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Environmental Review Process for Saltworks Proposal Will Provide Facts, Expert Evaluations, and Opportunities for Community Participation

Redwood City, CA – At its meeting of May 24, 2010, the City Council of Redwood City approved the environmental consulting firm Hauge Brueck Associates (at the developer’s cost) to assist with putting the Saltworks proposal through the comprehensive California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process which includes the development of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). As part of the CEQA process, the community will have multiple opportunities to comment on topics they feel should be analyzed, studied, and evaluated in the EIR for the proposal.

The EIR will provide evaluation by experts of the full range of potential impacts, such as traffic, water supply, and air quality, as well as site specific issues such as sea level rise, ecology, and flooding, etc. The EIR may also include specific analyses that the community suggests or finds beneficial.

As part of the CEQA process, the community will first be invited to review the overall schedule for this thorough environmental review process, learn about the CEQA process and how to participate, and attend scoping sessions to help develop the range of alternatives, and identify significant effects, and mitigation measures, to be analyzed in depth in the EIR.  Specifically, the “scoping process” will solicit input regarding alternatives to the development proposal to be evaluated in the EIR, for example, full restoration or the “no project” alternative (continued salt production).

The CEQA process will give us the details and specifics of the potential impacts of the proposal,” said Redwood City Mayor Jeff Ira. “Beginning this summer and in the fall, the community’s role will become critical in shaping the focus of the EIR, what potential environmental impacts will be studied, and what alternatives should be examined - and everyone’s perspective has merit in the scope of this process.  I encourage interested people, from all sides of the issue, to productively take part in this comprehensive environmental process so that the EIR can support the best, most informed decisions on the project.

In general, the initial scoping process is expected to proceed as follows (these time frames are subject to change;  this is not intended to be a firm schedule, rather, it is an estimated guideline for the sequence of activities):

Summer, 2010 – City Council and Planning Commission public sessions at which the anticipated schedule and plan for the CEQA process will be reviewed and discussed;

Mid to Late summer, 2010 – one or more “CEQA Information Workshops” to provide the community with an overview of CEQA, and an outline of the most productive approaches and mechanisms for public input during this process, or the CEQA process for any development;

Fall, 2010 – A series of community scoping meetings to gather comments and information from the public and regulatory agencies on the potential environmental impacts and what other alternatives to the development proposal will be evaluated in the proposal’s EIR.

During the scoping process, the amount and range of community input will help drive the creation of a range of alternatives for further analysis in the EIR. It is not possible at this time to predict the timing of any consideration, review or decision by the City Council or any of the many regulatory agencies involved. However, due to the complexity of this proposal, it is likely to be a multi-year process.

Redwood City is committed to providing ample opportunities for interested community members and agencies to fully participate in public discussion regarding the Saltworks proposal. The CEQA process will provide a robust public participation process, access to detailed information, and the analysis of alternatives and potential impacts, which will inform the discussions and review that must take place concerning this proposal. In order to facilitate a thorough and transparent review process, the City will continue to make details about the CEQA process, studies, and schedule available on its Saltworks informational web site at www.redwoodcity.org/saltworks.

Visit Redwood City’s website at www.redwoodcity.org for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City’s electronic newsletter or other City documents at www.redwoodcity.org/egov.

 

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