Rob Eastwood Comments by BayAreaNewsGroup


									EXHIBIT A
File Properties: “Mt. Um. ADEIR comments.doc” Written by: Rob Eastwood (as shown in
above file document “properties”) (grammar and spelling errors have intentionally not been
corrected) Items of concern have been highlighted.
Mt. Umunhum Environmental Restoration and Public Access Project ADEIR
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
County Department of Planning and Development Comments – 6/24/11
Biology - Impact and Mitigation 4-3.1 - Impact to Special Status Species Bat
- Would suggest working very closely with Fish and Game Staff (Dave
Johnston) on this one. We had a similar project (Closure of the UTC Rocket
Plant in the Diablo Range) and ultimately I believe the owner was required to
maintain one underground bunker and build an additional shelter to maintain
bat habitat. Impact 4.3-2 - Special Status Plant Species - Appears that only
'informal' plant surveys were not done. Not sure what these qualify as, likely
terminology is reconnaissance surveys. Without protocol level Floristic
Surveys, would be difficult for the EIR to come to a conclusion that several of
the special status species plants referenced are not there when the basic
habitat is there. Normally, if the basic habitat is present for the specie (based
on natural community, elevation, range) and a complete floristic survey has
not been conducted to determine absence, will need to presume presence.
The mitigation measure currently listed appears a bit thin. Normally will need
to describe in more detail the proper actions to take if the plant species is
present (salvage, re-planting, etc.) rather than just referencing compliance
with DFG / USFW. Mitigation 4.3-2 - Amphibians - These mitigation measures
are also very thin. Need to incorporate pre-construction surveys, monitoring
by biologist, etc. if its presumed that any construction activities (trail
construction) will result in potential take of the Yellow Legged Frog, Red
Legged Frog. Impact and Mitigation 4.3-3 - Impacts to Riparian habitat and
wetlands. This discussion and listing of mitigation measures is also thin. Its
acknowledged that the actual details on constructing trails through wetland
and riparian areas is not known yet. If this is the case, then there are two
options available - (1) This CEQA document could provide a 'worst case
scenario' analysis of the total amount of wetlands and riparian that will be
affected and then provide programmatic mitigation measures (such as
replacement ratios) or (2) Defer analysis of these Page 8 of 14
impacts to a latter CEQA document. The document appears to take the latter
approach, but doesn't anknoledge that this CEQA analysis will need to come
later. The text focuses specifically on wetland impacts and there is no
discusion or analysis of riparian impacts. Also, this section would benefit from
cle ar maps delineating where proposed trail will interface with known
riparian and wetland areas.
Hydrology - Under the subheading Local and then Santa Clara County
General Plan - the Santa Clara Valley Water District is listed, not sure why.
Mitigation Measure 4-4.1 lists the use of straw bales for erosion control - I
believe these are not used anymore. Air Quality Impact 4.7-4 - This
discussion would benefit from a graphic / map showing where the serpentine
areas are. Global Climate Change County's Green Building Ordinance - The
text references the County's green building ordinance for capital buildings.
