has made this county what it is”. He said the EIR should include an evaluation of the legal aspects of not building on the parcels, noting the county had zoned the Highway 101 corridor for development. (Alluding to the Quid-Pro-Quo in the 70’s Gen Plan where 85% of Marin was designated Open Space. But as I say here we have traffic problems today that we DID NOT have then.)

Some of the discussion:-

  • The Joe Nation bill, merging the governance of SMART Rail, also prohibits a Rail Station at St Vincents-Silveira. (Then why does Silveira’s Concept Plan include a 9 acre Transit Hub next to the railway line?)
  • John Alden, Commissioner, asked the City Manager if “Traffic will need Mitigation” “for instance a school bus etc…” and “would it be too expensive” The city manager said “We need to get extremely creative when it comes to traffic mitigation” (he knows how difficult traffic increase will be to justify)
  • Do a traffic analysis independent of the GAP project. The GAP project would simply move the bottleneck to Larkspur.
  • Look at a Tax on the property as mitigation for its effect on traffic and to pay for transit.
  • Talk of SMART rail figuring into traffic analysis (despite what I say here)
  • Does LAFCO’s mandate not reject development on St Vincents open space?
  • Silveira property will be annexed, even without their consent as St Vincents is larger.                           (StVincent_Annexation.htm)
  • The developer has committed to a “zero net usage of potable water”, no net increase in water usage.
  • A MMWD analysis is imminent.
  • A commissioner:
    • -    stressed how much details were needed on Traffic Counts and Soil reports etc…
    • -    “what are the potential uses of the Honor Farm?” The City replies: “it has potential uses in the Gen Plan”
    • -    “Look at NOT grading the scenic hill”
 

 

 

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