What? No CEQA EIR for Sunnyvale Peery Park needed?_Council Agenda Oct 8

The Sunnyvale Peery Park LinkedIn Building is a massive 560,000 square foot – four building project. Bizjournal reports the city records show the same developer, DiNapoli, is seeking review for the design of another six-story, 233,400-square-foot building with a four-level parking structure at 767 N. Mathilda Ave. 

Separately, a DiNapoli-affiliated company is also seeking design approval for two four-story buildings totaling 264,000 square feet and a four-level parking garage at 615 N. Mathilda Ave., according to city records.

With these three projects, and certainly more to come, the tentative agenda for the City of Sunnyvale Oct 8, 2013 had previously stated an ordinance and just in the last few days they added waiving CEQA.

It seems the council is going to Find an Exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA] for review procedures for Development Projects within the Peery Park area. The city employees are backing it.

CEQA requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report [EIR] when there is substantial evidence that the project may have a significant effect on the environment. (CEQA Guidelines, Section 15064).    http://ceres.ca.gov/ceqa/guidelines/art5.html 

When any of the following conditions occur the lead agency shall find that a project may have a significant effect on the environment which will require a Mandatory Finding of Significance. Such a finding shall require an EIR to be prepared (CEQA Guidelines Section 15065):

  • When a project has the potential to substantially degrade the quality of the environment,
  • When a project has the potential to achieve short-term goals to the disadvantage of long-term environmental goals;
  • When a project has possible environmental effects which are individually limited but cumulatively considerable;
  • When the environmental effects of a project will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly. § 15065.

An EIR states the significant environmental effect of a project, identifies possible ways to minimize the significant effects, and describes reasonable alternatives to the project.

The city council is going to pretend that it’s OK to declare that establishing Review Procedures for Development Projects within the Peery Park District is exempt from CEQA under Guideline 15061(b)(3) because it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment. 

That guideline actually states:

The activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA.     Guideline 15061(b)(3)    http://ceres.ca.gov/ceqa/guidelines/art5.html

Is the council going to ignore CEQA Guideline 15064.4:

The determination of the significance of greenhouse gas emissions calls for a careful judgment by the lead agency consistent with the provisions in section 15064. A lead agency should make a good-faith effort, based to the extent possible on scientific and factual data, to describe, calculate or estimate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a project.

In my opinion Review Procedures for Development Projects directly address and will directly lead to physical alterations or modifications to existing structures and the environment. “Significant effect on the environment” means a substantial, or potentially substantial, adverse change in any of the physical conditions within the area affected by the project, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, ambient noise.  14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15382.    http://ceres.ca.gov/ceqa/guidelines/art20.html

The Review Procedures will lead to extreme physical changes and overcrowding on the public roads and intersections within and near the designated area. The increased traffic will cause congestion, both of which will lead to a significant increase in automobile and truck exhaust and greenhouse gas emissions spreading over residential areas. The traffic congestion will create public health and safety hazards The procedures will result in significant impacts which threaten the environment in Sunnyvale.   In my opinion, the procedures are NOT exempt from CEQA.

In determining whether an effect will be adverse or beneficial, the Lead Agency shall consider the views held by members of the public in all areas affected as expressed in the whole record before the lead agency. CEQA Guideline 15064(c).

This means everyone should seriously consider showing up and voicing your opinion.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2013 7:00pm


One response to “What? No CEQA EIR for Sunnyvale Peery Park needed?_Council Agenda Oct 8

  1. Gina Senzatimore

    I agree the procedures are not exempt from review. Oversized buildings, traffic, pollution and congestion are only going to get worse. I plan on attending the meeting tonight.

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