More appropriate would be reference to the County's Green Building
Ordinance for private buildings. The Green Building Ordinance (available from
the County Building Office website) requires that all private non-residential
building over 5,000 square feet in size be built to obtain LEED Certification
standards. Traffic Discussion references two existing average trips per day
to the summit - curiosity - if the site is closed, what is this? Impact 4.10-1 -
Seems overly conservative to call potential deterioration of Mt. Um Road
from construction traffic a 'significant impact' - this is normally not a CEQA
issues. For potential interface with bike riders, a suggestion that at any key
pinch point areas (heavy truck traffic and potential bike traffic interface)
should consider using a flagger. Cumulative Page 9 of 14
Understood the project is in a very remote location and really no
development activity in the vicinity, however the discussion is hollow and
would suggest referencing ot her projects to create some context to have a
well-reasoned discussion. You could take one of several approaches - (a)
Discuss other federal AFB (radar station) closure and restoration projects
(such as Mill Valley, etc.) - timing of this is likely off but thematically could
make sense (b) disuss other Midpen projects (new acquistions, trails, etc.),
or (c) Discuss other development activity in the region - could reference
hillside residential development plus any other regional parks projects
Cultural Resources – Historical
There is a discrepancy between the CEQA historic resource criteria cited in
Public Resources Code 5024.1 and the designation criteria for the California
Register of Historical Resources posted on the web site for the Office of
Historic Preservation. Public Resources Code 5024.1(c) cites the criteria as
needing to meet the criteria for the National Register of Historic Places, but
tweeks that significance level to California. When you look at the "real"
California Register criteria, it is much more inclusive:
Criterion 1 - Associated with events that have made a significant contribution
to the broad patterns of local or regional history or the cultural heritage of
California or the United States
Criterion 2 - Associated with the lives of persons important to local, California
or national history
Criterion 3 - Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region
or method of construction or represents the work of a master or possesses
high artistic values
Criterion 4 - Has yielded or has the potential to yield information important
to the prehistory or history of the local area, California or the nation
The former Almaden Air Force Station was evaluated in context with the nine
other Early Warning Radar Air Force Stations in California at the time and
was found to not possess any outstanding features or significance in
comparison - "the Almaden Air Force Station does not stand out as
particularly significant compared with other Cold War-era Air Force Stations
in CA". However, these radar facilities were all meant to function in concert
with each other to detect foreign objects in airspace along the Pacific Coast,
so I'm not sure why you would necessarily try to make one more outstanding
than the other. "The facilities and operational tasks for each radar station
were quite similar, and the hierarchy of command was nearly identical Page 10
of 14
   -   aside from those stations which served as a command post or
       headquarter." The Mill Valley Air Force Station (a control center) was
       even determined eligible for listing in the National Register in 1995. I'd
       be interested in seeing that determination/evaluation. I think the
       property needs to be evaluated for its local signficance with regard to
       Cold War resources in Santa Clara County, such as Moffat Field (naval)
       and the resources related to the microwave, missile, satelite and semi-
       conductor industries in Silicon Valley that received government funding
       to development military technology. That's a big part of what made
       the Silicon Valley what it is today. The report says it evaluated the
       property against the County's landmark designation criteria, but that
       the County's criteria is "substantially similar" to the CA Register
       criteria so if it doesn't meet the CA Register criteria, it doesn't meet
       local criteria. That arguement doesn't hold up if they didn't evaluate
       the property for local or regional significance instead of only statewide
       significance. The Draft EIR mentions Austrian Gulch, which is listed in
       the County's Heritage Resource Inventory, but the site may be outside
       the "area of potential effect." The Draft EIR also talks about how Page
       & Turnbull evaluated the site using an Advisory Council publication
       called "Balancing Historic Preservation Needs with the Operation of
       Highly Technical or Scientific Facilities." I'm not sure that this idea
       would apply because the Almaden Air Force Station is not in operation
       and has not been since 1980. Seems like this would apply to
       properties like Stanford University which is in use and constantly
       implementing new technology for academic purposes. The Draft EIR
       makes some statements about County requirements that are not true.
       On Page 4-2.12 the document says that General Plan R-RC 85 applies
       to discretionary action, which is true, but then it goes on to cited
       building permits as an example. Under Santa Clara County Historical
       Preservation Ordinance (Page 4-2.13) it says that proposed demolition
       of on-site structures requires a demolition permit from SCC. Therefore,
       the proposed project is subject to compliance with the historic
       preservation ordinance. This is not true because the property is not
       listed in the Inventory.
The mitigation measures in the Draft EIR are fine, given the conclusion that
the property is not a historic resource. But, as outlined above, I'm not sure
the Draft EIR adequately demonstrates that the property does not meet the
CA Register criteria on the local or regional level.
<End of file “Mt. Um ADEIR comments.doc” from Mr. Rob Eastwood

To top