DRAFT EIR MERCED COUNTY ENTERPRISE ZONE

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "DRAFT EIR MERCED COUNTY ENTERPRISE ZONE"

Transcription

1 DRAFT EIR MERCED COUNTY ENTERPRISE ZONE CITY OF ATWATER CITY OF DOS PALOS CITY OF GUSTINE CITY OF LIVINGSTON CITY OF LOS BANOS CITY OF MERCED COUNTY OF MERCED STATE CLEARINGHOUSE NO: MARCH 2008

2

3 DRAFT EIR MERCED COUNTY ENTERPRISE ZONE CITY OF ATWATER CITY OF DOS PALOS CITY OF GUSTINE CITY OF LIVINGSTON CITY OF LOS BANOS CITY OF MERCED COUNTY OF MERCED March 2008 Lead Agency: Contact Person: County of Merced 2222 M Street Merced, CA Robert A. Lewis Development Services Director Merced County Planning Phone: (209) Fax: (209) Consultant: 5110 West Cypress Avenue Visalia, CA Contact Person: Carolyn (Carri) Diltz, CEcD Phone: (559) Fax: (559)

4

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary Introduction...ES-1 Project Objectives...ES-1 Project Description...ES-2 Alternatives to the Project...ES-2 Potential Areas of Controversy and Issues to be Resolved...ES-3 Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures...ES-4 Chapter One Introduction 1.1 Proposed Action Procedures Methodology Organization of the EIR Chapter Two Project Description 2.1 The Project and Project Objective Project Location Project Description Use of the EIR/Required Agency Actions and Permits Chapter Three Setting, Impacts and Mitigation Measures 3.1 Introduction Aesthetics Agricultural Air Quality Biological Resources Cultural Resources Geology/Soils Hazards and Hazardous Materials Hydrology and Water Quality Land Use/Planning Mineral Resources Noise Population and Housing Public Services Recreation and Parks Transportation/Traffic Utility Systems and Facilities i

6 Chapter Four Evaluation of Alternatives 4.1 Introduction Infeasible Alternative Location Discussion of Alternatives Comparisons Chapter Five Cumulative Impacts Introduction Cumulative Projects Cumulative Impacts Analysis Chapter Six Mandatory CEQA Sections 6.1 Unavoidable Significant Environmental Effects Growth-Inducing Impacts Effects Not Found to be Significant Appendices Appendix A Appendix B Notice of Preparation and Initial Study Notice of Preparation Comment Letters LIST OF TABLES Table Description ES-1 Summary of Potential Impacts, Proposed Mitigation Measures, and Level of Significance...ES Enterprise Zone Acreage by Agency Subsequent Permits, Approvals, Review and Consultation Requirements Select CARB Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategies Federal and State Ambient Air Quality Standards Summary of Annual Ambient Air Quality Data ( ) San Joaquin Valley Air Basin 2004 Toxic Emissions Inventory (By Type) Groundborne Vibration Impact Criteria Merced County Fire Station Locations City of Merced Fire Stations Merced County School Districts Federal, State and Local Parks in Merced County Private Recreational Facilities in Merced County ii

7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure Description Regional Location of Project Merced County Enterprise Zone Map A Project Area Cities of Gustine, Los Banos and Dos Palos Detail B Project Area City of Merced Detail C Project Area City of Atwater Detail D Project Area City of Livingston Detail Important Farmland Locations, Merced County Williamson Act Contract Parcels, Merced County California Air Basin and Counties SJVAPCD Monitoring Station Locations Historic Habitat and Sensitive Communities, Special-Status Species, Merced County Project Area Wetlands, Merced County Land Use and Noise Compatibility Circulation System Merced County Reduced Project Area Alternative iii

8

9 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

10

11 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Introduction Merced County and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced have submitted an application to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for the establishment of an 42,730-acre California Enterprise Zone that covers portions of Merced County and certain areas within the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced. A previous Enterprise Zone expired in 2006; that zone included 7,812 acres. The goal of the Enterprise Zone is to generate new private sector economic growth in disadvantaged areas of these jurisdictions. Enterprise Zones seek to stimulate business and industrial growth by providing tax credits including credit for hiring qualified employees. The Enterprise Zone does not change any land use designations, zoning, or use permits, and does not propose any specific development. Future projects within the Enterprise Zone will be subject to approval and environmental review from the local agency with jurisdiction. Section 7075 of the Government Code requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prior to approval of the designation. On September 5, 2006, a Notice of Preparation (NOP) was circulated for review and comment from responsible, trustee, and local agencies. A copy of the NOP and copies of written responses are included in Appendix A of this Draft EIR. The Draft EIR has been prepared in accordance with CEQA statutes and guidelines and is an informational document intended to inform public decision makers, responsible or interested agencies, and the general public of the potential environmental effects of the proposed project and, where applicable, mitigation measures that can be implemented to reduce or avoid the potential adverse environmental effects. While CEQA requires that major consideration be given to avoiding adverse environmental effects, the lead agency and other responsible public agencies must balance any adverse environmental effects against other public objectives, including the economic and social benefits of a proposed project, in determining whether a proposed project should be approved. Project Objectives The objectives of the project are to provide a mechanism whereby chronically deteriorated areas in Merced County and its cities may be revitalized, difficult-to-hire County residents may be hired in private sector jobs, business growth in the County is stimulated, and retention, expansion and reward of businesses that participate in the achievement of the other objectives is encouraged. The achievement of these objectives will permit Merced County and its cities to continue to compete effectively with nearby Counties which have adopted Enterprise Zones and to sustain or accelerate existing commercial and industrial development rates. Draft Environmental Impact Report ES - 1

12 Project Description The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced (collectively, the project proponents ) are requesting establishment of a California Enterprise Zone on approximately 42,730 acres. The State of California approved the Enterprise Zone Act, establishing a mechanism to stimulate employment generation and business growth in economically distressed areas throughout the State. The Enterprise Zone is a long-term partnership with local governments and private companies to generate new private sector investment and growth. The State provides performance-based tax incentives to Enterprise Zone businesses. An Enterprise Zone is an area in which companies are eligible for State incentives and programs not available to businesses located outside of the Enterprise Zone. State incentives available to companies include: tax credits for sales and use tax paid on machinery purchases; tax credits for hiring qualified employees; interest deductions for lenders on loans to firms within an Enterprise Zone; fifteen year net operating loss carry-forward; accelerated expensing deduction; and priority for various State programs, such as State contracts. Enterprise Zones must be located in areas that are considered economically depressed with higher than average unemployment rates. By offering incentives and programs only available in Enterprise Zones, these areas can attract and retain companies that would not otherwise locate, stay, or expand there. Both existing companies and new companies can take advantage of the incentives. The designation of an Enterprise Zone in the County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced (hereinafter called the project area or the Planning Area ) will not have a direct impact upon the environment. It is anticipated that the Enterprise Zone designation may sustain or accelerate development in the industrial and/or commercial areas of these jurisdictions. There is not any available data that would enable a precise growth rate to be calculated. All development applications within the Enterprise Zone must be consistent with the adopted General Plan(s) and must comply with the standards of the zoning ordinance(s), as well as all other applicable codes and ordinances within the jurisdiction that the project is located. The Enterprise Zone does not authorize any urban development; rather it is an overlay designation designed to facilitate new and expanding development. Alternatives to the Project Section of the State CEQA Guidelines requires the EIR to describe a reasonable range of alternatives to the project or to the location of the project which would reduce or avoid significant impacts, and which could feasibly accomplish the basic objectives of the proposed project, and to evaluate the comparative merits of the alternatives. Alternatives that would Draft Environmental Impact Report ES - 2

13 reduce or avoid significant impacts represent an environmentally superior alternative to the proposed project. However, if the environmentally superior alternative is the No Project Alternative, the EIR must also identify an environmentally superior alternative among the other alternatives. Based upon the analysis contained and documented in this EIR, the No Project Alternative is the environmentally superior alternative. An alternative location was considered but eliminated based on it not meeting the project objectives. The project location in the County is that which meets the Enterprise Zone criteria of the Department of Housing and Community Development. A location outside the County would not achieve the project objectives. The alternatives identified for consideration are as follows: No Project Alternative - Under this alternative, the Enterprise Zone designation would not occur. This alternative assumes that land which would have been within the boundaries of the proposed project would not receive any tax incentives, but would still be developed consistent with adopted General Plan(s) for each jurisdiction or land use zoning and entitlements, although the potential to sustain or accelerate development due to the Enterprise Zone tax incentive would be eliminated. This alternative assumes that there are not any other effective economic development stimulants that would achieve the project objectives. Reduced Area Alternative - This alternative would restrict the Enterprise Zone designation to a smaller area by excluding all agriculturally-zoned parcels within the unincorporated areas of Merced County containing existing permitted industrial uses. This alternative reduces the County s portion of the project area to 8,355 acres including connecting roads, parcels in unincorporated communities, and the I-5 intersection radii. The potential for sustained or accelerated growth associated with the tax incentive would be reduced by the reduction in designated area. This alternative would have a slight environmental advantage over the proposed project. However, it only partially meets the project objectives by eliminating potentially valuable sources of employment in agriculturally related industries permitted in the agricultural zones of unincorporated Merced County. Chapter Four of this EIR analyzed the project alternatives. The No Project Alternative was found, due to reduced air quality, to be the environmentally superior alternative. The Reduced Area Alternative was found, for the same reason, to be superior to the proposed project. Potential Areas of Controversy and Issues to be Resolved The following issues are most likely to produce controversy in reviewing and considering the proposed project: Agricultural Resources: A potential for additional loss of prime agricultural land. Air Quality: A potential for an accelerated rate of development that would increase air quality impacts in an area that is already designated as non-attainment by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. Draft Environmental Impact Report ES - 3

14 Growth Inducement: The project is intended to be an economic development project that offers tax incentives to new and expanding businesses, the result of which would indirectly induce growth by creating new jobs. Transportation/Traffic: A potential for any impacts due to a sustained or accelerated rate of development. Biological Resources: Potential habitat conversion or impacts to wildlife resources. Utilities and Service Systems: Growth stimulated by the Enterprise Zone causing the need for new sewer and water infrastructure which is limited in several cities and unincorporated communities. These issues are discussed in detail in the main body of the environmental impact report. Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures Section 15123(b)(1) of the Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (State CEQA Guidelines) provides that the summary shall identify each significant effect with proposed mitigation measures that would reduce or avoid that effect. This information is summarized in Table ES-1, Summary of Potential Impacts, Proposed Mitigation Measures, and Level of Significance. Draft Environmental Impact Report ES - 4

15 Table ES-1 Summary of Potential Impacts, Proposed Mitigation Measures, and Level of Significance Impact Number Impact 3.4 AIR QUALITY Impact #3.4-1 Air Quality Plan Conflicts with or obstructs implementation of the applicable air quality plans Mitigation Number Mitigation Measure -- No mitigation measures beyond those identified in General Plans, are available Level of Significance After Mitigation Significant and Unavoidable Impact #3.4-2 Air Quality Standards Violates any air quality standard or contributes substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation -- No mitigation measures available beyond those contained in General Plans are available Significant and Unavoidable Impact #3.4-6 Greenhouse Gases/ Climate Change Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change -- No mitigation measures available Significant and Unavoidable 5.2 CUMULATIVE IMPACTS Impact #5.1 Cumulative ozone impacts (ROG and Ozone NOx), ambient -- No mitigation measures available Significant and Unavoidable Impact #5.2 PM10/PM2.5 Cumulative PM10 and PM2.5 impacts, ambient -- No mitigation measures available Significant and Unavoidable Impact #5.3 Greenhouse Gases/ Climate Change Global climate change impacts from contributing greenhouse gas emissions -- No mitigation measures available Significant and Unavoidable Draft Environmental Impact Report ES - 5

16

17 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

18

19 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Proposed Action The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced (collectively, the project proponents ) are requesting the re-establishment of a California Enterprise Zone in Merced County on approximately 42,730 acres. The State of California has approved the Enterprise Zone Act, establishing a mechanism to stimulate employment generation and business growth in economically distressed areas throughout the State. The Enterprise Zone is a long-term partnership with local governments and private companies to generate new private sector investment and growth. The State of California provides performance based tax incentives to Enterprise Zone businesses to revitalize chronically deteriorated areas; clean-up blighted areas; hire the most difficult-to-hire residents in private sector jobs; and retain, expand, and reward businesses that participate in the above-mentioned state objectives. An Enterprise Zone is an area in which companies are eligible for State incentives and programs including the following: tax credits for sales and use tax paid on machinery purchases; tax credits for hiring qualified employees; interest deductions for lenders on loans to firms within an Enterprise Zone; fifteen year net operating loss carry-forward; accelerated expensing deduction; and priority for various State programs, such as State contracts. Enterprise Zones must be located in areas that are considered economically depressed with higher than average unemployment rates. By offering incentives and programs only available in Enterprise Zones, these areas can attract and retain companies that would not otherwise locate, stay, or expand there. Both existing companies and new companies can take advantage of the incentives. An Enterprise Zone was previously established in Merced County in This Zone included approximately 7,812 acres. The Zone designation expired in 2006; however, State law allows the designation to be re-established upon approval by the State of the resubmitted application, and it is again in effect. The proposed Enterprise Zone designation applies to eligible portions of Merced County and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced. The reestablishment of an Enterprise Zone will not have a direct impact upon the environment. Although it is anticipated that the Enterprise Zone designation will assist development in the industrial and/or commercial areas of the County and its cities, it should be assumed that its reestablishment will simply allow the continuation of the business retention and commercial/industrial growth rate that has occurred during the past decades when the previous Zone was in effect. The Enterprise Zone will allow the County and its cities to continue to Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-1

20 compete effectively with neighboring local jurisdictions and with the balance of the State for development and job growth. The areas included in the Zone include: General Plan-designated industrial and commercial areas and industrially and commercially zoned parcels within the corporate boundaries of the six cities. General Plan-designated industrial and commercial areas in the, unincorporated, Sphere of Influence of each city. General Plan-designated industrial and commercial areas and industrially and commercially zoned parcels in the County. General Plan-designated agricultural parcels which have conditional use permit approval for industrial usage, generally but not exclusively for agriculturally-related industry, in the County. County General Plan-designated commercial development areas around interchanges on Interstate 5. Other parcels, and connecting roads and highways, essential to maintain contiguity of all the industrial and commercial areas and parcels in the Zone. Not every industrial or commercial property within the County and its cities is included in the zone; some, for example, are located in and near an area in Merced which is not considered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development s (HCD s) regulations to be income-eligible for Zone inclusion. Other areas or parcels which may in the future be General Plan-designated or zoned for industrial or commercial development will not be included in the Enterprise Zone. Areas or parcels included for contiguity purposes in the Zone but not General Plan-designated or zoned for industrial or commercial land use will receive no benefits nor accrue any rights for industrial or commercial development from such inclusion. All development applications within the Enterprise Zone must be consistent with existing, General Plan(s) and must comply with the standards of each local agency s Zoning Ordinance(s), as well as all other applicable codes and ordinances within the jurisdiction in which the project is located. The Enterprise Zone does not authorize any urban development; rather it is an overlay designation designed to facilitate new and expanding development. 1.2 Procedures It has been determined that an EIR must be prepared for the proposed project in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). On September 5, 2006, a Notice of Preparation (NOP) was circulated for review and comment from responsible, trustee, and local agencies. All responses received as a result of the NOP were considered and, as appropriate, are incorporated into the EIR. Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-2

21 Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Appendix G, the following topical areas will be discussed in the EIR: aesthetics; land use/planning; agriculture resources; mineral resources; air quality; noise; biological resources; population and housing; climate change/global warming; public services; cultural resources; recreation; geology/soils; transportation/traffic; and hazards/hazardous materials; utilities/service systems. hydrology/water quality; Section 15121(a) of the Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (State CEQA Guidelines) defines an EIR as an informational document that will:...inform public agency decision-makers and the public generally of the significant environmental effects of a project, identify possible ways to minimize the significant effects, and describe reasonable alternatives to the project. As defined by Section of the State CEQA Guidelines, a project is any action that...has a potential for resulting in either a direct physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment... Section of the State CEQA Guidelines requires decision-makers to balance the benefits of a proposed project against any unavoidable adverse environmental effects of the project. If the benefits of the project outweigh the unavoidable adverse environmental effects, then the decision-makers may adopt a statement of overriding considerations, finding that the environmental effects are acceptable in light of the project benefits to the public. Under CEQA, the Lead Agency is usually the public agency with authority to approve or deny the project or the agency which takes the first action to implement the project. The project proponents have determined that Merced County will act as Lead Agency. Under Section of the State CEQA Guidelines, a Responsible Agency is a public agency other than the Lead Agency that has discretionary approval authority over the project, and will utilize the EIR prepared for the County. Among the responsible agencies for this project are the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced, as well as the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD). (HCD must consider the EIR in its Zone application evaluation process.) The CEQA process requires that the Lead Agency seriously consider input from other interested agencies, citizen groups, and individuals. It also provides for a public process requiring full public disclosure of the expected environmental consequences of the proposed action. The public must be given a meaningful opportunity to comment. Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-3

22 CEQA requires a public review period, normally 45 days, for commenting on the Draft EIR. During the review period, any agency, group or individual may comment in writing on the Draft EIR, and the Lead Agency must respond to each comment on environmental issues in the Final EIR. If the Lead Agency finds that the Final EIR is adequate and complete, the Lead Agency may certify the Final EIR in writing in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15091, and if applicable, Section The rule of adequacy generally holds that the EIR can be certified if: 1) the EIR shows a good faith effort of full disclosure of environmental information; and 2) the EIR provides sufficient analysis to allow decisions to be made regarding the project in contemplation of environmental considerations. Section specifies that the Lead Agency shall present written findings of any environmental impacts and the changes made to lessen the impact or the reason why such mitigation is infeasible. Section requires a statement of overriding considerations in cases where the Lead Agency deems the project s benefits outweigh unavoidable environmental risks. Public Resources Code Section (a) and CEQA Guidelines Section require lead agencies to adopt a reporting or mitigation monitoring program to describe measures that have been adopted or made a condition of project approval in order to mitigate or avoid significant effects on the environment. Any mitigation measures adopted by the Lead Agency as conditions for approval of the project must be included in a Mitigation Monitoring/Reporting Program to verify compliance. This Program must be adopted by resolution at the time of project approval. 1.3 Methodology It has been determined that a program-level EIR should be prepared for the proposed Enterprise Zone. A program-level EIR is described in Section of the State CEQA Guidelines as a first-tier document prepared for an agency program or series of actions that can be characterized as one large project. Typically, such a project involves actions that are closely related geographically; are logical parts in a chain of contemplated actions; in connection with issuance of rules, regulations, plans, or other general criteria to govern the conduct of a continuing program; or as individual activities carried out under the same authorizing statutory or regulatory authority and having generally similar environmental effects which can be mitigated in similar ways. The proposed Enterprise Zone is evaluated only at a program level of detail in this EIR. This EIR is intended to provide the information and environmental analysis necessary to assist public agency decision-makers in considering the approvals necessary to implement the proposed Zone. The EIR will focus on the environmental aspects outlined below: Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-4

23 Aesthetics. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on scenic vistas and the overall appearance of the project in the community context. Issues of light and glare are included as Aesthetics issues. Agricultural Resources. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on farmland and agricultural productivity. Environmental concerns focus on the loss of agricultural cropland as inventoried by the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency, as well as agricultural zoning and Williamson Act Contract lands. An additional area of concern is potential changes resulting from a project that could lead to future conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses. Air Quality. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on air quality, including issues of project consistency with applicable air quality plans, policies and regulations, and increases of any pollutant for which the project area has been designated as nonattainment. Additional concerns are exposure of sensitive receptors to high levels of air pollution and odors, and climate change precursors. Biological Resources. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on biological resources such as sensitive plant or animal species or their habitat, or on riparian habitat or interference with the normal movements of wildlife species in the vicinity of a project. Additional concerns focus on consistency of a project with adopted plans, policies, and regulations regarding wildlife, habitat conservation plans, local wildlife preservation plans or policies or wetland protection policies. Cultural Resources. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on cultural resources including, but not limited to, an adverse change to a significant historical or archaeological resource. Other areas of concern include the potential for a project to adversely impact a unique paleontological resource or geologic feature or to disturb any human remains. Geology/Soils. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of natural geologic or soil conditions from a project. Specific concerns include earthquakes and seismic related hazards, or unstable soils. Hazards/Hazardous Materials. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project with respect to hazards. The creation of new hazardous conditions, or activities that will result in people or property being exposed to existing hazards, is the primary area of consideration under this issue. Hazards include, but are not limited to, hazardous materials, and hazards associated with aircraft and airports or wildland fires. An additional concern is the consistency of a project with emergency response plans or emergency evacuation plans. Hydrology/Water Quality. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on surface and groundwater, including compliance with water quality standards and regulations, depletion of groundwater supplies, and pollution or degradation of water quality. Additional concerns include water-related hazards such as flooding or mudflows. This area of environmental concern also addresses potential project impacts on area drainage including stormwater runoff. Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-5

