Nov 19 2011

Opinion: Supplemental Blair Park EIR is Needed

 Changes in Final Plan Call for Further EIR Analysis –

The following letter was sent to PCA on the need for a Supplemental EIR –

Eric Havian stated, “the opponents now claim that the project has fundamentally changed, requiring a new EIR.”  One opponent is evidently the City of Oakland, which stated Dec. 6, 2010:  “In conclusion, the project wholly fails to meet with CEQA’s requirements.” Oakland’s primary concern is traffic flow, and now there is a new traffic plan not analyzed under the FEIR.

The original traffic plan allowed traffic to flow; the new plan has inserted crosswalks and the Maxwelton mini-roundabout which is designed to “gum up the works”‘ (C. Mamuyac 2/24/11). I presume for Oakland a supplemental EIR including traffic should suffice, not a new EIR.

The FOMC attorney letter is online. Included is a detailed analysis by a traffic engineer with 39 years practice detailing fundamental flaws in the FEIR traffic analysis. A subsequent Piedmont traffic survey confirmed the EIR analyzed speeds used were below the City surveyed speed. Now there is a new traffic plan. Some would argue a new EIR is required; my reading of the FOMC letter is that a supplemental EIR will suffice.

Mr. Delventhal’s Mar. 21, 2011 staff report included: “if the changes to the Project are substantial and may have significant impacts, but only minor additions or changes are necessary to make the certified FEIR adequate, the lead agency may instead prepare a supplement to the EIR (Id., § 15163(a)(2).”

The traffic plan is now different in substance and intent. The sidewalk is new. The Maxwelton mini-roundabout, on a seven degree slope with complete sidewalks impossible, is contrary to Federal Highway Technical Guidelines. The necessity of moving the project eastward to create longer sight-lines has advanced some scale mitigations, but the SE corner of the primary field now appears to be about twenty feet from private property. Are there encroachment issues? The FEIR found no impact on existing utility systems; however, a sewer and other systems require complete relocation. There are substantial changes. I am not an attorney and rely on what is plain language and apparent.

I have not seen a demand for a new EIR. I believe an EIR Supplement will suffice and serve the PRFO in moving their project forward. If this matter is litigated, not doing a supplement when legally required will add a long delay and unneeded expense. A supplement has the additional benefit of allowing reasonable community input and responses not possible in three-minute presentations on Dec. 5.

Rick Schiller

Piedmont, CA

Nov. 13, 2011

Citation reference list (publication optional):

1. City of Oakland Dec. 6, 2010 letter (available online).

2. Transcript of Clarence Mamuyac Feb. 24, 2011 Planning Commission Review

(video available online).

3. Rick Schiller miniroundabout analysis at (available online).

4. City of Piedmont Moraga Avenue 2011 survey re: Federal Highway Funds                      (unpublished).

5. Federal Highway Administration miniroundabout Technical Guidelines

US Dept of Transportation F.H.A FHWA-SA-10-007 (online).

6. Mark Delventhal 3/21/2011 Staff report (available online).

7. LSA EIR Blair Park proposal, see p 67 & p370. (available online).

(This letter expresses the personal opinions of the author.  All statements made are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.)

Leave a Comment