Get ready to party to agitating, pile driver, hammering noise, and lots of it! The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) did not seem to bat an eye at imposing 28 months of loud, 6 day work-week, intense construction noise to their neighbors despite numerous comments and complaints from community members during the June 23, 2009 hearing.
Before the neighbors are told, “Tough luck, there are overriding considerations as to why you must expect over 2 years of construction noise exceeding the City of Sunnyvale Noise Standards,” CEQA requires there be a thorough analysis of alternatives that could reduce this significant adverse unavoidable environmental impact to a less than significant level.
And . . there wasn’t. This is so despite the numerous comments on the noise problem, noise mitigation or lack thereof.
Councilman David Whittum, a voice of reason, addressed the noise consultant Michael Thill at the June 23 hearing wherein the noise contours were discussed. Whittum suggested that retrofitting the 54 affected homes was the only way to secure compliance with the city’s noise standards.
Whittum’s request for retrofit mitigation was shot down by Councilman Christopher Moylan who quipped that 28 longs months was a “temporary problem.”
David Whittum recommended postponing the PAMF Environmental Impact Report (EIR) certification until feasible mitigation was determined. The other Councilmembers ignored Whittums recommendation and approved the PAMF EIR.
Incidentally, Whittum is well-versed in CEQA law, and I’m surprised that his peers did not listen to his advice. No stranger to this issue, he challenged the City of Sunnyvale in the Mathilda Overcrossing Project EIR in 2007 and WON. According to the ruling, the City provided “no evidence” to support their finding that construction noise impacts had been mitigated in the Project plan.
Whittum’s advice is sound. The current City of Sunnyvale Councilmembers Tony Spitaleri, Christopher Moylan, Ron Swegles, John Howe, Dean Chu, Melinda Hamilton were respondents in that lawsuit (Mathilda Overcrossing Project EIR) and lost.