24 Land Use/Planning. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on adopted land use, habitat conservation or natural community conservation plans. The focus of this area of environmental concern are potential project conflicts with established plans and policies or the potential for the project to physically divide a community. Mineral Resources. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on known mineral resources of commercial or otherwise documented economic value. Noise. This subsection of the EIR considers both the creation of new sources of noise and vibration and the increased exposure of people to existing sources of noise and vibration. Population/Housing. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on population and housing including population growth or displacement of human population and housing. Public Services. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on public service facility needs and the potential environmental impacts of developing and/or expanding these facilities. Facility needs can be defined by the need to maintain acceptable levels of service such as response times or such other community service standards as may apply. Recreation. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on recreation, including existing recreational facilities, or the creation of a future need for new facilities. Transportation/Traffic. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on transportation systems including roads and highways, public transportation systems, pedestrian circulation and access, parking, or emergency access. Impacts can be in the form of new hazardous circulation or traffic conditions, conflict with existing plans or policies, or creation of an unacceptable level of traffic congestion on a transportation system or facility. Utilities/Service Systems. This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on public utility systems or facilities such as water, wastewater, stormwater drainage or other utility or service system. 1.4 Organization of the EIR CHAPTER ONE Chapter One briefly describes the purpose of and procedures for environmental evaluation of the proposed project, the contents and organization of the Draft EIR, and a brief methodology discussion. CHAPTER TWO Chapter Two provides the project location, project description, project objectives, the uses of the EIR, and required agency actions and permits. Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-6

25 CHAPTER THREE Chapter Three provides an environmental analysis that evaluates each topical area. Each topical area is organized as follows: Introduction. Each environmental topic is preceded by a description of the topic and a brief statement of the rationale for addressing the topic. Regulatory Setting. This section includes a discussion of the regulatory environment that may be applicable to the proposed project. Physical Setting. This section includes a description of the existing environment in and around the project area. Thresholds of Significance. Thresholds of significance are the standards or thresholds by which impacts are measured, with the objective being the determination of whether an impact will be significant or less than significant. Project Impacts and Mitigation Measures. Each impact associated with an environmental topic is described and listed by number for reference. Each required and feasible mitigation measure is described and listed by number. Existing regulations with which the project must comply are described, but are not treated as mitigation measures that must be repeated in the EIR. CHAPTER FOUR Chapter Four describes and evaluates alternatives to the proposed project. The proposed project is compared to each alternative, and the environmental ramifications of each are analyzed. Per requirements of CEQA Guidelines [d][2], the No Project alternative must be considered to compare the environmental consequences of the project as proposed to the consequences of taking no action. CHAPTER FIVE Chapter Five describes the cumulative effects of the proposed project. CHAPTER SIX Chapter Six evaluates and describes the following CEQA required topics: impacts considered less-than-significant, significant and irreversible impacts, growth inducing effects, cumulative and significant and unavoidable environmental effects. APPENDICES References to published literature or technical reports cited in the text have been included at the end of this Draft EIR to facilitate full environmental review of the proposed project. Also included are the names of individuals and agencies contacted for information during EIR preparation. Draft Environmental Impact Report 1-7

26

27 CHAPTER TWO PROJECT DESCRIPTION

28

29 CHAPTER TWO PROJECT DESCRIPTION 2.1 The Project and Project Objective The proposed project is the establishment of an enterprise zone in portions of Merced County and in designated areas within, and in the Sphere of Influence for, the Merced County incorporated cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced. The County and its cities are considered to have high unemployment and low income. The objectives of the project are to provide a mechanism whereby chronically deteriorated areas in Merced County and its cities may be revitalized, difficult-to-hire County residents may be hired in private sector jobs, business growth in the County is stimulated and retention, expansion and reward of businesses that participate in the achievement of the other objectives is encouraged. The achievement of these objectives will permit Merced County and its cities to continue to compete effectively with nearby Counties which have adopted Enterprise Zones and to sustain or accelerate existing commercial and industrial development rates. 2.2 Project Location The project includes areas within the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced, as well as areas in unincorporated Merced County. Figure presents the regional vicinity of the project. Figure illustrates the overall project area. Figures 2.2-2A through 2.2-2D provide larger scale illustrations of project area components, including the cities and their corresponding Spheres of Influence (SOIs) 1. The project area components include: City of Atwater The City of Atwater is located in north-central Merced County, approximately eight miles northwest of the City of Merced, the County seat, and has a population of 27, Highway 99 bisects the southern portion of the City. Industrial uses are designated along the Highway 99 corridor, with commercial uses scattered throughout the remainder of the City. The Enterprise Zone designation within the City and its SOI totals approximately 2,234 acres. City of Dos Palos The City of Dos Palos is located in south-central Merced County, approximately 28 miles southwest of the City of Merced, the County seat, and has a population of 4, Industrial and commercial uses are designated throughout the City. The Enterprise Zone designation within the City and its SOI totals approximately 620 acres. 1 Unincorporated areas surrounding cities delineated as potentially subject to annexation and development within ten years dependent upon economic conditions and development pressure. 2 State Department of Finance, May, Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-1

30 REGIONAL LOCATION OF PROJECT Merced County Enterprise Zone Draft Environmental Impact Report Figure March

31

32 MERCED COUNTY ENTERPRISE ZONE MAP Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-3

33 PROJECT AREA CITIES OF GUSTINE, LOS BANOS, AND DOS PALOS DETAIL Figure 2.2-2A Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-4

34

35

36 PROJECT AREA CITY OF MERCED DETAIL Figure 2.2-2B Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-5

37 PROJECT AREA CITY OF ATWATER DETAIL Figure 2.2-2C Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-6

38

39

40 PROJECT AREA CITY OF LIVINGSTON DETAIL Figure 2.2-2D Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-7

41 City of Gustine The City of Gustine is located in western Merced County, approximately 30 miles west of the City of Merced, the County seat, and has a population of 5, Highway 33 begins in the northeasterly portion of the city and runs south. Industrial and general service commercial uses are designated along the eastern boundary of the Highway 33 corridor, with commercial uses scattered throughout the remainder of the City. The Enterprise Zone designation within the city and its SOI totals approximately 222 acres. City of Livingston The City of Livingston is located in north central Merced County, approximately 20 miles northwest of the City of Merced, the County seat, and has a population of 12, Highway 99 bisects the center of the city from the northwest to the southeast. Industrial uses are generally designated in the northwest and eastern portions of the city, with commercial uses scattered throughout the remainder of the City. The Enterprise Zone designation within the City and its SOI totals approximately 1,463 acres. City of Los Banos The City of Los Banos is located in southwest Merced County, approximately 35 miles southwest of the City of Merced, the County seat, and has a population of 34, Highway 152 bisects the City from east to west; industrial and major commercial uses are designated along its far western and eastern reaches. Other commercial uses are scattered throughout the remainder of the City. The Enterprise Zone designation within the City and its SOI totals approximately 1,682 acres. City of Merced The City of Merced is located in eastern Merced County and serves as the County seat. The City has the largest population of all incorporated jurisdictions in the County, 76, Highway 99 bisects the center of the City from the northwest to the southeast. Industrial and business park uses are primarily designated on the western and eastern boundaries of the city, with commercial uses scattered throughout the remainder of the City. The Enterprise Zone applies to all industrial, commercial, and retail zoned areas in the City of Merced with the exception of those areas within Census Tracts 9.03, 11.02, and a portion of Tract 11.01, located in the northern and eastern areas of the City. The excluded census tracts consist predominately of residential uses with limited commercial and business park uses. These areas do not meet the State of California definition of a disadvantaged area. The Enterprise Zone designation within the city and its SOI totals approximately 6,577 acres. County of Merced Most of the area of the County of Merced is outside incorporated city boundaries. The County s total unincorporated population is 86, Although the majority of the unincorporated lands are designated for agricultural and open space uses, a number of unincorporated communities such as Delhi, Santa Nella, Planada, and Hilmar offer industrial and commercial uses within their urban development boundaries, and these designations are included within the proposed Enterprise Zone boundary. County General Plan-designated development areas for Interstate Route 5 interchanges and other industrially-zoned properties are included with appropriately-zoned unincorporated community parcels in the Enterprise Zone. The total County Enterprise Zone designation (outside the cities 3 State Department of Finance, May Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-8

42

43 and their SOIs) is 29,932 acres. (Again, the unincorporated portions of Census Tracts 9.03, and a portion of Tract 11.01, all located along the outskirts of the City of Merced, are excluded from designation). 2.3 Project Description Enterprise Zones are authorized by State law. Their designations are valid for 15 years. Tax credits, including credit for hiring qualified (low-income) employees are applicable for five years, extending beyond the life of the Enterprise Zone if claimed and approved during the final five years of Zone life. This Enterprise Zone designation replaces a previous Merced County Enterprise Zone program consisting of a total of 7,811.9 acres and including some of the acreage in this re-established area within the jurisdictions of the County of Merced and the Cities of Atwater, Livingston and Merced. Although the original Zone designation has expired, State law provides that when an application to re-establish an expired Zone is granted conditional designation, the new Zone benefits commence on the day the previous Zone expires. Therefore, the tax benefits described below are already in effect in the original Zone. The proposed Zone contains approximately 42,730 acres. Table Enterprise Zone Acreage by Agency City of Atwater (1) 2,234 City of Dos Palos (1) 620 City of Gustine (1) 222 City of Livingston (1) 1,463 City of Los Banos (1) 1,682 City of Merced (1) 6,577 Merced County (2) 29,932 Total 42,730 Source: Quad Knopf, Inc (1) Incorporated City plus Sphere of Influence (2) County, not including Sphere of Influence In the County portion of the Zone, industrial development for ag-related industry is permitted by special use permit on parcels zoned for agriculture; such developed or partially developed parcels, approximately 24,701 acres in extent, including connecting road right of way are also included in the proposed Zone as are 5,231 acres in the one-mile development radii around four Interstate Route I-5 interchanges which have been designated by the County for planned highway commercial development. Both in the cities and in the County, limited acreages of residential, institutional, and open space zoned parcels are included (primarily) as required to maintain legally-required zone contiguity. Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-9

44 Enterprise Zones must be located in areas that are considered economically depressed with higher than average unemployment rates. By offering incentives and programs only available in Enterprise Zones, these areas may attract and retain companies that would not otherwise locate, stay, or expand there. Both existing companies and new companies can take advantage of the incentives. The benefits of the Enterprise Zone include: State tax credits for hiring qualified employees, State tax credits for sales or use taxes paid for certain property, 15-year net operating loss (NOL) carryover, and accelerated expense deductions. The establishment of an Enterprise Zone does not change any land use designations, and does not propose any specific development (i.e. it is not a zone found in the county or City s Zoning Codes which authorizes and regulates development). The Enterprise Zone does not authorize any urban development; rather it is an overlay designation authorized by the State. Development within the Enterprise Zone must be consistent with adopted General Plan(s) and zoning classifications and is subject to approval and environmental review from the local agency with jurisdiction PROJECT ALTERNATIVES The following alternatives are considered in this EIR and discussed in Chapter 4. Alternative 1: No Project Alternative Alternative 2: Reduced Size Alternative As the proposed Enterprise Zone designation must encompass essentially developed or potentially developable areas, no Alternative Location was considered COMPATIBILITY WITH GENERAL PLAN AND OTHER PLANS AND POLICIES Under State law, all development, including development within the Enterprise Zone, must be consistent with General Plan(s) and must comply with Zoning Ordinance(s), as well as all other applicable codes and ordinances within the jurisdiction in which the development is, or is proposed to be, located. Development that is not consistent with the pertinent General Plan or Zoning Ordinance must receive approval of a General Plan amendment or a rezone prior to development. The Enterprise Zone is consistent with the following plans and environmental documents: County of Merced General Plan adopted on December 4, 1990 with an Initial Study/Negative Declaration adopted June 27, City of Atwater General Plan and Final EIR adopted on July 24, SCH No City of Dos Palos General Plan Final EIR adopted on June 18, 1991, SCH No City of Gustine General Plan and Final EIR adopted on February 4, 2002, SCH No City of Livingston General Plan and Final EIR adopted on November 16, 1999, SCH No Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-10

45 City of Los Banos General Plan and Final EIR adopted on December 17, 2003, SCH No City of Merced General Plan and Final EIR adopted on April 7, 1997, SCH No Use of the EIR/Required Agency Actions and Permits This EIR is intended to be a program-level environmental document for the adoption of the Enterprise Zone. Under CEQA, the Lead Agency (Merced County) is the public agency with authority to approve or deny this proposed project. The Lead Agency has the authority to certify the EIR. Under of the CEQA Guidelines, a Responsible Agency is a public agency other than the Lead Agency that has discretionary approval authority over the proposed project. The cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced, as well as the California Department of Housing and Community Development, are responsible agencies with such approval authority. Because the proposed project is not a development proposal it does not require any permits or approvals by other state agencies. If a development application is submitted to the Lead Agency or to one of the local government responsible agencies for development within the Enterprise Zone area, there is a possibility that one or several State agencies would have approval authority. These agencies may include, but are not limited to, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, Caltrans and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Permits may also be required from federal agencies for development in some circumstances. Typical permits that may be required to develop land or otherwise establish an industrial or commercial use within the project area are included below in Table Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-11

46 Table Subsequent Permits, Approvals, Review and Consultation Requirements Agency County of Merced City of Atwater City of Dos Palos City of Gustine City of Livingston City of Los Banos City of Merced Caltrans California Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Valley Region) California Department of Fish and Game U.S. Army Corp of Engineers U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District State Department of Housing and Community Development Approval Tentative Subdivision Maps, Conditional Use Permits, Development Proposals, Grading Permits, Building Permits, Occupancy Permits, Business Licenses Encroachment Permits for projects with access to a State Highway NPDES General Construction Permit, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, Report of Waste Discharge Section 1600 Streambed Alteration Agreement Section 404 Permit Section 7 or Section 10 Permit Air Emission Permits (Authority to Construct, Authority to Operate, etc.) Enterprise Zone Application (and subsequent review of performance) Draft Environmental Impact Report 2-12

47 CHAPTER THREE SETTING, IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES

48

49 CHAPTER THREE SETTING, IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES 3.1 Introduction As noted in the project description (Chapter 2), the proposed project would provide economic incentives to encourage industrial and commercial growth in unincorporated areas of the County of Merced and in the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced (collectively, the project proponents ). The proposed incentives may encourage existing businesses to expand and new businesses to locate within the proposed Enterprise Zone. No specific expansion projects have been identified at this time. Each jurisdiction has an adopted General Plan which designates industrial and commercial areas and includes policies to encourage appropriate development of those areas. Any development which may result from the incentives offered by the Enterprise Zone would be required to conform to the location and design policies of the respective general plans. However, by providing incentives for development which were not in place at the time of adoption of the General Plans, the approval of an Enterprise Zone may maintain the pace of development in the affected jurisdictions. An EIR or Initial Study/Negative Declaration was prepared for each General Plan. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section et. seq., the environmental document to be prepared for this project will be a tiered environmental document, which will adopt by reference each respective General Plan s environmental document. Specifically, this document incorporates by reference the following documents by name and State Clearinghouse Number. County of Merced General Plan adopted on December 4, 1990, with an Initial Study/Negative Declaration adopted June 27, City of Atwater General Plan and Final EIR adopted on July 24, 2000, SCH No City of Dos Palos General Plan and Final EIR adopted on June 18, 1991, SCH No City of Gustine General Plan and Final EIR adopted on Feb 4, 2002, SCH No City of Livingston General Plan and Final EIR adopted on November 16, 1999, SCH No City of Los Banos General Plan and Final EIR adopted on December 17, 2003, SCH No City of Merced General Plan and Final EIR adopted on April 7, 1997, SCH No The referenced environmental documents analyze the potential impact of implementing each General Plan through a planning horizon (typically 20 years). For each resource (air quality, water, traffic, etc.), impacts were analyzed and a determination was made that the project would: have no impact; have a less than significant impact; have a less than significant impact due to adopted mitigation measures, or have a significant and unavoidable impact. Where significant and unavoidable impacts were identified, the city council balanced those impacts against the benefits of adoption of the General Plan and, in each case, adopted a statement of overriding considerations indicating that the benefits outweighed the anticipated harm to the environment. In the County of Merced, an Initial Study/Negative Declaration was adopted that determined Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-1

50 there were no significant impacts that could not be mitigated and no statement of overriding considerations was required. By encouraging growth already called for in the General Plan, the proposed project will not create new impacts which were not analyzed in the prior environmental documents. However, future growth could be accelerated, which could cause those impacts to occur somewhat more rapidly than originally anticipated. There is no known, reliable mechanism that measures when the acceleration of an otherwise less than significant impact would create a significant impact, particularly if the overall magnitude of the anticipated development would not change. In other instances, such as further expansion of conditional use permit authorized agricultural industry, any impacts of such expansion on already-permitted parcels may create impacts not analyzed at the time of initial permit issuance. The possibility of such impacts, and any evaluation of their significance, is speculative and not subject to evaluation in this program EIR. 3.2 Aesthetics INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on scenic vistas and the overall appearance of the project in the community context. Issues of light and glare are included as Aesthetics issues REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING The following describes the existing regulatory and physical setting with regards to aesthetics in the County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced. Regulatory Environment Municipal and County Codes Other than the General Plan, the municipal and county codes are the primary documents that regulate the form and character of development within communities. The municipal and county codes include the zoning ordinance and subdivisions code, and also regulate the appearance of new development through design standards. Zoning Ordinance The zoning ordinance is a tool of the General Plan. It establishes various districts within the city or county wherein the use of land and buildings, spacing, placement, height, and bulk of buildings and structures are regulated in a manner appropriate to the district in which they are located. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-2

51 Site Plan The purpose of the site plan process is to enable Planning Commissions to make a finding that a proposed development is in conformity with the intent and purpose of the zoning ordinance and General Plan and to guide building departments in the issuance of permits. State Scenic Highway System The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) administers the California Scenic Highway Program. The goal of the program is to preserve and protect scenic highway corridors from changes that would affect the aesthetic value of the land adjacent to highways. There are no scenic highways in the vicinity of the project area (Caltrans 2003). Physical Environment Merced County is centrally located in the San Joaquin Valley bordered by the foothills of the Sierras to the east, the coastal mountain ranges to the west and, generally, the Chowchilla River to the south. The growth of the County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced, as addressed in each jurisdiction s General Plan, will result in increased urban development, which may increase light and glare impacts. Common sources of light and glare are advertising signs, streetlights and light or reflective surfaces of buildings SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS Pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines, significant impacts on aesthetics may occur if the project: Has a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista. Substantially damages scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a state scenic highway. Substantially degrades the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings. Creates a new source of substantial light or glare which would adversely affect day or night time views in the area PROJECT IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.2-1: Substantially adversely affect a scenic vista. Impact #3.2-2: Damage scenic resources including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a state scenic highway. Impact #3.2-3: Degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings. Impact #3.2-4: Create a new source of substantial light or glare which would adversely affect day or night time views in the area. Discussion: None of the referenced environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to scenic vistas, scenic resources or the existing visual character of their respective jurisdictions, either due to the Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-3

