The City of Santa Monica has been working on the update of its Land Use and Circulation Elements (LUCE) of its General Plan for a number of years and is now entering into the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) aspect of the process.The land use element delineates the distribution of different types of buildings (housing, business, industry, open space, etc.) while the circulation element sets out the location of existing and proposed roads, highways, and other modes of transportation. The zoning ordinance translates the land use element’s goals and objectives into standards and procedures. They were last updated in 1984.At the May 18 EIR scoping meeting the City’s EIR consultant Brian Boxer from PBSJ explained that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires an EIR for the LUCE. He then added the EIR “presents an objective evaluation of the physical environmental effects of a proposed action, identifies feasible ways to mitigate potentially significant impacts, considers feasible alternatives to the proposed action, provides an opportunity for public input, and requires decision makers to explain their decisions.”The environmental impact areas that will be studied in the EIR include: land use and planning, population and housing, visual resources, cultural resources, transportation and circulation, air quality and climate change, noise, biological resources, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, hazards and hazardous materials, public services, utilities and service systems, and recreation.The community asked that the EIR study how the City’s Historical Resources Inventory and neighborhood markets can be incorporated into the LUCE as well as the flexibility of the existing built environment. They also requested that a feasibility study be done to see if workforce housing would compete with affordable housing in the City.Another area touched upon by the community was having the EIR study the impacts of the light rail on traffic and parking, the impacts from the proposed light rail stations, impacts from the 275 foot Expo trains and the additional Big Blue Bus (BBB) shuttles that will serve the light rail stations. Community members also suggested the EIR include nearby regional traffic analysis, and – a study of the noise generated from BBB buses that serve Santa Monica College. There was also interest in doing a fiscal impact study of the City’s streetscape plans and looking at the number of neighborhoods in the City.The DEIR is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2009 and will include a 45 day public review period after its completion. The final EIR is estimated to go to the City’s Planning Commission and City Council for certification in the spring of 2010.Those who were unable to attend the meeting can still send their written comments or questions by May 26 to: Ms. Francie StefanCommunity and Strategic Planning ManagerPlanning and Community DevelopmentCity of Santa Monica1685 Main StreetSanta Monica California 90401310.458.8341Fax: [email protected]
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