52 lack of protected resources, the implementation of design standards in the General Plan and Zoning Codes, or to the effectiveness of adopted mitigation measures. Any such findings and mitigation measures continue to be in effect and apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may sustain or accelerate the pace of any anticipated impacts but will not alter the magnitude of those impacts. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact on scenic resources. Mitigation Measures: None are required. 3.3 Agriculture INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on farmland and agricultural productivity. Environmental concerns focus on the loss of agricultural cropland as inventoried by the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency. An additional area of concern is the potential changes resulting from a project that could lead to future conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment State and Local There are four major classifications of farmland adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). These classifications, as defined below, outline the fertility of soils. (See Figure for the location of Important Farmland classifications in Merced County. Prime Farmland (formerly Class I and Class II soils) is best suited for producing food and fiber. This category has the soil quality, growing season, and moisture supply needed to produce sustained high yields of crops, when managed according to modern farming methods. Farmland of Statewide Importance is land other than prime farmland with a good combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, and fiber. Unique Farmland is land other than prime farmland and land of statewide importance that has a special combination of soil quality, growing season, and moisture supply needed to produce sustained high yields of a specific crop. Farmland of Local Importance is defined as important to the local agricultural economy. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-4

53

54 IMPORTANT FARMLAND LOCATIONS MERCED COUNTY Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-5

55 The State is required to prepare current maps of the important farmland in agricultural counties of California and monitor permanent farmland conversion. The California Department of Conservation, Division of Land Resource Protection s Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program also uses this system for the classification of farmland. In addition to the farmland classifications above, the California Department of Conservation describes three other categories, as follows: Grazing Land is land on which the existing vegetation is suited to the grazing of livestock. Urban and Built-Up Land is land that does not fall within an agricultural category and is occupied by structures with a density of at least one structure to one and one-half acres. Other Land is all other land that does not meet the criteria of any other category. The California Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act) was established in 1965 to protect agricultural lands from conversion to non-agricultural use. Merced County began participating in the Williamson Act in 2000 for unincorporated portions of the County. Owners of land placed under Williamson Act contract receive lower property tax rates, but must keep the land in agricultural production or related use for the ten-year contracts that are automatically renewed each subsequent year (after the initial ten year period) unless a notice of non-renewal is filed. Figure shows parcels under Williamson Act contract in Merced County. Removal from a Williamson Act contract, thus allowing land usage other than agricultural on an Act-contracted parcel, is only possible with approval by the local agency (the County or City) in which the parcel is located for legally-impelling reasons, payment of Act-avoided taxes, and approval by the Sate Department of Conservation. Merced County (County Ordinance Code Section ) and several of the cities in the County have a right-to-farm ordinance which is meant to reduce conflicts between urban and agricultural land. The County ordinance, for example, requires notice on all parcel maps, subdivision maps or use permits relating to all agricultural land, as well as building permits for new residential construction or mobile home installation on or adjacent to agriculture. Merced County is one of the most agriculturally productive counties in California. Merced County began participating in the Williamson Act in 2000 for unincorporated portions of the County. Physical Environment Merced County is located within the central San Joaquin Valley, ranking 7 th in agricultural importance in California. Nearly 93 percent of the land in Merced County is considered agricultural according to the California Department of Conservation Important Farmland Acreage Summary 2000 (Table B-1, Farmland Conversion Report , December 2004). Prime, Statewide, Unique and Local farmland consists of 589,072 acres, with grazing land covering another 581,729 acres. The monetary majority of agricultural activities (59 percent) in the county are related to livestock and poultry production and the products associated with them. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-6

56

57

58 WILLIAMSON ACT CONTRACT PARCELS MERCED COUNTY Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-7

59 Field crops include barley, beans, corn, cotton, hay, pasture, rice, silage, straw, stubble, sugar beets, and wheat. Vegetable crops include beans, melons, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Fruit and nut crops include almonds, apricots, figs, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pistachios, plums, strawberries, and walnuts. In addition to the above crops, Merced County s agricultural businesses produce seeds, nursery products, a bee industry, and an aquaculture industry. Fruit and nut crops comprise 17 percent and vegetable crops comprise 9 percent of the crops grown in the County. Milk is Merced County s leading commodity with a value of $711,887,000 followed by poultry with a value of $299,685,000 and almonds with a value of $292,995, SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS Pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines, significant impacts on agriculture may occur if the project: Converts Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland, or Farmland of Statewide Importance (Farmland), as shown on the maps prepared pursuant to the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency, to non-agricultural uses. Conflicts with existing zoning for agricultural use, or a Williamson Act contract. Involves other changes in the existing environment which, due to their location or nature, could result in conversion of Farmland, to non-agricultural use PROJECT IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.3-1: Conversion and Loss of Farmland. Discussion: The General Plan EIR for each city in Merced County identifies implementation thereof as having a significant and unavoidable impact on conversion and loss of farmland. In each case, the city council adopted a statement of overriding considerations stating that the social and economic benefits of converting the farmland to an urban use outweighed the adverse environmental effects caused by the General Plan. Merced County s General Plan contains an Agricultural Chapter that defines policies that will improve the viability of agricultural operations and promote the conservation of agricultural land. The County General Plan acknowledges that conversion of agricultural land to other uses is an important issue for the County and could have an economic impact. Additionally, Merced County typically imposes the following mitigation measure on development projects: The project sponsors shall convey to the County or its designated agent a conservation easement that would permanently protect agricultural land of similar or better quality as that farmed on the project site. Such land will be placed under an Agricultural Conservation Easement at a ratio of 1 acre of easement land for every 1 acre of land converted to nonagricultural uses. These mitigation lands may be located in the project vicinity, or in a location mutually agreed upon by the applicant and the County Planning and Community Development Director. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-8

60

61 The proposed Enterprise Zone designation over the project area and subsequent development would not result in any changes to the General Plan(s) or agricultural land use designations or zoning; however, it could sustain or accelerate development consistent with the General Plan(s). Any estimate of impact acceleration would be speculative; there is no evidence to indicate that such impacts would be increased or magnified by Enterprise Zone adoption. Conclusion: The proposed project would have no impact on conversion and loss of farmland. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.3-2: Conflict with a Williamson Act Contract and zoning for agriculture. Discussion: The proposed project, an overlay zone, does not modify underlying zoning restrictions, nor can it legally affect or modify Williamson Act contract restrictions requiring agricultural land use. Agricultural commercial land uses are allowed on Williamson Act contract parcels but the tax reduction authorized by the Act only applies to cultivated lands. Portions of parcels that contain agricultural commercial structures (processing plants), barns and even the landowners homes, do not have a tax reduction, only the agricultural land actually under production for food and fiber. During the Enterprise Zone map review process, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) required modification to the Enterprise Zone boundaries by excluding all agriculturally-zoned land except that which contains existing industrial uses. Conclusion: The project will have no impact on or conflicts with Williamson Act contracts or zoning for agriculture. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.3-3: Conversion of adjacent farmland to non-agricultural use. Discussion: The General Plans for each affected city and the community plans for the unincorporated communities within Merced County make use of urban development boundaries and other means to establish long term boundaries between agricultural and urbanizing land. Such boundaries tend to discourage conversion of agricultural land outside of the Urban Development Boundary areas. Further, each of the uses permitted in the agricultural zones which may be eligible for economic incentives under the Enterprise Zone has been determined as permits were issued by the County of Merced to be compatible with ongoing adjacent agricultural use. Finally, the County right-to-farm ordinance protects ongoing agricultural operations on adjacent lands through disclosure and acknowledgement of the implications of farming to adjacent urban uses. Conclusion: Utilization of urban development boundaries and the right-to-farm ordinances reduce the impact of the project on conversion of adjacent farmland to non-agricultural uses to a less than significant level. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-9

62 3.4 Air Quality INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on air quality issues of project consistency with applicable air quality plans, policies and regulations, and increases of any pollutant for which the area has been designated as a non-attainment area. Additional concerns are exposure of sensitive receptors, such as people, to high levels of air pollution and odors, and greenhouse gas emissions REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment Global Climate Change Regulatory Issues In 1988, the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to evaluate the impacts of global warming and to develop strategies that nations could implement to curtail global climate change. In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established a goal of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. As a result, the Climate Change Action Plan was developed to address the reduction of greenhouse gases. The plan consists of more than 50 voluntary programs. Additionally, the Montreal Protocol, originally signed in 1987 and substantially amended in 1990 and 1992, stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere (chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs], halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform) were to be phased out by 2000 (methyl chloroform was to be phased out by 2005). Global warming and climate change have received substantial public attention for more than 15 years. For example, the United States Global Change Research Program was established by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 to enhance the understanding of natural and humaninduced changes in the Earth s global environmental system, to monitor, understand and predict global change, and to provide a sound scientific basis for national and international decisionmaking. Even so, the analytical tools have not yet been developed to quantitatively determine the effect on worldwide global warming from a particular increase in greenhouse gas emissions, or the resulting effects on climate change in a particular locale. At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate greenhouse gas emissions. However, in Massachusetts et al. v. EPA, the U.S Supreme Court has recently determined that EPA does have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The Court also instructed EPA to review its policies toward regulation of vehicle emissions under the Clean Air Act. It is now anticipated that regulations will eventually be promulgated by EPA to further control greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles as well as other sources. On September 27, 2006, Assembly Bill 32 (AB32), the California Global Warming Solutions Act (the Act) was enacted by the State of California. The legislature stated, Global warming poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and the environment of California. The Act caps California s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at 1990 levels by The Act defines greenhouse gas emissions as all of the following gases: carbon Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-10

63 dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexaflouride. This Act represents the first enforceable state-wide program in the U.S., that includes penalties for non-compliance, to cap all GHG emissions from major industries. While acknowledging that national and international actions will be necessary to fully address the issue of global warming, AB32 lays out a program to inventory and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California and from power generation facilities located outside the state that serve California residents and businesses. Environmental Protection Agency - Federal Regulation The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for implementing programs established under the Federal Clean Air Act, such as establishing and reviewing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and judging the adequacy of State Implementation Plans (SIPs). The NAAQS, which apply to all areas throughout the nation, define the maximum acceptable concentration that may be reached. The EPA may also delegate authority to implement some federal programs to the states, while retaining oversight authority to ensure that the programs are properly implemented. California Air Resources Board - State Regulation The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is responsible for enforcing the federally required State Implementation Plan (SIP) in an effort to achieve and maintain the national ambient air quality standards. SIPs are prepared by states and submitted to U.S. EPA describing how each federal non-attainment area will attain and maintain national ambient standards. SIPs include the technical foundation for understanding air quality (e.g. emission inventories and air quality monitoring), control measures, strategies and enforcement mechanisms, and incorporate the individual non-attainment plans for air quality districts. CARB is responsible for determining air basin attainment designations in California. California has adopted more stringent ambient air quality standards (CAAQS or state standards) for most of the criteria air pollutants. California has also set standards for sulfates, hydrogen sulfide, vinyl chloride, and visibility-reducing particles. CARB acts as an oversight agency for activities conducted by air quality management districts, which are organized at the county or regional level. CARB is also responsible for the following types of activities: Mobile Sources: Establishing tailpipe standards and regulating emissions from mobile sources. Regulating Toxic Air Contaminants (TAC): Identifying toxic air contaminants and overseeing requirements imposed by the Air Toxics Hot Spot Assessment Act of 1988 (AB2588). Greenhouse Gases (AB32): AB32 requires that the CARB determine the Statewide 1990 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions level as a statewide aggregate emissions limit to be achieved by Under separate statutory authority, on January 1, 2007, CARB received responsibility for maintaining the Statewide GHG emissions inventory from the California Energy Commission. By January 1, 2008, CARB was to define the 1990 baseline emissions for California, and adopt that baseline as the 2020 statewide emissions cap. By January 1, 2009, CARB must adopt a Scoping Plan containing the main strategies California will use to reduce the Greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. CARB is then to conduct rulemaking, culminating in rule adoption by January 1, 2011, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the emissions cap Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-11

64 by The rules must take effect no later than In designing emission reduction measures, CARB must aim to minimize costs, maximize benefits, improve and modernize California s energy infrastructure, maintain electric system reliability, maximize additional environmental and economic co-benefits for California, and complement the state s efforts to improve air quality. Table summarizes various strategies CARB is pursuing to manage greenhouse gases. Strategy Table Select CARB Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategies Description of Strategy Statewide Measures Vehicle Climate Change Standards Diesel Anti-Idling Other Light-Duty Vehicle Technology Alternative Fuels: Biodiesel Blends Alternative Fuels: Ethanol Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emission Reduction Measures Manure Management Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Reduction Transportation Refrigeration Units (TRU), Off-road Electrification, Port Electrification AB 1493 (Pavley) required the state to develop and adopt regulations that achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of climate change emissions emitted by passenger vehicles and light duty trucks. Regulations were adopted by CARB in Sept In July 2004, CARB adopted a measure to limit diesel-fueled commercial motor vehicle idling. New standards would be adopted to phase in beginning in the 2017 model year. CARB would develop regulations to require the use of 1% to 4% biodiesel displacement of California diesel fuel. Increased use of ethanol fuel. Increased efficiency in the design of heavy-duty vehicles and an educational program for the heavy-duty vehicle sector. SJVAPCD s Rule 4570 will reduce volatile organic compounds from confined animal facilities through implementation of control options. Ban retail sale of HFC in small cans; require that only low GWP refrigerants be used in new vehicular systems; adopt specifications for new commercial refrigeration; add refrigerant leak-tightness to the pass criteria for vehicular inspection and maintenance programs; enforce federal ban on releasing HFCs. Strategies to reduce emissions from TRUs, increase off-road electrification, and increase use of shore-side/port electrification. Achieve 50% Statewide Recycling Goal Achieving the state s 50% waste diversion mandate established by the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989, will reduce climate change emissions associated with energy intensive material extraction and production as well as methane emission from landfills. A diversion rate of 48% has been achieved on a statewide basis, therefore an additional 2% reduction is needed. Reduced Venting and Leaks in oil Rule considered for adoption by the air pollution control districts for and gas systems improved management practices. Hydrogen highway A State initiative to promote the use of hydrogen as a means of diversifying the sources of transportation energy. Landfill methane capture Install direct gas use or electricity projects at landfills to capture and use emitted methane. Zero Waste high recycling Additional recycling beyond the state s 50% recycling goal. Source: Association of Environmental Professionals, March 2007 Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-12

65 Ambient Air Quality Standards Both the federal government (EPA) and the State of California (CARB) have established healthbased ambient air quality standards (AAQS) for six air pollutants, commonly referred to as criteria pollutants. These pollutants are called criteria pollutants because standards have been established for each of them to protect the public health (primary standards) and welfare (secondary standards). Under the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 7401 et. seq. (1970) (as amended 1990), the federal government originally established National Ambient Air Quality Standards ( NAAQS ) for criteria pollutants. These ambient air quality standards are maximum levels of contaminants, which are intended to represent safe levels that avoid specific adverse health effects associated with each pollutant. The ambient air quality standards cover what are called criteria pollutants because the health and other effects of each pollutant are described in criteria documents. The air quality criteria pollutants under state and federal law include ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, PM 10, PM 2.5, lead, and hydrogen sulfide. The federal and state ambient air quality standards are summarized in Table The federal and state ambient standards were developed independently with differing purposes and methods, although both processes are intended to avoid health-related effects. As a result, the federal and state standards differ in some cases. In general, the California state standards are more stringent. This is particularly true for ozone and PM 10. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1997 adopted new national air quality standards for ground-level ozone and for fine Particulate Matter. The existing one-hour ozone standard of 0.12 PPM was phased out and replaced by an eight-hour standard of 0.08 PPM. National standards for fine Particulate Matter (diameter 2.5 microns or less) have also been established for 24-hour and annual averaging periods. Current PM 10 standards were retained, but the method and form for determining compliance with the standards were revised. Additionally, a PM 2.5 state standard was adopted effective July 5, The San Joaquin Valley is non-attainment for both the State and Federal PM 2.5 standards. Local Plans, Policies, and Ordinances San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Regional Air Quality The management of air quality in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin is the responsibility of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD). The SJVAPCD has the responsibility to develop and implement attainment strategies to ensure that future emissions will be within federal and state standards and to monitor ambient air pollutant concentrations throughout the air basin. In addition to planning responsibilities, SJVAPCD has permitting authority over stationary sources of pollutants such as power plants and manufacturing facilities as well as some area sources such as agricultural operations. Federal and state air quality laws require identification of areas not meeting the ambient air quality standards. These areas must develop regional air quality plans to eventually attain the standards. Under both the federal and state Clean Air Acts, the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJVAB) is a non-attainment area (standards have not been attained) for ozone, PM 10 and PM 2.5. The air basin is either attainment or unclassified for other ambient standards. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-13

66 Ozone Pollutant Respirable Particulate Matter (PM 10 ) Table Federal and State Ambient Air Quality Standards 2007 Averaging Time California Standards a Concentration c Federal Standards b Primary c, d 1 Hour 0.09 ppm (180 µg/m 3 ) -- 8 Hour 0.07 ppm (137 µg/m 3) 0.08 ppm (157 µg/m 3 ) 24 Hour 50 µg/m µg/m 3 Annual Arithmetic Mean 20 µg/m 3 50 µg/m 3 24 Hour 35 µg/m 3 35 µg/m Fine Particulate 3 Annual Arithmetic Matter (PM 2.5 ) Mean 12 µg/m 3 15 µg/m 3 8 Hour 9.0 ppm (10 µg/m 3 ) 9 ppm (10 mg/m 3 ) Carbon Monoxide 1 Hour 20 ppm (23 mg/m 3 ) 35 ppm (40 mg/m 3 ) (CO) 8 Hour (Lake Tahoe) 6 ppm (7 µg/m 3 ) -- Nitrogen Dioxide Annual Arithmetic (NO Mean 0.03 ppm (56 µg/m 3) ppm (100 µg/m 3 ) 2 ) as amended 2/22/07 1 Hour 0.18 ppm (338 µg/m 3 ) -- Sulfur Dioxide Annual Arithmetic (SO Mean ppm (80 µg/m 3 ) 2 ) 24 Hour 0.04 ppm (105 µg/m 3 ) 0.14 ppm (365 µg/m 3 ) 1 Hour 0.25 ppm (655 µg/m 3 ) Day Average 1.5 µg/m 3 -- Lead e Calendar Quarter µg/m 3 8 Hour Extinction coefficient of 0.23 per -- kilometer visibility of 10 miles or Visibility more ( miles or more for Lake Tahoe) due to particles when relative Reducing Particles humidity is less than 70%. Method: Beta Attenuation and Transmittance through Filter Tape. Sulfates 24 Hour 25 µg/m 3 -- Hydrogen Sulfide 1 Hour 0.03 ppm (42 µg/m 3 ) -- Vinyl Chloride e 24 Hour 0.01 ppm (26 µg/m 3 ) -- a b c d e California standards for ozone, carbon monoxide (except Lake Tahoe), sulfur dioxide ( 1 and 24 hour), nitrogen dioxide, suspended particulate matter PM 10, PM 2.5, and visibility reducing particles, are values that are not to be exceeded. All others are not to be equaled or exceeded. California ambient air quality standards are listed in the Table of Standards in Section of Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations. National standards (other than ozone, particulate matter, and those based on annual averages or annual arithmetic mean) are not to be exceeded more than once a year. The ozone standard is attained when the fourth highest eight hour concentration in a year, averaged over three years, is equal to or less than the standard. For PM 10, the 24 hour standard is attained when the expected number of days per calendar year with a 24-hour average concentration above 150 µg/m 3 is equal to or less than one. For PM 2.5, the 24 hour standard is attained when 98 percent of the daily concentrations, averaged over three years, are equal to or less than the standard. Contact U.S. EPA for further clarification and current federal policies. Concentration expressed first in units in which it was promulgated. Equivalent units given in parentheses are based upon a reference temperature of 25 C and a reference pressure of 760 torr. Most measurements of air quality are to be corrected to a reference temperature of 25 C and a reference pressure of 760 torr; ppm in this table refers to ppm by volume, or micromoles of pollutant per mole of gas. National Primary Standards: The levels of air quality necessary, with an adequate margin of safety to protect the public health. The CARB has identified lead and vinyl chloride as toxic air contaminants with no threshold level of exposure for adverse health effects determined. These actions allow for the implementation of control measures at levels below the ambient concentrations specified for these pollutants. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-14

67 Regional Air Quality Plans The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act Amendment (CAAA) included a Federal permitting program for major sources of emissions. In the San Joaquin Valley, this now includes any facility with more than 10 tons per year of ozone precursors (NOx and VOC). This was presented in Title V of the CAAA and was thus called Title V Permitting. Sources that may require permits include facilities with stationary diesel engines and concentrated animal feeding operations. Applicability of the Title V permit program depends on where sources are located, and the air quality rating of that area. The SJVAPCD is a major participant in the Central California Air Quality Studies (CCAQS). The CCAQS is comprised of two studies, the California Regional Particulate Air Quality Study (CRPAQS) and the Central California Ozone Study (CCOS). CRPAQS is a multi-year effort including meteorological and PM 10 /PM 2.5 air quality monitoring, emission inventory development, data analysis, and air quality simulation modeling. The Central California Ozone Study (CCOS) consists of a field program, data analysis, emission inventory development, and modeling. The objectives of the CRPAQS are to: 1) provide an improved understanding of emissions, PM 10 and PM 2.5 composition and dynamic atmospheric processes; 2) establish a strong scientific foundation for informed decision making; and 3) develop methods to identify the most efficient and cost-effective emission control strategies to achieve the PM 10 and PM 2.5 standards in Central California. The SJVAB is currently serious non-attainment for PM 10 and for 8-hour ozone (the previous extreme non-attainment for 1-hour ozone has been revoked by the US EPA effective June 15, 2005 as specified in Federal Register Vo. 69 No. 84). The SJVAPCD has adopted its 2007 Ozone Plan. Once the plan has been approved by the EPA, the SJVAPCD will be reclassified to an extreme attainment status for ozone. Under the 2007 Ozone Plan, all proposed local measures will be adopted by the SJVAPCD before Additional measures requiring technology advancement or new incentive funding will also be adopted and implemented as expeditiously as they become available. By 2015 over 50% of the Valley s population will reside in areas meeting the federal ozone standard. By 2020, this percentage will increase to 90% with the area east of Arvin and in Northwest Fresno remaining. It is expected that further advancements in technology occurring after 2020 but no later than 2023 will bring these areas into compliance as well. PM 10 Attainment Demonstration Plans The San Joaquin Valley 2003 and 2006 PM 10 Plans (PM 10 Plans) acknowledge that agricultural activities represent a significant source of fugitive dust and support continued research to characterize emissions from these activities. The PM 10 Plans address control of particulate emissions from agricultural operations by implementation of agricultural conservation practices associated with Rule 4550 Conservation Management Practices and Regulation VIII PM 10 requirements.. The attainment deadline for PM 10 is 2010; however, the SJVAPCD recently submitted a request to the EPA to reclassify the area as in attainment for PM 10. In order to meet the standard, the SJVAPCD had to provide three years of data showing that PM 10 concentrations did not exceed 24-hour and annual caps. The EPA s declaration of attainment for PM 10 will be the final step in Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-15

68 reaching this milestone. Since 1990, emissions of PM 10 and its precursors have dropped 36 percent as a result of the commitments undertaken by the SJVAPCD and the Valley s businesses, citizens and local governments. In October 2006, the EPA found that the SJVAB had shown continued attainment of the 24-hour and annual PM 10 national ambient air quality standards (Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 209). The designation and classification status remains serious non-attainment for the SJVAB until such time as California has an approved maintenance plan as required under section 175(A) of the CAA. When such a plan is approved by the EPA, the SJVAB will be redesignated as in attainment for PM 10. Currently there is no established timeframe for this action. 8-Hour, Serious Ozone Attainment Demonstration Plan The SJVAPCD s 2007 Ozone Plan was adopted April 30, The plan has 12 guiding principles and gives precedence to reductions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions to assist with the attainment of the federal standard for particulate matter and ozone. Full implementation of the plan will also reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The emission control strategy of the 2007 Ozone Plan consists of 4 main facets: District Regulatory Control Measures for Stationary Sources 19 new and amended rules to control NOx and VOC emissions, and 20 additional mid-term measures based upon the results of feasibility studies. The regulatory standards for dairies are not expected to be available until 2010 with compliance to begin by The focus of the regulatory standards will remain on VOC reductions for dairies. Incentive-based Measures Incentive-based programs. The amount of state and local funds currently available for incentive-based programs is approximately $40 million per year. To reach Plan goals, an average of $188 million annually will be needed. The balance of the funds is to come from state and/or federal funding which is not guaranteed. Innovative Strategies and Programs The list of innovative programs includes green contracting; expanded Spare-the-Air programs; employer-based trip reduction; heat island mitigation; alternative energy production, energy conservation, enhanced Indirect Source Review; episodic and regionally-focused control measures; and advanced emission reduction options. Local, State and Federal Controls Mobile source emissions measures including more stringent tailpipe standards for new on-road and off-road mobile sources, and regulations designed to accelerate the deployment of newer, cleaner engines. Mobile source emissions are to be reduced by implementing land-use and transportation policies that reduce vehicle miles traveled. PM 2.5 Attainment Status No plan has been adopted. On July 1997, the EPA adopted new air quality standards for particulate matter (and ozone). The EPA established annual and 24-hour standards for the fine fraction of particulates. It revised the primary (health-based) PM standards by adding a new annual PM 2.5 standard set at 15 µg/m3 and a new 24-hour PM 2.5 standard set at 65 µg/m3. Based on health studies conducted, PM 2.5 is considered to be more adverse to human health than other pollutants. The SJVB has been designated non-attainment for the PM 2.5 standard. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-16

69 The SJVAPCD is in the process of preparing a PM 2.5 SIP for submittal to the EPA by April The air quality science indicates that reductions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) are relatively more beneficial for both ozone and PM 2.5 attainment than other contributing pollutants. The SJVAB ozone SIP is designed with this in mind and when the PM 2.5 plan is complete, the SJVAPCD will review the ozone strategy to ensure this is the case. Physical Environment Criteria Pollutants California is a diverse state with many sources of air pollution. Sources of air pollutants include stationary sources (facilities), area-wide sources, mobile sources, and natural sources. Emissions from area-wide sources may be either from small individual sources, such as residential fireplaces, or from widely distributed sources that cannot be tied to a single location, such as consumer products and dust from unpaved roads. Mobile sources include on-road cars, trucks, and buses and other sources such as boats, off-road recreational vehicles, aircraft, and trains. Natural sources include geogenic and biogenic hydrocarbon emissions, natural wind-blown dust, and wildfires. The general characteristics and health effects of air pollutants emitted by project equipment and pollutants known to exist in the project area are summarized below: Ozone (O 3 ): Ozone occurs in two layers of the atmosphere. The layer surrounding the earth s surface is the troposphere. Here, ground level or bad ozone is an air pollutant that damages human health, vegetation, and many common materials. It is a key ingredient of urban smog. The troposphere extends to a level about 10 miles up, where it meets the second layer, the stratosphere. The stratospheric or good ozone layer extends upward from about 10 to 30 miles and protects life on earth from the sun s harmful ultraviolet rays (UV-B). Bad ozone is a photochemical pollutant. It needs reactive organic gases (ROG aka VOC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and sunlight. VOCs and NOx are emitted from various sources throughout Merced County. In order to reduce ozone concentrations, it is necessary to control the emissions of these ozone precursors. NOx generators in the San Joaquin Valley include mobile sources, solvents and fuel combustion. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are generated by anaerobic decomposition of organic substances such as manure and as fossil fuel exhaust components. Significant ozone formation generally requires an adequate amount of precursors in the atmosphere and several hours in a stable atmosphere with strong sunlight. Ozone is a regional air pollutant. It is generated over a large area and is transported and spread by wind. The San Joaquin Valley Air Basin is currently in non-attainment (the Federal one-hour, ozone attainment level is classified extreme) for the federal and state standards for ozone. The State 1-hour ozone standard was exceeded 81 times on average per year from 2003 to 2006 at the Turlock station. The national 8-hour standard was exceeded 79 times on average per year from 2003 to As shown in Table 3.4-3, the National 8-hour standard for Merced-South Coffee Avenue was exceeded 54 times in 2003, but has reduced over the past six years to 7 annual exceedances. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-17

70 Table Summary of Annual Ambient Air Quality Data ( ) Ozone (O 3 ) Merced-South Coffee Avenue State Standard (1-hr. avg., 0.09 ppm) National Standard (8-hr. avg ppm) Maximum Concentration (1-hr./8-hr. avg. ppm).122/ / / /.094 Number of Days State Standard Exceeded Number of Days National 8-hr Standard Exceeded Background Ambient Air Quality Data PM 10 CARB Air Monitoring Station Days Exceeding NAAQS (150 μg/m 3 ) Days Exceeding CAAQS ( 50 μg/m 3 ) Merced M Street Background Ambient Air Quality Data PM 2.5 Days Exceeding NAAQS (65.5 μg/m 3 ) Days Exceeding CAAQS ( 50 μg/m 3 ) CARB Air Monitoring Station Merced M Street * * * * Source: California Air Resources Board, Note: *There was insufficient (or no) data available to determine the value. With respect to ozone air quality trends, according to the 2006 California Almanac Emissions and Air Quality (California Air Resources Board 2006a), maximum peak ozone values in the SJVAB have decreased 22 percent from 1982 to The number of days in which the national 1-hour standard was exceeded has been variable over the years, but indicates an overall improvement. However, the ozone problem in the SJVAB still ranks among the most severe in California. Health Effects: Ozone (O 3 ) exposure may cause eye irritation and damage to lung tissue in humans. Ozone also harms vegetation, reduces crop yields, and accelerates deterioration of paints, finishes, rubber products, plastics, and fabrics. Recent studies (American Lung Association, State of the Air, 2006) have further validated and documented the adverse health effects of ozone with respect to respiratory disease, and the increase in such effects with respect to asthmatics, children and the elderly. Respirable Particulate Matter (PM 10 ): Particulate matter is released directly into the atmosphere by stationary and mobile sources. PM 10 consists of a wide range of solid and liquid particles, including smoke, dust, aerosols, and metallic oxides. Most primary PM 10 emissions are generated from human activity. These types of activities include agricultural operations, industrial processes, combustion of wood and fossil fuels, construction and demolition activities, and entrainment of road dust into the air. Natural sources, such as windblown dust and wildfires, also contribute to the overall PM 10 emissions (SJVAPCD 2006 PM 10 Plan). The San Joaquin Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-18

71 Valley Air Basin is currently in non-attainment (Federally classified as serious) for the Federal and State PM 10 standards. Merced County is currently designated as a non-attainment area for the state and a serious nonattainment area for the national PM 10 standards (California Air Resources Board 2006 State PM 10 Standards; 2006 National PM 10 Standards). The state standard was exceeded 33 times on an average at the Merced-M Street station from 2003 to The national 24-hour PM 2.5 standard was not exceeded from 2003 to Health Effects: Respirable Particulate Matter (PM 10 ) is inhaled into, and lodged in, the deepest parts of the lung, evading the respiratory system s natural defenses. In high concentrations, effects on humans include aggravation of chronic disease and heart/lung disease symptoms. Non-health effects include reduced visibility and soiling of surfaces. Recent epidemiologic studies have contributed to understanding the size specificity of health effects, and have increasingly implicated the gases and smaller particles as the more relevant components of hazardous particulate exposure. Fine Particulate Matter (PM 2.5 ): Like PM 10, fine particulate matter is also released directly into the atmosphere by stationary and mobile sources. It is also created in the atmosphere by photochemical and chemical processes acting on precursor pollutants. Sources of PM 2.5, the fine fraction of PM 10, include vehicles, power generation, industrial processes, ammonia and wood burning. Regular monitoring of PM 2.5 in the atmosphere in California began in early The available data show that the highest 24-hour and annual average PM 2.5 concentrations are found in the South Coast Air Basin and San Joaquin Valley Air Basin. On average, the highest 24-hour concentrations in 1999 and 2000 occurred in November, December and January, while the lowest concentrations occurred between March and August. This seasonality was most pronounced in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin, where the December-January concentrations were on the order of four to five times greater that those for March through August. There is currently very limited speciation data for PM 2.5. Based on PM 10 speciation data, the CARB estimates that during the peak months of November, December and January, at Central Valley monitoring sites (Bakersfield, Fresno and Sacramento) carbon constitutes approximately 20 to 25 percent of the PM 10 mass, while nitrate constitutes approximately 10 to 15 percent of the PM 10 mass (CARB, 2001). A study using a Chemical Mass Balance (CMB) model to determine source contributions for samples taken in the San Joaquin Valley in the fall and winter of 1995 concluded that secondary ammonium nitrate was generally the largest contributor at all sites during the winter study and second largest contributor during the fall study, comprising 30-50% of the PM 10 mass during the winter and 15-20% of the mass during the fall. Secondary ammonium nitrate contributions were very uniform across all sites and displayed similar absolute concentrations during both the fall and winter, suggesting a regional, rather than local influence. Such contributions do not primarily affect next-door neighbors to ammonia emission sources (Magliano, K.L., 1999). Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-19

72 Health Effects: Fine Particulate Matter (PM 2.5 ) health effects are similar to those of PM 10 ; they can impair proper lung function and may contribute to the development of chronic bronchitis. They are a health concern because they easily reach the deepest recesses of the lungs. Scientific studies have linked particulate matter (alone or in combination with other air pollutants) with a series of health problems, including premature death, respiratory related hospital admissions or emergency room visits, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, decrease in lung functions, and work and school absences. Those who are most at risk are the elderly, individuals with preexisting heart and lung disease, children, and people with asthma. Carbon Monoxide (CO): Unlike ozone, carbon monoxide is released directly into the atmosphere by stationary and mobile sources and typically found at high concentrations near the source of emission. CO is an odorless, colorless gas formed by the incomplete combustion of fuels. Carbon monoxide is generated by operation of trucks, mobile equipment, and automobiles. Only the urbanized area of Fresno is currently in non-attainment for the state CO standard. In 1998, the urbanized areas of Fresno, Stockton, Modesto, and Bakersfield were reclassified from non-attainment to attainment status for the Federal CO standard. Carbon monoxide concentrations are seasonal, with the highest concentrations occurring in the winter. This may be due to the fact that automobiles create more carbon monoxide in colder weather and partly due to the very stable atmospheric conditions that exist on cold winter evenings when winds are calm. Concentrations typically are highest during stagnant air periods within the period November through January. Merced County is currently designated as an unclassified/attainment area for the national CO standards and attainment for the state standards (see Table 3.4-2) According to CARB s website from 2003 to 2006, neither the State nor Federal CO standards update were exceeded at the five measurement stations located throughout Fresno. With respect to CO air quality trends according to the 2006 update of the California Almanac of Emissions and Air Quality (California Air Resources Board 2006 Edition), the maximum peak 8- hour trend for the SJVAB shows a fairly consistent downward trend from 1982 to 2001, with year-to-year variability, especially in the 1980 s, because of meteorological conditions. The national CO standards have not been exceeded since 1991 and the state standards for over six years. The decline in ambient CO is attributable to the introduction of cleaner fuels and newer, cleaner, motor vehicles. Health Effects: Carbon monoxide s (CO) health effects are related to its affinity for hemoglobin in the blood. At high concentrations, carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing heart difficulties in people with chronic diseases, reduced lung capacity and impaired mental abilities. Nitrogen Oxides (NOx includes NO 2 ): Nitrogen oxides are a family of highly reactive gases that are a primary precursor to the formation of ground-level ozone, and react in the atmosphere to form acid rain. NOx is emitted from the use of solvents and combustion processes in which fuel is burned at high temperatures, principally from motor vehicle exhaust and stationary sources such as electric utilities and industrial boilers. A brownish gas, nitrogen dioxide is a Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-20

73 strong oxidizing agent that reacts in the air to form corrosive nitric acid, as well as toxic organic nitrates. It participates in the formation of photochemical ozone and PM 2.5 and may be a component of dairy emissions. NOx can cause fading of textile dyes and additives, deterioration of cotton and nylon, and corrosion of metals due to production of particulate nitrates. Airborne NOx can also impair visibility. NOx is a major component of acid deposition in California. NOx may affect both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. NOx in the air is a potentially significant contributor to a number of environmental effects such as acid rain and eutrophication in coastal waters. Merced County is currently designated as an attainment area for the state and unclassified/attainment for the national NO 2 standards (see Table 3.4-2) Health Effects: Increased risk of acute and chronic respiratory disease. Short-term exposures (e.g., less than 3 hours) to low levels of NO 2 may lead to changes in airway responsiveness and lung function in individuals with preexisting respiratory illnesses. Long-term exposures to NO 2 may lead to increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and may cause irreversible alterations in lung structure. These exposures may also increase respiratory illnesses in children. Lead (Pb): Ambient Pb levels have dropped dramatically due to the increase in the percentage of motor vehicles that run exclusively on unleaded fuel. Ambient Pb levels in Fresno are well below the ambient standard and are expected to continue to decline. All areas of the State are currently designated as attainment for the state lead standard (the EPA does not designate areas for the national lead standard). Although the ambient lead standards are no longer violated, lead emissions from stationary sources still pose hot spot problems in some areas. As a result, the CARB identified lead as a toxic air contaminant. Health Effects: Lead enters the body through contaminated inhalation, soil, water, dust, paint, and food. Lead particles small enough to be inhaled into the lungs are easily absorbed into the blood and circulated throughout the body. The most important target is the brain. Even low levels of lead exposure can increase blood pressure and permanently lower children s IQ. Higher levels can cause anemia. Hydrogen Sulfide, (H 2 S): Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, irritating gas with a rotten egg smell and is generated by the anaerobic decomposition of manure. It is naturally emitted in geothermal areas and is also associated with certain industrial processes such as oil refineries, sewage treatment plants, and confined animal facilities. There is a state ambient air quality standard for hydrogen sulfide but no corresponding national standard. Concentrations of this pollutant are not monitored within the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin. Health Effects: Hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) has a distinct odor and can cause dizziness, nausea, irritation of eyes, nose, or throat, and headaches at low concentrations. Exposure to higher concentrations (above 100 parts per million [ppm]), can cause olfactory fatigue, respiratory paralysis, and death. Brief exposures to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (greater than 500 ppm) can cause a loss of consciousness. In most cases, the person appears to regain Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-21

74 consciousness without any other effects. No health effects have been found in humans exposed to typical environmental concentrations of hydrogen sulfide ( ppm). Sulfur Dioxide (SO 2 ): Sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) is a gaseous compound of sulfur and oxygen. It is formed primarily by the combustion of sulfur-containing fossil fuels. Increases in sulfur dioxide concentrations accelerate the corrosion of metals, probably through the formation of acids (SO 2 is a major precursor to acidic deposition). Sulfur oxides may also damage stone and masonry, paint, various fibers, paper, leather, and electrical components. Sulfur dioxide can be injurious to a wide variety of plant species, both native and cultivated. Some of the most sensitive plants include various commercially valuable pines, legumes, red and black oaks, white ash, alfalfa and blackberry. Increased SO 2 also contributes to impaired visibility. Particulate sulfate, much of which is derived from sulfur dioxide emissions, is a major component of the complex total suspended particulate mixture. Merced County is currently designated as an attainment area for the state SO 2 standards and unclassified for the national SO 2 standards (see Table 3.4-2) Health Effects: High concentrations of SO 2 can result in temporary breathing impairment for asthmatic children and adults who are active outdoors. Short-term exposures of asthmatic individuals to elevated SO 2 levels during moderate activity may result in breathing difficulties that can be accompanied by symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. Other effects that have been associated with longer-term exposures to high concentrations of SO 2, in conjunction with high levels of PM, include aggravation of existing cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and alterations in the lungs defenses. SO 2 also is a major precursor to PM 2.5, which is a significant health concern, and a main contributor to poor visibility (see also the discussion of health effects of particulate matter). Sulfates (SO 4 ): Sulfates are the fully oxidized ionic form of sulfur. They occur in combination with metal and/or hydrogen ions. In California, emissions of sulfur compounds occur primarily from the combustion of petroleum-derived fuels (e.g., gasoline and diesel fuel) that contain sulfur. This sulfur is oxidized to sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) during the combustion process and subsequently converted to sulfate compounds in the atmosphere. The conversion of SO 2 to sulfates takes place comparatively rapidly and completely in urban areas of California due to regional meteorological features. Health Effects: Contributes to respiratory illness, particularly in children and the elderly and aggravates existing heart and lung diseases. Visibility-Reducing Particles: Visibility-reducing particles consist of suspended particulate matter, which is a complex mixture of tiny particles that consist of dry solid fragments, solid cores with liquid coatings, and small droplets of liquid. These particles vary greatly in shape, size and chemical composition, and can be made up of many different materials such as metals, soot, soil, dust, and salt. The Statewide standard is intended to limit the frequency and severity of Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-22

75 visibility impairment due to regional haze. The San Joaquin Valley is unclassified for attainment status (CARB Chronology of State Visibility Reducing Particles Designations, March 2005). Health Effects: No specific health effects have been identified. The standard was developed to protect scenic qualities. Vinyl Chloride: Also known as chloroethene, a chlorinated hydrocarbon, is a colorless gas with a mild, sweet odor. Most vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products. Vinyl chloride has been detected near landfills, sewage plants, and hazardous waste sites, due to microbial breakdown of chlorinated solvents. Health Effects: Short-term exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride in air causes central nervous system effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches. Long-term exposure to vinyl chloride through inhalation and oral exposure causes in liver damage. Cancer is a major concern from exposure to vinyl chloride via inhalation. Vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of angiosarcoma, a rare form of liver cancer in humans. Other Air Pollutants Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): These volatile gases, also known as reactive organic gases, are hydrocarbon leftovers emitted into the air when fossil fuels don t burn completely. VOCs are emitted by vehicles, manufacturing and consumer products including hair sprays, engine degreasers, anti-perspirants and deodorants, air fresheners, windshield washer fluids, charcoal lighter fluid, and household cleaners. In California, consumer products account for new emissions equal to 20 million new cars driving 10,000 miles each year (Clean Air Primer, SVJAPCD, 2007). In the atmosphere, when sunlight, VOCs, nitrogen oxides and oxygen are mixed together, a new chemical combination is formed, ozone, which is the major ingredient of smog. At dairies, VOCs are emitted from the degradation of organic matter in manure. Health Effects: As a component of ozone, the health effects are the same. Methane (CH 4 ): Methane is an odorless greenhouse gas that absorbs and reflects terrestrial radiation back to the earth. The recent phenomenon of rising temperatures reportedly related to greenhouse gases is known popularly as global warming. Methane is emitted into the environment from various sources including ruminant livestock and manure decomposition. Methane released from domesticated ruminant livestock accounts for about 30 percent (about 80 million metric tons per year) of the anthropogenic methane generated in the United States (U.S. EPA, Final Report on U.S. Methane Emissions : Inventories, Projections, and Opportunities for Reduction, EPA 430-R , September 1999). It is highly flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air. Methane generation from ruminant animals is influenced by feed quality, essential nutrients in the feed, quantitative feeding level and feed schedule and animal health. Methane is released through the animal s mouth and nostrils, digestive system, and from anaerobic decomposition of livestock manure. Of the major greenhouse gases, methane has a relatively short lifespan in the Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-23

76 atmosphere. Removal from the atmosphere occurs due to chemical reactions in the atmosphere, as well as from microbial uptake by soils. There are no state or national ambient air quality standards for methane, and it is not considered a precursor of any other pollutant. Regulatory requirements for the reduction of control of methane emissions have not been established on the Federal, State, or local levels. However, EPA prepares methane emission source inventories as required by the CAA amendments. The five major anthropogenic sources of methane in the United States have been identified to be (in order of contribution): landfills, domesticated livestock, natural gas and oil production, coal mining, and livestock manure (U.S. EPA, 1998). Methane has been determined to be the second most significant greenhouse gas that reportedly contributes to global warming, the first being CO 2. Health Effects: Methane is not toxic. It may displace oxygen in an enclosed space and asphyxia may result if the oxygen concentration is reduced below 19.5%. Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ): Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas. Natural sources include: decomposition of dead organic matter; respiration of humans, bacteria, plants, animals and fungus; evaporation from oceans; and volcanic outgassing. Anthropogenic (human-caused) sources included burning coal, oil, natural gas and wood. It has been identified as a potential greenhouse gas. No emissions criteria have been established to date. Health Effects: When inhaled at high concentrations, CO2 produces a sour taste in the mouth and a stinging sensation in the nose and throat. If inhaled at high concentrations, it can cause asphyxiation. Ammonia (NH 3 ): Although not a criteria pollutant, ammonia NH 3 is evaluated with respect to this project and considered a precursor to the newest criteria pollutant, PM 2.5. Ammonia is considered an air toxic under the Air Toxics Hot Spots Information and Assessment Act, California Health and Safety Code sections 44300, et seq., 1987, Connelly program. Ammonia is generated during anaerobic decomposition of manure. It is a strong alkali that can react in the atmosphere to produce fine particulate in the form of ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate. Ammonia concentrations are not monitored in California, but the California Air Resources Board is currently developing inventories for ammonia as part of the state PM 2.5 planning process (Gaffney and Shimp, 1999). Ammonia gas (a base) is known to react with acids in the atmosphere (typically nitric or sulfuric acid) to form ammonium nitrates or sulfates, which are particles. In the eastern portions of the country sulfates predominate because of the burning of sulfur-containing fuels, while in California the nitric acid predominates. Nitric acid is a product of photochemical reactions in the atmosphere. Ammonia is thus a potential secondary source of fine particulate matter, since the particulates result from a chemical reaction in the atmosphere. While it is known that the release of ammonia gas is a participant in the formation of ammonium nitrate, there is currently no capability to forecast how much ammonium nitrate would be created by a release of a certain amount of ammonia. The reaction that forms ammonium nitrate is dependent on the presence of other chemicals which are in turn part of a complex photochemical process occurring in the Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-24

77 atmosphere. At the same time, both ammonia and ammonium nitrate are subject to removal processes that constantly remove the pollutants from the atmosphere (e.g., deposition, removal by rain, participation as nuclei, etc.). Health Effects: Ammonia (NH 3 ) is generated during anaerobic decomposition of manure; in high concentrations it can severely irritate the eye, ear and throat. Toxic Air Contaminants (TAC) Toxic air contaminants are defined as air pollutants which may cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or serious illness, or which may pose a hazard to human health. TACs are usually present in minute quantities in the ambient air. However, their high toxicity or health risk may pose a threat to public health even at very low concentrations. In general, for those TAC that may cause cancer, there is no concentration that does not present some risk. In other words, there is no threshold level below which adverse health impacts may not be expected to occur. This contrasts with the criteria pollutants for which acceptable levels of exposure can be determined and for which the state and federal governments have set ambient air quality standards. The CARB maintains the California Toxics Inventory (CTI) which provides emission estimates by stationary source, area source, mobile source and natural sources for 33 toxic compounds. The compounds included in the inventory were selected based on a list of air toxics used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in conducting the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA). In developing the NATA list, the EPA considered a number of factors, including toxicity-weighted emissions, monitoring data, past air quality modeling analysis, and review of existing risk assessment literature. The California Toxic Emission Inventory for these 33 compounds is summarized in Table Based on the results of ambient air monitoring, CARB has identified ten substances that present the most potential for health risk. The annual emissions of these substances reported by the SJVAPCD during the 2004 baseline period are summarized as follows: Acetaldehyde is both directly emitted into the atmosphere and formed in the atmosphere from photochemical oxidation. Sources include combustion processes such as exhaust from mobile sources and fuel combustion from stationary internal combustion engines, boilers, and process heaters. Acetaldehyde is classified as a federal hazardous air pollutant and as a California TAC. Acetaldehyde is a carcinogen that also causes chronic non-cancer toxicity in the respiratory system. Benzene, approximately 65 percent of the benzene emitted in the San Joaquin Valley comes from motor vehicles, including evaporative leakage and unburned fuel exhaust. Currently, the benzene content of gasoline is less than one percent. It is highly carcinogenic and occurs throughout California. It also has non-cancer health effects: brief inhalation exposure to high concentrations can cause central nervous system depression; exposure to liquid and vapor may irritate the skin, eyes, and upper respiratory tract in humans; ingestion of large amounts may result in vomiting, dizziness, and convulsions in humans; and, redness and blisters may result from dermal exposure. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-25

78 Table San Joaquin Valley Air Basin Toxic Emissions Inventory (By Type) Pollutant Stationary Sources Area Wide On-road Mobile Other Mobile Natural Sources All Total 1,3-Butadiene ,3-Dichloropropene Acetaldehyde Acrolein Acrylonitrile Arsenic Benzene Beryllium Cadmium Carbon tetrachloride Chloroform Chromium Chromium VI Diesel exhaust, PM Dioxins/Benzofurans Ethylene dibromide Ethylene dichloride Ethylene oxide Formaldehyde Hexachlorobenzene Hydrazine Lead Manganese Mercury Methylene chloride Nickel PAHs p-dichlorobenzene Perchloroethylene PCBs Styrene Trichloroethylene Vinyl chloride ,3 Butadiene emissions come from incomplete combustion of gasoline and diesel fuels. Mobile sources account for 67 percent of total air basin emissions. Area wide sources such as agricultural waste burning and open burning contribute approximately 30% of valley emissions. It has been identified as a carcinogen in California. Butadiene vapors cause neurological effects at very high levels such as blurred vision, fatigue, headache, and vertigo. Dermal exposure of Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-26

79 humans to 1,3-butadiene causes a sensation of cold, followed by burning sensation, which may lead to frostbite. Carbon Tetrachloride, the primary sources in California include chemical and allied product manufacturers and petroleum refineries. Total reported carbon tetrachloride emissions in the San Joaquin Valley were 0.01 tons per year. In California, carbon tetrachloride has been identified as a carcinogen. It is also a central nervous system depressant and mild eye and respiratory tract irritant. Chromium-VI, chromium plating and other metal finishing processes are the primary sources of hexavalent chromium (or chromium-vi) emissions in California and the San Joaquin Valley. In California, chromium-vi has been identified as a carcinogen. The respiratory tract is the major target organ for chromium-vi following inhalation exposure in humans. The principal acute effects are renal toxicity, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and intravascular hemolysis. p-dichlorobenzene, the primary sources include consumer products such as non-aerosol insect repellents and solid/gel air fresheners. These contribute 97.5% of p-dichlorobenzene emissions within the valley air basin. In California, it has been identified as a carcinogen. Acute exposure via inhalation in humans results in irritation to the eyes, skin and throat. Long-term inhalation exposure may affect the liver, skin, and central nervous system in humans. Formaldehyde is both directly emitted into the atmosphere and formed in the atmosphere as a result of photochemical oxidation. It is a product of incomplete combustion. One of the primary sources is vehicular exhaust. It is also used in resins, can be found in many consumer products as an antimicrobial agent, and is used in fumigants and soil disinfectants. In the San Joaquin Valley about 66% of emissions result from mobile sources. The major toxic effects caused by acute formaldehyde exposure via inhalation are eye, nose, and throat irritation and effects on the nasal cavity. Other effects seen from exposure to high levels of formaldehyde in humans are coughing, wheezing, chest pains, and bronchitis. Methylene Chloride is used as a blowing and cleaning agent in the manufacture of polyurethane foam and plastic manufacture, and as a solvent, primarily in paint stripping operations which account for the largest use. In the San Joaquin Valley, about 82% of the total emissions result from area sources. Case studies of methylene chloride poisoning during paint stripping operations have shown that inhalation exposure to extremely high levels can be fatal to humans. Acute inhalation exposure to high levels in humans has resulted in effects on the central nervous system including decreased visual, auditory, and psychomotor functions, but these effects are reversible once exposure ceases. It also irritates the nose and throat at high concentrations. Perchloroethylene is used as a solvent in dry cleaning operations, degreasing operations, paints and coatings, adhesives, aerosols, specialty chemical production, printing inks, silicones, rug shampoos, and laboratory solvents. In California, it has been identified as a carcinogen. Perchloroethylene vapors are irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Following chronic exposure, workers have shown signs of liver toxicity, as well as kidney dysfunction, and neurological disorders. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-27

80 Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) is emitted from both mobile and stationary sources. In the San Joaquin Valley, on-road diesel fueled engines are estimated to contribute approximately 23 percent of the Valley total, with an additional 66 percent attributed to other mobile sources such as construction and mining equipment, agricultural equipment, and transport refrigeration units. Stationary sources contribute about 12 percent of total diesel particulate matter. Diesel exhaust and many individual substances contained in it (including arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde and nickel) have the potential to contribute to mutations in cells that can lead to cancer. Long-term exposure to diesel exhaust particles poses the highest cancer risk of any toxic air contaminate evaluated by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). CARB estimates that about 70 percent of the cancer risk that the average Californian faces from breathing toxic air pollutants stems from diesel exhaust particles. Exposure to diesel exhaust can have immediate health effects. Diesel exhaust can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and it can cause coughs, headaches, lightheadedness and nausea. In studies with human volunteers, diesel exhaust particles made people with allergies more susceptible to the materials to which they are allergic, such as dust and pollen. Exposure to diesel exhaust also causes inflammation in the lungs, which may aggravate chronic respiratory symptoms and increase the frequency or intensity of asthma attacks. Air Pollution Climatology. The project is located in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJVAB), an inter-mountain air basin. On the east is the Sierra Nevada Range; the Coast Range forms the western boundary; and the Tehachapi Mountains form the southern boundary. The San Joaquin Valley Air Basin is comprised of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties and the valley portion of Kern County; approximately 25,000 square miles (Figure 3.4-1). The valley air basin is currently designated as attainment for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and the California Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), and lead (Pb). The air basin is designated as non-attainment for federal and state standards for ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM 10 ) and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ). The climate of the project area is typical of inland valleys in California, with hot dry summers and cool, mild winters. Daytime temperatures in the summer often exceed 100 degrees, with lows in the 60 s. In winter, daytime temperatures are usually in the 50 s, with lows around 35 degrees. Radiation (Tule) fog is common in the winter, and may persist for days. Winds are predominantly up-valley (from the north) in all seasons, but more so in the summer and spring months. Winds in the fall and winter are generally lighter and more variable in direction but generally blow towards the south and southeast. Because of the Valley s unique physical characteristics, its pollution potential is very high. Surrounding elevated terrain, in conjunction with temperature inversions, frequently restricts lateral and vertical dilution of pollutants. Abundant sunshine and warm temperatures in summer are ideal conditions for the formation of photochemical oxidants, and the Valley becomes a frequent scene of photochemical pollution. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-28

81 CALIFORNIA AIR BASINS AND COUNTIES Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-29

82 Air pollution transported from the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas is believed to account for 27 percent of measured ozone levels in the northern portion of the SJVAPCD (San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced Counties). The percentage drops to about 11 percent in the midvalley counties - Fresno, Tulare, Madera and Kings Counties (SJVAPCD website, March, 2003). Current Air Quality. The estimated population within the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJVAB) is more than 3.6 million people, according to SJVAPCD s Planning Division. The SJVAB has one of the most severe air pollution problems in the State. The American Lung Association ranks Merced County as having the sixth highest ozone pollution level in the nation. The surrounding topographic features restrict air movement through and out of the basin and, as a result, impede the dispersion of pollutants from the basin. Inversion layers are formed in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin throughout the year. During the summer, the San Joaquin Valley experiences daytime temperature inversions at elevations from 2,000 to 2,500 feet above the valley floor. During the winter months, inversions occur from 500 to 1,000 feet above the valley floor (CARB, 2007). The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District operates a series of monitoring stations. (Figure ) Although the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin is often in violation of state and federal ozone ambient air quality standards and PM 10 thresholds, data collected over the past ten years by the California Air Resources Board shows that air quality in the Valley is, in general, improving. The SJVAPCD has requested and received approval of Federal standard reclassification to extreme non-attainment, which will delay the attainment date to 2024, but results in extremely strict controls for stationary sources of pollutants. The focus of the current planning effort for the San Joaquin Valley is ozone, but it is important to remember that the Valley is also classified as non-attainment for the federal PM 2.5 standard. The Valley now has a nominal attainment date for the PM 2.5 standard of April 2010, with a maximum extension to The PM 2.5 attainment plan must be submitted to the EPA by April Many of the control strategies needed to bring the Valley into attainment of the federal ozone standard will also provide progress toward attainment of the PM 2.5 standard. The air basin is designated as a serious non-attainment area for federal PM 10 ambient air quality standards. Under this designation, the SJVAPCD is required to meet the 24-hour and annual PM 10 standards by December 31, In October 2006, the EPA found that the SJVAB is in attainment of its PM 10 standards; it is now waiting on the State of California to adopt a maintenance plan that reduces the likelihood of sanctions. However, if the SJVAB violates the standard prior to the redesignation to attainment, the requirement for contingency measures would once again be applicable. Failure could, again, result in increased offset requirements for new industrial sources and potential sanctions, including withholding of federal grants for capacity-expanding transportation projects and new transportation plans, and could ultimately stop all federally funded transportation projects in the SJVAPCD, except safety projects. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-30

83 SJVAPCD MONITORING STATION LOCATIONS Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-31

84 3.4.2 SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS Pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines, significant impacts on air quality may occur if the project: Conflicts with or obstructs implementation of the applicable air quality plan. Violates any air quality standard or contributes substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation. Results in a cumulatively considerable net increase of any criteria pollutant for which the project region is non-attainment under an applicable federal or state ambient air quality standard (including releasing emissions which exceed quantitative threshold for ozone precursors). Exposes sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations. Creates objectionable odors affecting a substantial number of people. Significance will be determined on the basis of whether project emissions exceed designated threshold levels, contribute, however minimally, to an existing violation of an identified Basinwide air quality standard, or contribute to recognized global air quality concerns PROJECT IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.4-1: Conflicts with or obstructs implementation of applicable air quality plans. Discussion: The referenced city General Plan EIR(s) indicate that the implementation of each city s General Plan would have significant and unavoidable cumulative impacts on air quality. Each city s General Plan contains policies that serve to mitigate impacts to air quality; however, those policies are not sufficient to avoid a significant impact. The County s General Plan contains policies to enhance air quality by promoting an urban centered concept to concentrate urban uses and reduce the need for use of fossil fuels, especially motor vehicles. The proposed project will not cause a change in land uses, zoning, or General Plan policies. The proposed project is entirely consistent with the General Plan(s) for each jurisdiction, but it is intended to sustain or accelerate implementation. Accelerated development resulting from the implementation of an incentive for growth by the adoption of an Enterprise Zone may affect the timing of air quality plan attainment in the region and thus obstruct implementation of applicable air quality plans. Conclusion: The project will have a significant impact on implementation of the applicable air quality plans. Mitigation Measures: No mitigation measures are available as a result of this program-level environmental evaluation in addition to those already required by previously-adopted General Plan environmental documents. It is, however, noted that industrial and commercial development within the Enterprise Zone must comply with San Joaquin Valley Air District regulations and any pertinent project-level environmental review-required air quality mitigation measures. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-32

85 Effectiveness of Mitigation Measures: Following implementation of the existing mitigation measures, the impact will remain significant and unavoidable. Impact #3.4-2: Violates any air quality standard or contributes substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation. Discussion: The designation of an Enterprise Zone will not create air emissions; although it may accelerate development consistent with the General Plan(s). The General Plan EIR(s) for the cities indicate that the implementation of each city s General Plan would have significant and unavoidable cumulative impacts on air quality. The project area is located within the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin, which is designated as non-attainment for ozone, PM 10, and PM 2.5 by both the EPA and California Air Resources Board. The proposed designation of the Enterprise Zone is not anticipated to cause substantial new air quality impacts that were not previously considered in the General Plan EIRs in each of the cities in question or discussed in the County s General Plan and Initial Study. The implementation of an incentive for growth by the adoption of the Enterprise Zone, however, may accelerate development thus affecting air quality standards violation. Conclusion: The project will have a significant impact regarding contributions to an existing air quality violation. Mitigation Measures: No mitigation measures are available in addition to those already required by previously-adopted General Plan environmental documents as a result of this program level environmental evaluation. Industrial and commercial development within the Enterprise Zone must comply with San Joaquin Valley Air District regulations and any pertinent project-level environmental review-required air quality mitigation measures. Effectiveness of Mitigation Measures: Following implementation of the existing mitigation measures, the impact will remain significant and unavoidable. Impact #3.4.3: Results in a cumulatively considerable net increase of any criteria pollutant for which the project region is non-attainment under an applicable federal or state ambient air quality standard. Discussion: The designation of an Enterprise Zone will not create an increase in air emissions, although it may accelerate development which is consistent with the General Plan(s). Implementation of the General Plan(s) will, however, cause a cumulative net increase in criteria pollutants for which Merced County is currently in non-attainment (CO-unclassified, ozone/non-attainment, and PM 10 -non-attainment/carb, 2007). The Enterprise Zone is not anticipated to cause substantial new air quality impacts that were not previously considered in the General Plan EIRs in each of the cities in question or discussed in the County s General Plan and Initial Study. Conclusion: The project will not have a significant impact regarding contributions to existing air quality violation. Mitigation Measures: None are required in addition to the existing measures. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-33

86 Effectiveness of Mitigation Measures: Following implementation of the existing mitigation measures, the impact will remain significant and unavoidable. Impact #3.4-4: Expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations. Impact #3.4-5: Create objectionable odors affecting a substantial number of people. Discussion: The designation of an Enterprise Zone would not expose sensitive receptors to pollutant concentrations or create objectionable odors. Development within the Enterprise Zone could be any of a variety of industrial or commercial uses, some of which could create substantial pollutants and/or odors. Such development, however, can occur in properly zoned or conditional use-permitted industrial or commercial properties within the Zone with or without Zone Adoption. The project, therefore, will not cause or create such exposure or odors. Conclusion: The proposed project would have a less than significant impact on sensitive receptors from the creation of air pollution or objectionable odors. Mitigation Measures: None are necessary. Impact #3.4.6: Emit greenhouse gases inducing climate changes. The designation of an Enterprise Zone may sustain or accelerate business development, although zone designation will not modify the total development or total emissions which may occur on city or county land within the District. Earlier emissions, prior to the implementation of effective measures to limit total greenhouse gas emissions and ameliorate climate changes, must be deemed significant even in the absence of quantifiable thresholds. However, mitigation measures must await individual development environmental analysis to enable their applicability, effectiveness and feasibility. Conclusion: The project will have a significant impact on the emission of greenhouse gases inducing climate changes. Mitigation Measures: None are available. 3.5 Biological Resources INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on biological resources such as sensitive plant or animal species or their habitat, or riparian habitat or interference with the normal movements of wildlife species in the vicinity of a project, and wetlands. Additional concerns focus on consistency of the project with adopted plans, policies, and regulations regarding wildlife, habitat conservation plans, and local wildlife preservation plans or policies. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-34

87 3.5.1 REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment Federal Endangered Species Act The Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA) defines an endangered species as any species or subspecies that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A threatened species is defined as any species or subspecies that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Once a species is listed, it is fully protected from a take unless a Take Permit is issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Take is defined as the killing, capturing, pursuing or otherwise harming or harassing of a species, including conversion of habitat. Proposed endangered or threatened species are those species for which a proposed regulation, but not final rule, has been published in the Federal Register. Migratory Bird Treaty Act The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibits the killing, possessing, or trading of migratory birds, bird parts, nest, or egg (FMBTA: 16 U.S.C., 703, Supp. I, 1989), unless it is in accordance with the regulations that have been set forth by the Secretary of the Interior. Clean Water Act Section 401 Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires an applicant who is seeking a 404 Permit to first obtain a water quality certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. To obtain the water quality certification, the Regional Water Quality Control Board must indicate that the proposed fill would be consistent with the water quality standards set forth by the state. Clean Water Act Section 404 Section 404 of the Clean Water Act regulates all discharges of dredged or fill material into Waters of the United States. These waters may include all waters used, or potentially used, for interstate commerce, including all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, all interstate waters, all other waters (intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, mudflats, sandflats, playa lakes, natural ponds, etc.), all impoundments of waters otherwise defined as Waters of the U. S., tributaries of waters otherwise defined as Waters of the U.S., the territorial seas, and wetlands adjacent to Waters of the U.S. (33 CFR, Part 328, Section 328.3). Areas not considered to be jurisdictional waters include non-tidal drainage and irrigation ditches excavated on dry land, artificially-irrigated areas, artificial lakes or ponds used for irrigation or stock watering, small artificial water bodies such as swimming pools, and water-filled depressions (33 CFR, Part 328). The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the agency responsible for administering the permit process for activities that affect Waters of the United States. Executive Order is a federal implementation policy, which is intended to result in no net loss of wetlands. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-35

88 California Endangered Species Act The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) protects certain plant and animal species when they are of special ecological, educational, historical, recreational, aesthetic, economic, and scientific value to the people of the State. The CESA established that it is State policy to conserve, protect, restore, and enhance endangered species and their habitats. The California Endangered Species Act is administered through the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) (Fish and Game Code ). The CESA expanded upon the original Native Plant Protection Act and enhanced legal protection for plants. To be consistent with federal regulations, CESA created the categories of threatened and endangered species. It converted all rare animals into the Act as threatened species, but did not do so for rare plants. Thus, there are three listing categories for plants in California: rare, threatened, and endangered. Under State law, plant and animal species may be formally designated by official listing by the California Fish and Game Commission. California Native Plant Protection Act In 1977 the State Legislature passed the Native Plant Protection Act (NPPA) in recognition of rare and endangered plants of the State. The NPPA gave the California Fish and Game Commission the power to designate native plants as endangered or rare, and to require permits for collecting, transporting, or selling such plants. The NPPA is administered through the California Department of Fish and Game (Fish and Game Code ). California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code 21000) The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) states that a species that is not listed on the Federal or State endangered species list may be considered rare or endangered if the species meets certain criteria. Under CEQA public agencies must determine if a project would adversely affect a species that is not protected by FESA or CESA. Species that are not listed under FESA or CESA, but are otherwise eligible for listing (i.e., candidate or proposed) may be protected by the local government until the opportunity to list the species arises for the responsible agency (i.e., USFWS or CDFG). Fish and Game Code 3503, , Predatory Birds Under the California Fish and Game Code, all predatory birds in California, generally called raptors, are protected. It is unlawful to take, possess, or destroy the nest or eggs of any such bird unless it is in accordance with the code. Any activity that would cause a nest to be abandoned or cause a reduction or loss in a reproductive effort is considered a take. Fish and Game Code Streambed Alteration Under the California Fish and Game Code, the Department of Fish and Game has jurisdiction over any proposed activities that would divert or obstruct the natural flow or change the bed, channel or bank of any lake or stream. Private landowners or project developers must obtain a Streambed Alteration Agreement from the CDFG prior to any alteration of a lake bed, stream Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-36

89 channel or their banks. Through this agreement, the CDFG may impose conditions to limit and fully mitigate impacts on fish and wildlife resources. Public Resources Code Oak Woodlands Conservation In 2004, the California legislature enacted SB 1334, which added oak woodland conservation regulations to the Public Resources Code. This law requires a county to determine whether a project within its jurisdiction may result in a conversion of oak woodlands that will have a significant effect on the environment. If a county determines that there may be a significant effect to oak woodlands, the county must require mitigation alternatives to mitigate the significant effect. Such mitigation alternatives include conservation through the use of conservation easements, planting and maintaining an appropriate number of replacement trees, contribution of funds to the Oak Woodlands Conservation Fund for the purpose of purchasing oak woodlands conservation easements, and/or other mitigation measures developed by the county. Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) In 2005, a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) was adopted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for development in Santa Nella, an unincorporated community northwest of Los Banos. The HCP, referred to as HCP Santa Nella Phase I (Arnaudo Brothers/Wathen-Castanos) focused on a portion of the residential and commercial development of Santa Nella. Physical Environment The Enterprise Zone is located within the Central San Joaquin Valley which is in an area that is dominated by rural agriculture. The climatic conditions are hot and dry in the summer and cold and moist in the winter. Winter rains are interspersed with spells of cloudy, foggy, or sunny weather. The average winter temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the average daily maximum temperature during the summer is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (Merced County Website, 2007). The agricultural community in Merced County consists of both large and small farms. Crops typically grown include almonds, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, hay (alfalfa), cotton, silage (corn), and grapes (wine). Although not prime habitat, croplands in the agricultural areas of the County can provide a source of food, water, and shelter to both native and introduced wildlife species. The lack of hedgerows, shelter-belts, wind breaks, and natural vegetation buffers severely limits the habitat value of these man-made environs. Agricultural practices such as herbicide and pesticide application, monocultural cropping, and intensive tillage further reduce such habitat value. Various orchards and stands of ornamental trees within the agricultural areas and urban developments within the proposed project site provide limited habitat for migratory birds, songbirds, and raptors. Although these stands of trees are not natural, they do contribute to available habitat for wildlife. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-37

90 Sensitive Natural Communities and Special-Status Plant and Wildlife species The vegetation associations that historically occurred in the vicinity of the proposed project site support a variety of wildlife and plant species and subspecies indigenous to California. The conversion of native and naturalized plant communities to urban land uses, agriculture, and industrial facilities has significantly reduced available habitat. As a result of this conversion, several natural communities and species of both plants and animals have become rare, extirpated from California, or population levels have substantially declined. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have listed some species as endangered, threatened, candidates for State or federal listing, or species of special concern. For this report, the terms species of concern or special status species refers to those species viewed with special concern by the USFWS under the Federal Endangered Species Act, by CDFG under the California Endangered Species Act, and by the California Natural Diversity Data Base (CNDDB). Attention is also given to those species given special status by various private conservation organizations. Existing data were reviewed to determine the historic occurrence of sensitive natural communities and special-status species in or near the proposed project area, including CNDDB records, literature records, and local environmental documents. The CNDDB was queried for the USGS 7.5-Minute Quadrangles including or adjacent to the project area. Figure 3.5-1, on the following page, graphically denotes CNDDB-listed historic occurrences. A query of the California Native Plant Society s Electronic Inventory was conducted for the same USGS quadrangles to provide information on additional plant species of concern that continue to occur in Merced County. A species list was obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) website for the same USGS 7.5-minute quadrangles to provide information on additional special-status species that have the potential to occur in the vicinity of the proposed project area. It was determined that there are a limited number of natural communities that potentially occur in the project area. The project area consists of all industrial, commercial, and retail zoned areas within incorporated cities in Merced County, as well such as areas and agriculturally-zoned parcels with special use permits for ag industry within unincorporated Merced County. The majority of the project area is developed with high degrees of human disturbance. It was further determined that there are a limited number of special-status plants that potentially occur within the project area (Figure 3.5-1), due to the high degree of disturbance. There are 14 special-status wildlife species that are deemed to potentially occur within the project site: the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), cackling goose (Branta hutchinsii leucopareia), California horned lark (Eremophila alpestris actia), Ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), the Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), Merlin (Falco columbarius), the Mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), the Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), the San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica), Swainson s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor), and the Western mastiff bat (Eumpos perotis californicus). A variety of other raptors and migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and/or the California Fish and Game Code could conceivably forage and breed within the project area from time to time. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-38

91

92 HISTORIC HABITAT AND SENSITIVE COMMUNITIES, SPECIAL-STATUS SPECIES MERCED COUNTY PROJECT AREA Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-39

93 3.5.2 SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS Pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines, significant impacts on biological resources may occur if the project would: Have a substantial adverse effect, either directly or through habitat modifications, on any species identified as a candidate, sensitive or special status species in local or regional plans, policies, or regulations, or by the CDFG or USFWS. Have a substantial adverse effect on any riparian habitat or other sensitive natural community identified in local or regional plans, policies, and regulations or by the CDFG or USFWS. Have a substantial adverse effect on federally protected wetlands as defined by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (including, but not limited to, marsh, vernal pool, coastal, etc.) through direct removal, filling, hydrological interruption or other means. Interfere substantially with the movement of any native resident or migratory fish or wildlife species or with established native resident or migratory wildlife corridors, or impede the use of native wildlife nursery sites. Conflict with any local policies or ordinances protecting biological resources, such as a tree preservation policy or ordinance. Conflict with the provisions of an adopted Habitat Conservation Plan, Natural Community Conservation Plan, or other approved local, regional, or state habitat conservation plan IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.5-1: Have a substantial adverse effect, either directly or through habitat modifications, on any species identified as a candidate, sensitive, or special status species in local or regional plans, policies or regulations, or by the CDFG or USFWS. Impact #3.5-2: Have a substantial adverse effect on any riparian habitat or other sensitive natural community identified in local or regional plans, policies, and regulations or by the CDFG or USFWS. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the biological environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. Such review may require pre-disturbance site surveys. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may sustain or accelerate the rate of commercial and industrial development; however, such development must comply with the mitigation measures of the referenced General Plan environmental documents as well as existing state and federal regulations. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-40

94

95 Conclusion: The project will have no impact on special status species, riparian habitat or sensitive natural communities. Mitigation Measures #3.5-1 and #3.5-2: None are required. Impact #3.5-3: Have a substantial adverse effect on federally protected wetlands as defined by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (including, but not limited to, marsh, vernal pool, coastal, etc.) through direct removal, filling, hydrological interruption, or other means. Discussion: Figure depicts federally-identified wetlands on and near the project area. The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts on wetlands. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. Such review may require pre-disturbance site surveys and wetlands delineations. Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on federally protected wetlands. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.5-4: Interfere substantially with the movement of any native resident or migratory fish or wildlife species or with established native resident or migratory wildlife corridors or impede the use of native wildlife nursery sites. Impact #3.5-5: Conflict with any local policies or ordinances protecting biological resources, such as a tree preservation policy or ordinance. Impact #3.5-6: Conflict with the provisions of an adopted Habitat Conservation Plan, Natural Community Conservation Plan, or other approved local, regional, or state habitat conservation plan. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the physical or regulatory biological environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, ordinances and adopted environmental plans and mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. The only HCP adopted in Merced County is for development within the unincorporated community of Santa Nella. Since the Enterprise Zone boundary does not include any land within the Santa Nella HCP boundary, the Enterprise Zone designation has no impact on an adopted Habitat Conservation Plan. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-41

96

97 WETLANDS MERCED COUNTY Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-42

98

99 Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on migratory corridors or nursery sites and will not conflict with local resource protection ordinances or Habitat Conservation Plans, Natural Community Conservation Plans, or other approved local, regional or state habitat conservation plans. Mitigation Measures: None are required. 3.6 Cultural Resources INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on cultural resources including, but not limited to, adverse change to a significant historical or archaeological resource. Other areas of concern include the potential for a project to adversely impact a unique paleontological resource, geologic feature or disturb any human remains REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment There are several federal and state laws and regulations applicable to historical and architecturally significant resources, as well as to archaeological and paleontological resources. Key regulations are discussed briefly below. National Historic Preservation Act The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) is the most influential federal law dealing with historic preservation. In addition, Congress has enacted numerous other statutes that affect historic properties. One of the most important provisions of the NHPA is the establishment of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), the official designation of historical resources. Districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects are eligible for listing in the Register. Nominations are listed if they are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. The NRHP is administered by the National Park Service. To be eligible, a property must be significant under criterion A (history), B (persons), or C (design/construction); possess integrity; and ordinarily be 50 years of age or more. Listing in the NRHP does not entail specific protection or assistance for a property, but it does guarantee recognition in the planning for federal or federally-assisted projects, eligibility for federal tax benefits, and qualification for federal historic preservation assistance. The NRHP is influential beyond its statutory role because it establishes uniform standards of documentation and evaluation. Additionally, project effects on properties listed in the NRHP must be evaluated under CEQA. California Register of Historic Resources The California Register of Historical Resources establishes a list of properties which are to be protected from substantial adverse change (Public Resources Code Section ). A historical resource may be listed in the California Register if it meets any of the following criteria: Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-43

100 it is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of California s history and cultural heritage; it is associated with the lives of persons important in California s past; it embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, region, or method of construction, or represents the work of an important creative individual, or possesses high artistic value; and it has yielded or is likely to yield information important in prehistory or history. The Register includes properties that are listed or have been formally determined to be eligible for listing in the NRHP or as State Historical Landmarks and Eligible Points of Historical Interest. Other resources require nomination for inclusion in the Register. These may include resources contributing to the significance of a local historic district, individual historical resources, historical resources identified in surveys conducted in accordance with State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) procedures, historic resources or districts designated under a local ordinance consistent with Commission procedures, and local landmarks or historic properties designated under local ordinance. Health and Safety Code, 7052 and Section requires that construction or excavation be stopped in the vicinity of discovered human remains until the coroner can determine whether the remains are those of a Native American. If determined to be Native American, the coroner must contact the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC). Section 7052 of the Health and Safety Code states that the disturbance of Native American cemeteries is a felony. California Native American Historical, Cultural and Sacred Sites Act The California Native American Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Sites Act applies to both State and private lands. The Act requires that upon discovery of human remains, construction or excavation activity must cease and that the county coroner be notified. If the remains are Native American, the coroner must notify the NAHC. The NAHC then notifies those persons mostly likely to be descended from the Native American remains. The Act stipulates the procedures the descendants may follow for treating or disposing of the remains and associated grave goods. Public Resource Code 5097 Public Resources Code, Section 5097 specifies the procedures to be followed in the event of the unexpected discovery of human remains on nonfederal land. The disposition of Native American burial falls within the jurisdiction of the NAHC. Section of the Code states the following: No person shall knowingly and willfully excavate upon, or remove, destroy, injure or deface any historic or prehistoric ruins, burial grounds, archaeological or vertebrate paleontological site, including fossilized footprints, inscriptions made by human agency, or any other archaeological, paleontological or historical Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-44

101 feature, situated on public lands, except with the express permission of the public agency having jurisdiction over such lands. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor. As used in this section, public lands means lands owned by, or under the jurisdiction of, the state or any city, county, district, authority or public corporation, or any agency thereof. Consequently, each of the affected agencies are required to comply with Public Resource Code Government Code 65352: Referral of Action on General Plan Changes to Native Americans Requires local planning agencies to refer proposed actions regarding general plan adoption or amendment to California Native American tribes on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission, and others, with a 45-day opportunity for comments. Government Code : Consultation with Native Americans on General Plan Proposals Requires local governments to conduct meaningful consultation with California Native American tribes on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission prior to the adoption or amendment of a city or county general plan for the purpose of protecting cultural places on lands affected by the proposal. Physical Environment The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced are located in the San Joaquin Valley of California. In the process of developing their General Plans, each jurisdiction researched some or all of the following sources to determine the presence of cultural resources in their respective planning areas. California Office of Historic Preservation Central California Information Center of the California Historical Resources Information System National Register of Historic Places, including listed and eligible properties California Inventory of Historic Resources California Historical Landmarks California Points of Historic Interest Historic maps Published texts History The County of Merced General Plan provides the following narrative regarding the history of Merced County. Beginning with the earliest Indian inhabitants, Merced County has been the repository of a rich legacy of historical and archaeological resources. The Yokut Indian tribe inhabited the San Joaquin Valley for a long period before falling prey to European diseases in the 1830 s. The resources the Yokuts and earlier tribes left behind include fossils, cemetery and camp sites, artifacts and relics. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-45

102 During the 1830 s, new settlements came into existence on the large Spanish land grants that had been established on the west side of the County. Later, during the gold rush, the west side became a major feeding stop for sheep and cattle being herded over the Pacheco Pass to San Francisco. The County was formed in 1855, and in 1857, the first courthouse was erected in the town of Snelling. The east side of the County began its principal development after the building in 1870 of the Central Pacific Railroad, followed in 1896 by the completion of the Santa Fe Railroad. The county seat was moved from Snelling and was established in the town of Merced in 1872; by the turn of the century, communities grew around an agriculturally-based economy. Today, historical structures and landmarks occupy all parts of the County. They are recognized for architecture, design and artifacts contained within, as well as their role in the history of, the County. Merced County is fortunate to have a number of cultural and archaeological sites which have been preserved for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Several sites of historic significance are located in the County including five sites designated as California Historical Landmarks (Office of Historic Preservation) and 17 sites on the National Register of Historic Places SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, a project s impacts are normally considered significant if it would: Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a historical resource as defined in Section Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of an archaeological resource pursuant to Section Directly or indirectly destroy a unique paleontological resource or site or unique geologic feature. Disturb any human remains, including those interred outside of formal cemeteries IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.6-1: Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a historical resource as defined in Section Impact #3.6-2: Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of an archaeological resource pursuant to Section Impact #3.6-3: Directly or indirectly destroy a unique paleontological resource or site or unique geologic feature. Impact #3.6-4: Disturb any human remains, including those interred outside of formal cemeteries. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-46

103 Discussion: None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to cultural resources, either due to the lack of protected resources, or to the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with such documents. Those mitigation measures as well as the General Plan policies continue to be in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Establishment of the Enterprise Zone may accelerate the timing of any impacts but will not alter the magnitude of those impacts. It will not directly result in any physical impacts to the cultural environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable policies, laws, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. It will be essential that such environmental review incorporate legally-required notification of and consultation with the California Office of Historic Preservation and appropriate California Native American tribes. Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on cultural resources. Mitigation Measures: None are required. 3.7 Geology/Soils INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of natural geologic or soil conditions on the project. Specific concerns include earthquakes and seismic related hazards, or unstable soils REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment The State of California has established a variety of regulations and requirements related to seismic safety and structural integrity, including the California Building Code, the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act and the Seismic Hazards Mapping Act. California Building Code The California Building Code (CBC) is included in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations and is a portion of the California Building Standards Code. Under State law, all building standards must be centralized in Title 24 or they are not enforceable. The CBC incorporates the Uniform Building Code, a widely adopted model building code in the United States. Through the CBC, the State provides a minimum standard for building design and construction. The CBC contains requirements for seismic safety, excavation, foundations, retaining walls and site demolition. It also regulates grading activities, including drainage and erosion control. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-47

104 The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced are subject to State Building Codes. Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act The Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act was passed in 1972 to mitigate the hazard of surface faulting to structures for human occupancy. The main purpose of the Act is to prevent the construction of buildings used for human occupancy on active faults. The Act only addresses the hazard of surface fault rupture and is not directed toward other earthquake hazards. The law requires the State Geologist to establish regulatory zones (known as Earthquake Fault Zones or Alquist-Priolo Zones) around the surface traces of active faults, and to issue appropriate maps. The maps are distributed to all affected cities, counties, and state agencies for their use in planning and controlling new or renewed construction. Local agencies must regulate most development projects within the zones and there can generally be no construction within 50 feet of an active fault zone. Seismic Hazards Mapping Act The Seismic Hazards Mapping Act, passed in 1990, addresses non-surface fault rupture earthquake hazards, including liquefaction and seismically-induced landslides. Under the Act, seismic hazard zones are to be mapped by the state geologist to assist local governments in land use planning. The Act states that it is necessary to identify and map seismic hazard zones in order for cities and counties to adequately prepare the safety element of their general plans and to encourage land use management policies and regulations to reduce and mitigate those hazards to protect public health and safety. Section 2697(a) of the Act additionally requires that cities and counties shall require, prior to the approval of a project located in a seismic hazard zone, a geotechnical report defining and delineating any seismic hazard. Merced County has not been mapped under the Seismic Hazards Mapping Act yet since the State has targeted higher risk areas, such as the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles/Riverside areas. Physical Environment Merced County is located near the geographic center of California in the San Joaquin Valley and is bordered by two mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada to the east and the Diablo Range to the west. Small intermittent streams enter the valley from the semi-arid mountains of the Diablo Range; some are lost on alluvial fans, while others have been dammed to form reservoirs for irrigation. Perennial rivers flow from the more humid and larger drainage areas of the Sierra Nevada and these have also been dammed for irrigation. In the past, water spread over these drainage areas depositing sand, silt and clay and built up large alluvial fans along each side of the valley. The larger and more gently sloping fans on the east side are built up principally by deposits of granitic rock sources which have created extensive foothills, rising to approximately 500 feet above sea level. The coastal range on the western County border reaches elevations of 3,000 feet and dips steeply under the alluvial fans of the valley. Alluvial fans on the westside generally have steeper slopes and have been built up by materials originating in the sedimentary rocks of the coastal range. As a result, there is an abrupt boundary between mountains and valley with hardly any transitional foothill belt. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-48

105 The valley floor is made up of alluvial materials from both ranges which are reflected in the soils. The valley is barely above sea level and, because of this, much of the runoff from the two ranges and elsewhere in the valley has created rivers, a high water table, and extensive wetlands. Earthquakes and Related Hazards The nearest faults of major historical significance are the San Andreas to the west of Merced County, a distance of approximately 15 miles from the County line; the Hayward and Calaveras faults to the northwest; the White Wolf, Garlock, and Sierra Nevada faults to the south, and the Bear Mountain Fault Zone about five (5) miles east of and parallel to the eastern border of Merced County. These faults have been in the past, and will continue in the future, to be the principal sources of seismic activity affecting the County of Merced. There are no Alquist- Priolo Earthquake Fault Zones in the project area. Groundshaking The most serious direct earthquake hazard is the damage or collapse of buildings and other structures caused by groundshaking. Groundshaking is the vibration which radiates from the epicenter of an earthquake. Damage to structures from groundshaking is caused by the transmission of earthquake vibration from the ground into the structure. The intensity of the vibration or shaking and its potential impact on buildings and other urban development is determined by several factors: the nature of the underlying materials, including rock and soil; the structural characteristic of a building; the quality of workmanship and materials used in its construction; the location of the epicenter and the magnitude of the earthquake; and the duration and character of the ground motion. While there is no record of any seismic activity originating in Merced County (other than tremors on the west side, close to the Ortigalita Fault), the County has been shaken by earthquakes originating elsewhere. There is documented evidence of six earthquakes that shook the area, those of 1872, 1906, 1952, 1966, 1984, and The County of Merced has been fortunate in the past and has not suffered any loss of life; however, major damage occurred in Los Banos in 1906, with minor structural damage recorded throughout the County on other occasions. Urbanized areas are now much larger and more people would be subject to impacts. The possibility of future earthquakes of equal or greater magnitude than those mentioned could cause a casualties and extensive property damage in the County. This could be aggravated by aftershocks and by secondary effects of fire, landslides and dam failure. Ground settlement may also occur in unconsolidated valley sediments, many of which are saturated with water. These sediments represent the poorest kind of soil condition for resisting seismic shock waves. The changes that occur, such as liquefaction and loss of strength in fine-grained materials, can result in ground cracking, unequal settlement, subsidence and other surface changes. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-49

106 Ground Failure Soil compaction and settlement can also result from seismic groundshaking. If the sediments which compact during an earthquake are saturated, water from voids is forced to the ground surface where it emerges in the form of mud spouts or sand boils. If the soil liquefies in this manner (liquefaction), it loses its supporting capacity with the result that structures may settle into the ground. The extent of damage ranges from minor displacement to total collapse. Engineering treatment of either the ground or structures or both can sometimes stabilize hazards, such as liquefaction; however, these solutions are often temporary and high cost may not justify their use. Other alternatives include land use restrictions or controls through special ordinances. Regulating the type or density of use in a given area can be effective in handling potential hazards. Agriculture, recreation or other open space uses are more acceptable than residential or commercial uses for seismic hazard areas. Similarly, certain low occupancy uses may be acceptable in some risk areas, whereas high occupancy uses or critical facilities (i.e., schools, hospitals) may not be. Although no specific liquefaction hazard areas have been identified in Merced County, this potential is recognized throughout the San Joaquin Valley wherever unconsolidated sediments and a high water table coincide. It is reasonable to assume that liquefaction hazards exist in some of Merced County s wetland areas. Landslides and Erosion Landslides are common to the foothills and Coast ranges in Merced County and represent a safety hazard to property and residents. A landslide is the downhill movement of masses of earth material under the force of gravity. Movement may be very rapid, or so slow that a change of position can be noted only over a period of weeks or years. The size of a landslide can range from several square feet to several square miles. Soils U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, soil surveys for Merced County include: Soil Survey of Merced Area, California, July 1962; and Soil Survey of Merced County, California, Western Part, March Additional information is available at the following web address: General Plans for each of the respective cities, with the exception of Dos Palos and for the County included information regarding soil types found within each jurisdiction SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, a project will normally have significant impacts associated with geology, soils and seismicity if the project would: Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-50

107 Expose people or structures to potential substantial adverse effect, including the risk of loss, injury, or death involving: i) rupture of a known earthquake fault, as delineated on the most recent Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Map issued by the State Geologist for the area or based on other substantial evidence of a known fault. Refer to Division of Mines and Geology Special Publication 42; ii) strong seismic ground shaking; iii) seismic-related ground failure, including liquefaction; or iv) landslides. Result in substantial soil erosion or the loss of topsoil. Be located on a geologic unit or soil that is unstable, or that would become unstable as a result of the project, and potentially result in on- or off-site landslide, lateral spreading, subsidence, liquefaction of collapse. Be located on expansive soil, as defined in Table 18-1-B of the Uniform Building code (1994), creating substantial risks to life or property. Have soils incapable of adequately supporting the use of septic tanks or alternative waste water disposal systems where sewers are not available for the disposal of waste water IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.7-1: Expose people or structures to potential substantial adverse effects, including the risk of loss, injury, or death involving: i) rupture of a known earthquake fault, as delineated on the most recent Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Map issued by the State Geologist for the area or based on other substantial evidence of a known fault; ii) strong seismic ground shaking; iii) seismic-related ground failure, including liquefaction; or iv) landslides. Discussion: There are, as previously noted, no Alquist-Priolo faults in the project area. Ground shaking or ground failure due to out-of-area faults will be mitigated by compliance with California Building Code requirements. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact to the exposure of people or structures to potential substantial adverse effects related to earthquake hazards. Mitigation Measures: None are required Impact #3.7-2: Result in substantial soil erosion or the loss of topsoil. Impact #3.7-3: Be located on a geologic unit or soil that is unstable, or that would become unstable as a result of the project, and potentially result in on- or off-site landslide, lateral spreading, subsidence, liquefaction of collapse. Impact #3.7.4: Be located on expansive soil, as defined in Table 18-1-B of the Uniform Building code (1994), creating substantial risks to life or property. Discussion: None of the referenced General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact due to erosion, or to development on unstable or expansive soils. All of the jurisdictions require Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-51

108 soil stabilization. The Enterprise Zone boundary includes no foothill areas. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development; however, such development will comply with the pertinent goals, policies, regulations and mitigation measures of the referenced General Plans. Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact due to erosion or to development on unstable or expansive soils. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.7.5: Have soils incapable of adequately supporting the use of septic tanks or alternative waste water disposal systems where sewers are not available for the disposal of waste water. Discussion: None of the referenced environmental documents specifically addressed the potential for development to rely on septic systems in unsuitable soils. Cities require new commercial and industrial development to connect to city sewer systems. For commercial and industrial development in the unincorporated County, the County Health Department Division of Environmental Health regulates the design, approval, construction and monitoring of on-site waste disposal systems often with the support of the State s Regional Water Quality Control Board. Conclusion: Impacts related to the use of septic systems in unsuitable soils are less than significant. Mitigation Measures: None are required. 3.8 Hazards and Hazardous Materials INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project with respect to hazards. The creation of new hazardous conditions or activities that will result in people or property being exposed to existing hazards is the primary area of consideration under this issue. Hazards include, but are not limited to, hazardous materials, hazards associated with aircraft and airports or wildland fires. An additional concern is the consistency of a project with emergency response plans or emergency evacuation plans REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment Federal Federal laws and guidelines have been adopted governing the use, storage, disposal and release of hazardous material and wastes, including: Occupational Safety and Health Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act; NIH Guidelines for Carcinogens and Biohazards; Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act Title III; and Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendment Act. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-52

109 State and Local State and local laws have also been adopted including: Hazardous Substances Information and Training Act; Hazardous Materials Release Response Plan and Inventory; Hazardous Waste Control Act; Hazardous Waste Management Act; and Toxic Hot Spots Act. Agencies responsible for the administration of these laws and regulations have adopted standards and enforcement provisions. Applicable federal regulations are contained primarily in Titles 29, 40 and 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR, 40 CFR, and 49 CFR). State regulations applicable to hazardous materials are contained primarily in Title 26 of the California Administrative Code (26 CAC). Merced County has adopted the County Hazardous Waste Management Plan (CHWMP) and the County of Merced Hazardous Material Incident Response Plan which identifies specific agencies and responsibilities during accidental transportation, pipeline, and industrial releases of hazardous materials emergencies. The County Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP), adopted by the Airport Land Use Commission, serves as a tool for use by the Airport Land Use Commission in fulfilling its duty to review airport development and any adjacent land use development proposals. Physical Environment The California Department of Toxic Control Substance (DTSC) has identified and will continue to identify hazardous waste sites subject to corrective action. These sites have been, or will be subject to extensive investigation and/or cleanup actions as required to mitigate any public impacts. There is no hazardous waste disposal facility located within Merced County. Merced County is served by five public use airports: Castle Airport, Gustine Airport, Los Banos Municipal Airport, Merced Municipal Airport, and Turlock Municipal Airport. There are also several private airstrips in Merced County. The municipal airports are primarily utilized for private aircraft. The Merced Airport provides commercial passenger and freight air services and is a regionally significant airport according to criteria used by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Castle Airport, which became a civilian facility upon closure of the Castle Air Force Base in September of 1995, is also proposed to be a regionally significant airport serving private and commercial aviation functions. There are no California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection identified wildland areas that may contain substantial forest fire risks and hazards in the project area SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, a project will normally have significant impacts associated with hazards or hazardous materials if the project would: Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through the routine transport, use, or disposal of hazardous materials. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-53

110 Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through reasonably foreseeable upset and accident conditions involving the release of hazardous materials into the environment. Emit hazardous emissions or handle hazardous or acutely hazardous materials, substances, or waste within one-quarter mile of an existing or proposed school. Be located on a site which is included on a list of hazardous materials sites compiled pursuant to Government Code Section and, as a result, would it create a significant hazard to the public or the environment. For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area. For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area. Impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan. Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving wildland fires, including where wildlands are adjacent to urbanized areas or where residences are intermixed with wildlands IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.8-1: Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through the routine transport, use or disposal of hazardous materials. Impact #3.8-2: Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through reasonably foreseeable upset and accident conditions involving the release of hazardous materials into the environment. Impact #3.8-3: Emit hazardous emissions or handle hazardous or acutely hazardous materials, substances or waste within one-quarter mile of an existing or proposed school. Impact #3.8-4: Be located on a site which is included on a list of hazardous materials sites compiled pursuant to Government Code Section and, as a result, would create a significant hazard to the public or the environment. Impact #3.8-5: For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project result in a safely hazard for people residing or working in the project area. Impact #3.8-6: For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area. Impact #3.8-7: Impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-54

111 Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in creation of any new hazards or any new exposure of people to existing hazards. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future site development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. It is important to note in this regard that local General Plans and Zoning regulations may not fully address hazards and hazardous materials; the regulation thereof is more likely to be affected by the various Federal and State agencies and regulation noted in the Regulatory Environment subsection of this Section. Illustrative in this regard is the County Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan; local agency industrial and commercial development submittal to and review by the Airport Land Use Commission, is to a degree, voluntary but may be effective. Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on the listed hazard and hazardous waste concerns. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.8-8: Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving wildland fires, including where wildlands are adjacent to urbanized areas or where residences are intermixed with wildlands. Discussion: The proposed Enterprise Zone does not include land identified as being at risk for wildland fires. Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on the risk of wildland fires. Mitigation Measures: None are required. 3.9 Hydrology and Water Quality INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on surface and groundwater, including compliance with water quality standards and regulations, depletion of groundwater supplies, pollution or degradation of water quality. Additional concerns include water-related hazards such as flooding, mudflows and similar hazards. This area of environmental concern also addresses potential project impacts on area drainage including stormwater runoff. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-55

112 3.9.1 REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment There are a myriad of laws, regulations and policy documents that affect the requirements and infrastructure needs for water supply, water quality maintenance and stormwater discharge in the project area, as well as flood protection. Among these are: Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) The Clean Water Act, initially passed in 1972, regulates the discharge of pollutants into watersheds throughout the nation. Section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act establishes a framework for regulating municipal and industrial stormwater discharges under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program. Section 402(p) requires that stormwater associated with industrial activity that discharges either directly to surface waters or indirectly through municipal separate storm sewers must be regulated by a NPDES permit. On December 8, 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) circulated Phase II regulations for non-point sources requiring permits for stormwater, including discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4s) operators. In California, the NPDES Program is administered by the State. Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood plain zones are determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and used to create Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) designating these areas. These tools assist cities in mitigating flooding hazards through land use planning and building permit requirements. To address the need for insurance to cover flooding issues, FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Administration (NFIA) program. The NFIA program provides federal flood insurance and federally financed loans for property owners in flood prone areas. To qualify for federal flood insurance, cities must identify flood hazard areas and implement a system of protective controls. State Water Resources Control Board The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act and does so through issuing NPDES and other discharge permits to cities and counties through regional water quality control boards. Federal regulations provide permitting options for stormwater discharges, individual permits and general permits. The SWRCB elected to adopt a statewide general permit (Water Quality Order No DWQ) for MS4s covered under the Clean Water Act to efficiently regulate numerous stormwater discharges under a single permit. Permitees must meet the requirements in Provision D of the General Permit, which requires development and implementation of a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) with the goal of reducing the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable. The Board has additional responsibilities regarding the regulation of rights to surface water supplies. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-56

113 Regional Water Quality Control Board The State s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act outlines the responsibilities of the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the procedures for coordinating with the SWQCBs to meet federal Clean Water Act standards. Merced County falls within the Central Valley Region, which is the largest in the state, stretching from the Oregon border south to Los Angeles County. It encompasses 60,000 square miles, or about 40 percent of the State s total area, and includes 38 of the State s 58 counties. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board s (CVRWQCB) headquarters are in Sacramento, with branch offices in Redding and Fresno. The CVRWQCB s mission is to preserve and enhance the quality of California s water resources for the benefit of present and future generations. This duty is carried out by formulating and adopting water quality control plans for specific ground and surface water basins, and by prescribing and enforcing requirements on waste discharges. Physical Environment Surface Water Merced County has a number of surface water resources including rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and canals. These resources include three rivers (Merced, San Joaquin, and Chowchilla), seven major creeks (Quinto, Romero, Bear, Los Banos, Owens, Mariposa, and Deadman), five reservoirs (San Luis, O Neil Forebay, Los Banos Creek, and Burns), and four major canals (Delta-Mendota, San Luis, the California Aqueduct, and Eastside). Flooding Flood is a natural occurrence in the Central San Joaquin Valley. The Valley is a natural drainage basin for thousands of acres of foothill and mountain land of the Sierras. Approximately 750,000 acres in the San Joaquin Subbasin are prone to flooding. In Merced County, the flood plains of the San Joaquin and Merced Rivers and their tributaries encompass nearly one half of the Valley floor. Merced County has an area of roughly 380,010 acres of land that are subject to 100-year frequency floods. Groundwater The San Joaquin Valley is separated into two hydrologic basins by an indistinct divide which interrupts the lengthwise slope of the Valley: the San Joaquin Subbasin to the north (including Merced County), which drains to the Pacific Ocean; and the Tulare Subbasin to the south, which has an outlet only when rare floodflows carry its water across the divide and into the San Joaquin Subbasin. Merced County can be divided into two major drainage basins: the Merced River and the San Joaquin River. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-57

114 Groundwater Quality Water quality in the County differs from east to west and from north to south, with varying degrees of turbidity, color, odor, and chemical characteristics. The quality of the groundwater is determined primarily by salt concentrations and, to a lesser degree, by levels of nutrients, pesticides, and other contaminants. Low quality groundwater is found throughout much of the San Joaquin Valley Basin with high levels of boron and total dissolved solids occurring west of the San Joaquin River. Additionally, concentrations of nitrates and pesticides are generally found in shallow wells northwest of Atwater. Overall groundwater quality is generally excellent in the higher foothill areas and decreases in quality toward the Valley center low areas SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, a project will normally have significant adverse effects associated with hydrology and water quality if it would: Violate any water quality standards or waste discharge requirements. Substantially deplete groundwater supplies or interfere substantially with groundwater recharge such that there would be a net deficit in aquifer volume or a lowering of the local groundwater table level (e.g., the production rate of pre-existing nearby wells would drop to a level which would not support existing land uses or planned uses for which permits have been granted). Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, in a manner which would result in substantial erosion or siltation on- or off-site. Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, or substantially increase the rate or amount of surface runoff in a manner which would result in flooding on- or off-site. Create or contribute runoff water which would exceed the capacity of existing or planned stormwater drainage systems or provide substantial additional sources of polluted runoff. Otherwise substantially degrade water quality. Place housing within a 100-year flood hazard area as mapped on a federal flood Hazard Boundary or Flood Insurance Rate Map or other flood hazard delineation map. Place within a 100-year flood hazard area structures which would impede or redirect flood flows. Inundation by seiche, tsunam, or mudflow. Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving flooding, including flooding as a result of the failure of a levee or dam. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-58

115 3.9.3 IMPACT AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.9-1: Violate any water quality standards or waste discharge requirements. Impact #3.9-2: Substantially deplete groundwater supplies or interfere substantially with groundwater recharge such that there would be a net deficit in aquifer volume or a lowering of the local groundwater table level (e.g., the production rate of pre-existing nearby wells would drop to a level which would not support existing land uses or planned uses for which permits have been granted). Impact #3.9-3: Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, in a manner which would result in substantial erosion or siltation on- or off-site. Impact #3.9-4: Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, or substantially increase the rate or amount of surface runoff in a manner which would result in flooding on- or off-site. Impact #3.9-5: Create or contribute runoff water which would exceed the capacity of existing or planned stormwater drainage systems or provide substantial additional sources of polluted runoff. Impact #3.9-6: Otherwise substantially degrade water quality. Impact #3.9-7: Place housing within a 100-year flood hazard area as mapped on a federal flood Hazard Boundary or Flood Insurance Rate Map or other flood hazard delineation map. Impact #3.9-8: Place within a 100-year flood hazard area structures which would impede or redirect flood flows. Impact #3.9-9: Inundation by seiche, tsunami or mudflow. Impact #3.9-10: Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving flooding, including flooding as a result of the failure of a levee or dam. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the land use environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future site development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. It is critical to note in this regard that: 1) The development permitted by land use regulations, its water usage and disposal, must comply with complex Federal, State and regional regulatory requirements designed to reduce the hydrologic/water quality impacts of such development to less than significant. This project does nothing to reduce such compliance requirements. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-59

116 2) Any acceleration in the rate of industrial and commercial development which may be attributed to the Enterprise Zone may have the secondary effect of sustaining current population growth rates, together with the development itself, and thus creating continuing urban water supply demand. All major urban development is now subject to water supply analysis in accord with Chapters 642 and 643 (Senate Bills No. 221 and 610) of the Public Resources Code as a precursor to or component of the project-specific environmental review process. Conclusion: The project will have no, direct or indirect, hydrology/water quality impacts. Mitigation Measures: None are required Land Use and Planning INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the potential impacts of the project on adopted land use, habitat conservation or natural community conservation plans, and the potential for the project to physically divide an established community REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory General Plans In California, State law makes a General Plan the foundation and central feature of the local planning process. Each city and county is required to prepare, adopt, and maintain a General Plan to govern the physical development of all of the land area under its jurisdiction. The purposes that are intended to be served by a General Plan include the following: the identification of the community s physical development goals, and goals relating to environmental, economic, and other factors; policies for maintaining or improving the character for existing developed uses and for guiding the location and nature of future development in order to ensure that the community s goals are achieved; and the consideration of all aspects of local conditions affecting physical development and change, in order to ensure that problems and opportunities are analyzed and addressed adequately within the context of local, regional, statewide, and national goals and policies. Each local agency affected by this project has adopted General Plans (see Chapter 2 of this EIR). Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-60

117 Zoning Ordinance The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced have adopted zoning ordinances to determine the location of industrial, commercial, and other land uses within their jurisdictional boundaries. The zoning ordinances also specify what type of permit is necessary for a specific land use, and what standards apply to development. Habitat Conservation Plans A small 120-acre area within Merced County is subject to a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) focused on the development of Santa Nella, an unincorporated community northwest of Los Banos. No other portion of Merced County is covered by a HCP or Natural Community Conservation Plan. Physical The locations of existing industrial and commercial development and of areas appropriately zoned for such development are briefly described in Chapter Two of this EIR and are mapped on Figures through 2.2-2D SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, a project will normally have significant adverse impacts associated with land use and planning if it would: Physically divide an established community. Conflict with any applicable land use plan, policy or regulation of an agency with jurisdiction over the project. Conflict with any applicable habitat conservation plan or natural community conservation plan IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.10-1: Physically divide an established community. Discussion: The proposed Enterprise Zone simply serves as an overlay zone encouraging development of already General Plan-designated or zoned industrial and commercial land. It therefore does not in any way divide or cause division of an established community with respect to the portions of the Zone located within or abutting such communities. Other portions of the zone overlays designated as commercial or industrial areas such as agricultural industrial developments and Interstate Route 5 interchange areas are not associated with established communities. Conclusion: The project will not physically divide an established community, and thus have no impact. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-61

118 Impact #3.10-2: Conflict with any applicable land use plan, policy or regulation of an agency with jurisdiction over the project. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the land use environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies and regulations and with adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. Conclusion: There will be no impact related to a conflict with such regulations. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.10-3: Conflict with any applicable habitat conservation plan (HCP) or natural community conservation plan. Discussion: The only HCP or natural community conservation plan adopted in Merced County is for development within the unincorporated community of Santa Nella. The Enterprise Zone does not include land within the Santa Nella HCP. Conclusion: There will be no impact related to a conflict with such regulations. Mitigation Measures: None are required Mineral Resources INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on known mineral resources of commercial or otherwise documented economic value REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment Federal Five important acts of Congress relate to mineral resources. The Domestic Minerals Program Extension Act of 1953 states that each department and agency of the Federal Government charged with responsibilities concerning the discovery, development, production, and acquisition of strategic or critical minerals and metals shall undertake to decrease further, and to eliminate where possible, the dependency of the United States on overseas sources of supply of each such material. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-62

119 The Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government to foster and encourage private enterprise in the development of a stable domestic minerals industry and the orderly and economic development of domestic mineral resources. This act includes all minerals, including sand and gravel, geothermal, coal and oil and gas. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 reiterates that the 1970 Mining and Minerals Policy Act shall be implemented and directs that public lands be managed in a manner which recognizes the Nation s need for domestic sources of minerals and other resources. The National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 require the Secretary of the Interior to improve the quality of minerals data in Federal land use decisionmaking. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 encourages energy efficiency and conservation; promotes alternative and renewable energy sources; reduces dependence on foreign sources of energy; increases domestic production; modernizes the electrical grid; and encourages the expansion of nuclear energy. State and Local The primary State law concerning conservation and development of mineral resources is the California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) of 1975, as amended. SMARA is found in the California Public Resources Code (PRC), Division 2, Chapter 9, Sections 2710, et. seq. SMARA was enacted in 1975 to limit new development in areas with significant mineral deposits. SMARA calls for the State geologist to classify the lands within California based on mineral resource availability. In addition, the California Health and Safety Code requires the covering, filling or fencing of abandoned shafts, pits, and excavations (California Health & Safety Code ). Mining may also be regulated by local government, which has the authority to prohibit mining pursuant to its General Plan and local zoning laws. The Department of Conservation Division of Oil and Gas regulates oil operations in California. (California Public Resources Code 3000 et. seq.) Physical Environment Much of Merced County s mineral wealth is located in the east and west foothill areas. Active mining is occurring in concentrated locations on both the eastside and westside of the County with a sand deposit located in the Atwater area. Mining activities are located in the alluvial flood plain deposits of the Los Banos Creek and the off-channel flood plain of the Merced River. Geologically speaking, sand and gravel deposits are relatively young. Merced River deposits are estimated to be ten thousand years old. Los Banos Creek deposits are estimated to be ten million years old. Sand and gravel extraction constitute the major portion of the County s activity, both in terms of quantity of materials produced and the value of extracted resources. The State Division of Mines and Geology mapped the mineral resources within Merced County in Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-63

120 Based on that mapping, DMG Open File Report was prepared. Page 3 of that report states: (3) Identification of Aggregate Resource Areas (ARAs): Lands known to contain significant concrete aggregate resources (areas classified as MRZ-2a or MRZ-2b are evaluated to determine whether or not current uses of these lands preclude mining. Areas currently permitted for mining and areas found to have land uses compatible with possible mining are considered available for mining. These ARAs are delineated on Plate 6 Plate 6 was reviewed; only a minor area of overlap of MRZ-2a or MRZ-2b and the project sites (Garzas Creek at the I-5 interchange) was identified SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, a project s impacts are normally considered significant if it would: Result in the loss of availability of a known mineral resource that would be of value to the region and the residents of the state. Result in the loss of availability of a locally-important mineral resource recovery site delineated on a local general plan, specific plan or other land use plan IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.11-1: Result in the loss of availability of a known mineral resource that would be of value to the region and the residents of the state. Impact #3.11-2: Result in the loss of availability of a locally-important mineral resource recovery site delineated on a local general plan, specific plan or other land use plan. Discussion: Based on the review of proposed Enterprise Zone sites and the Division of Mines and Geology s mapped data, the overlap between locations of significant aggregate resources and potential commercial or industrial development which would be benefited by Enterprise Zone adoption is negligible. Any such development will, however, be required to undergo project-specific environmental evaluation during which mineral resources would be evaluated. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact on mineral resources. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-64

121 3.12 Noise INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project with respect to noise or groundborne vibration. The creation of new noise or ground-borne vibration conditions or activities that will result in people or property being exposed to levels above existing noise or vibration is the primary area of consideration under this environmental issue REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment Federal, state and local government entities regulate the noise environment in Merced County. This section summarizes the imposed standards and guidelines. Federal Regulations The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) all provide standards for noise. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) OSHA has a noise exposure standard that is set at the noise threshold where hearing loss may occur from long-term exposure. The maximum allowable level is 90 dba (A-weighted decibels) averaged over eight hours. If noise levels exceed 90 dba, the allowable exposure time is correspondingly shorter. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HUD environmental noise regulations, presented in the Code of Federal Regulations (24 CFR Part 51B), require that new housing construction meet the following noise standards. Exterior noise levels are considered: acceptable at 65 dba Ldn (day/night noise level) or less; normally unacceptable if they exceed 65 dba Ldn but not 75 dba Ldn, unless appropriate sound attenuation measures are provided, which include 5 decibels additional attenuation over standard construction in the 65 to 70 dba Ldn zone or 10 decibels of additional attenuation in the 70 to 75 dba Ldn zone; and unacceptable if they exceed 75 dba Ldn. Interior noise levels and attenuation requirements are geared toward achieving an interior noise level of 45 dba Ldn. The guidelines assume that standard construction will provide sufficient attenuation to achieve interior levels of 45 dba Ldn, or less if the exterior noise level is 65 dba Ldn or less. These regulations apply to new residential projects that receive federal funding. If Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-65

122 housing developed in Merced County receives federal funding, the federal noise standards may be applicable. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Groundborne vibration impacts are typically associated with fast moving railroad operations and large industrial equipment. The FTA has developed vibration impact assessment criteria for evaluating vibration impacts associated with rapid transit projects. These criteria for groundborne vibration impacts on occupants inside buildings are shown in Table and are based on root-mean-square (rms) pulse duration, which are the average vibration levels experienced by humans (Vdb). Note that there are separate criteria for frequent events (more than 70 events per day) and infrequent events (less than 70 events per day). FTA criteria are based primarily on experience with passenger train operations, such as rapid transit and commuter rail systems. The main difference between passenger and freight operations is the time duration of individual events; a passenger train lasts a few seconds, whereas a long freight train may last several minutes depending on speed and length. Although the criteria are based on shorter duration events reflected by passenger trains, they are used in this assessment to evaluate the potential of vibration annoyance on the site due to large freight trains. It should also be noted that the FTA criteria described in Table are not appropriate for evaluating the potential of structural or cosmetic damage to buildings due to train operations. It is extremely rare that train operations can cause any such damage except in the case of weakened structures or historic buildings. Even in such cases, structural damage is unlikely unless the buildings are located very close to the tracks. State Regulations Table Groundborne Vibration Impact Criteria Groundborne Vibration Impact Limits Re1, µinch/second, rms) Land Use Category Frequent Events Infrequent Events Category 1: Buildings where low ambient is 65 Vdb 65 Vdb essential for interior operations Category 2: Residences and buildings where 72 Vdb 80 Vdb people normally sleep Category 3: Institutional land uses with primarily daytime uses 75 Vdb 83 Vdb Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment, April 1995, DOT-T In California, noise is regulated as an environmental impact under CEQA. Standards for construction are also included in the State Building Code, and the State Office of Noise Control provides guidelines about appropriate noise levels for particular land uses. California Building Code New multi-family housing in California is subject to the environmental noise limits set forth in Title 24, Part 2 of the State Building Code. The interior noise level limit of Title 24 is 45 dba Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-66

123 Ldn, which is consistent with the HUD standard. Where exterior noise levels exceed 60 dba Ldn, a report must be submitted with the building plans describing the noise control measures that have been incorporated into the design of the proposed project to achieve an exterior noise level less than 60 dba Ldn in common outdoor use areas and interior noise levels of 45 dba Ldn in interior living spaces. If the windows must remain closed in order to meet the required noise level, an alternate means of ventilation, such as air condition, must be provided. The State building code also has requirements for airborne and impact noise isolation between adjacent dwelling units. The airborne and impact sound isolation requirements are typically handled in the architectural design phase versus at a General Plan level of analysis. Noise Sensitive Land Uses Different types of land uses are considered to have various sensitivities to noise based on the types of activities that are expected to take place in those uses. The State of California Office of Noise Control (ONC) has developed a noise/land use compatibility matrix, as shown in Figure , which shows noise standards for various land use categories. These noise standards are intended to provide guidelines for the development of municipal noise elements. These basic guidelines may be tailored to reflect the existing noise and land use characteristics of a particular community. Land uses deemed noise sensitive by the ONC include schools, hospitals, rest homes, long-term care and mental care facilities. Many jurisdictions also consider residential uses particularly noise sensitive because families and individuals expect to use time in the home for rest and relaxation, and noise can interfere with these activities. Some variability in standards for noise sensitivity may apply to different densities of residential development, and single-family uses are frequently considered the most sensitive. Jurisdictions may identify other uses as noise sensitive such as churches, libraries, day care centers and parks. Land uses that are less sensitive to noise include some office and retail developments. There is a range of insensitive noise receptors that generate significant noise levels where human occupancy is typically low. Examples of insensitive uses include industrial and manufacturing, utilities, agriculture, vacant land, parking lots, salvage yards and transit terminals. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-67

124 LAND USE AND NOISE COMPATIBILITY* *Federal Transit Administration Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-68

125 Physical Environment There are several potentially significant primary sources of community noise within Merced County. These sources include traffic on major roadways and highways, railroad operations, airports, and industrial/agricultural activities. Field noise survey work and technical studies performed by Brown-Buntin Associates Inc. were used to assess noise issues in Merced County s Year 2000 University Community Plan. The cities of Atwater, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced have utilized a combination of noise level measurements and noise modeling to address the issue of noise in their respective General Plans. Information is not available for Dos Palos. Mitigation measures adopted within the respective General Plan environmental documents will continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Traffic Noise Merced County is traversed by one interstate (I-5) and several State highways (S.H. 165, S.H. 152, S.H. 140, S.H. 99, S.H. 59, and S.H. 33). Railroad Noise Railroad operations within Merced County consist of high speed mainline operations on the Burlington National/Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and on the Union Pacific Transportation Company (UP) railroad along State Route 99. A low speed UP branchline operation is located in the west side of the County through the communities of South Dos Palos and Volta. Major Stationary Noise Sources The production of noise is an inherent part of many industrial, commercial, and agricultural processes, even when the best available noise control technology is applied. Noise production within an industrial, commercial, or agricultural facility is controlled by federal and state employee health and safety regulations (OSHA and Cal-OSHA), but exterior noise emissions from such operations have the potential to exceed locally acceptable standards at noise sensitive land uses. Aircraft Noise There are five (5) public use airports in Merced County: Castle Airport, Gustine Airport, Los Banos Municipal Airport, Merced Municipal Airport, Turlock Municipal Airport. Noise from these facilities is regulated by their respective master plans and the latest adopted Airport Land Use Commission Plan SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS According to the CEQA Guidelines, the project will normally have significant noise impacts if the project would result in: Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-69

126 Exposure of persons to or generation of noise levels in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies. Exposure of persons to or generation of excessive groundborne vibration or groundborne noise levels. A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project. A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project. For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels. For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.12-1: Exposure of persons to or generation of noise levels in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies. Impact #3.12-2: Exposure of persons to or generation of excessive groundborne vibration or groundborne noise levels. Impact #3.12-3: A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project. Impact #3.12-4: A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project. Impact #3.12-5: For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels. Impact #3.12-6: For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the noise environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review, including analysis of potential noise or vibration impacts, since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-70

127 Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact involving vibration, ambient noise and airport related noise. Mitigation Measures: None are required Population and Housing INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on population and housing including population growth or displacement of human population and housing REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment The project is subject to regulation by the land use and housing elements of the General Plans of the County and each of the cities as well as their respective zoning ordinances and other ordinances and policies regulating municipal development. Physical Environment Since its formation by the State Legislature in 1855, the County of Merced has grown from a population of 500 to 246,751 as reported in the 2006 Department of Finance (DOF) County population estimates. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Merced County in 2000 was 210,554. The DOF estimates the population will be 360,831 in Based on this information, the projected rate of increase in population annually is expected to be 2.7%. According to the 2000 Census, the total number of housing units in Merced County was 68,373 and in 1990 total housing units were 58,410. This was a 1.58 percent annual increase in housing units from 1990 to The total number of housing units in Merced County as of January, 2006 (DOF) was 80,136. As of that date the housing stock in the County was comprised of 58,608 detached single family units, 2,538 attached single family units, 13,366 duplex and multifamily units and 5,624 mobile homes. The vacancy rate was 6.5 percent. Note that all statistics in this section apply to the County as a whole, inclusive of the incorporated cities within it SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS The State CEQA Guidelines provide criteria to be used to determine the significance of impacts to population and housing. A project s impacts will normally be considered significant if it will: Induce substantial population growth in an area, either directly or indirectly. Displace substantial numbers of existing housing, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-71

128 Displace substantial numbers of people, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.13-1: Inducement of substantial population growth in the area (Merced County and its cities), either directly (i.e., by proposing new homes and businesses) or indirectly (i.e., through extension of roads or other infrastructure). Discussion: The proposed designation of an Enterprise Zone is not a housing-related project and would not directly induce population growth. Future development which may be encouraged by the incentives offered by the Enterprise Zone could increase employment, which may indirectly impact housing needs. While all development will be required to comply with the existing General Plans, an increase in employment could cause the respective communities to reach the target populations in their general plans ahead of the expected time horizon; however, overall population growth and the subsequent demand for housing are not anticipated to exceed levels which were planned for in the adopted General Plans of the project proponents. The County of Merced has had a major Enterprise Zone (7,700 acres) in effect since 1992, as have other Valley counties. During that period (through 2006) California s growth averaged 1.5% per year, and Merced County s growth rate averaged 2.2% per year but not due to additional employment. Merced County s unemployment number declined only 2.5% per annum during that period; the State s roll declined 2.8% per annum. (Unemployment remained at 9.3% in 2006, nearly twice the State average.) Merced County s population growth during the subject period was 1.5% per year, California s 1.2%. Merced County s previous Enterprise Zone did not appear to accelerate growth. The fact that most of the counties surrounding Merced County have Enterprise Zone s in place, and the fact that many business inquiries are seeking Enterprise Zone incentives suggest that Merced County might not be competitive as a location for new investment and job growth without the Enterprise Zone, as prospects might locate in surrounding areas. It is, however, equally evident that although the proposed project may permit Merced County to remain competitive for new business and industry, it will not create substantial population growth. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact on population growth. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Impact #3.13-2: Displacement of substantial numbers of existing housing, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere. Impact #3.13-3: Displacement of substantial numbers of people, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere. Discussion: The Enterprise Zone will only apply to development on agricultural, industrial and commercial designated land; therefore, it cannot displace housing or substantial numbers of Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-72

129 people. Any revised General Plans which may be adopted during the lifespan of the Enterprise Zone could conceivably affect housing; however, the Enterprise Zone, again, has no effect on or relationship to such potential project. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact on the displacement of people or housing. Mitigation Measures: None are necessary Public Services INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on public service facility needs and the potential environmental impacts of developing and/or expanding these facilities. Facility needs can be defined by the need to maintain acceptable levels of service such as response times, or such other community service standard as may apply REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment There are no specific federal or state regulations applicable to the environmental analysis of public services. Local regulations related to the provision of public services and utilities are set forth in the adopted ordinances of the project proponents. Physical Environment Fire Protection Merced County The Merced County Fire Department is administered and suppression personnel are provided through a contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF). Support personnel are Merced County employees. The Department also provides fire protection to the cities of Gustine, Dos Palos, and Livingston through agreements with these cities. The Department is a full service fire department providing emergency services to all unincorporated areas of the County through a network of fire stations, personnel, and equipment. This network includes 20 stations, 73 full-time staff, 240 volunteers, and 108 vehicles. The Department s headquarters is located at 735 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Merced, California Table provides a listing of the fire stations located throughout the County. The National Insurance Services Office (ISO) rates communities and their available resources for responding to and controlling fires. The ISO rating is a measure of fire protection service, with ratings from 1 to 10, 1 being the best. The County s ISO rating is 6. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-73

130 In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. Table Merced County Fire Station Locations Station # Address City State Zip Atwater # Broadway Atwater CA Ballico # Ballico Ballico CA Castle # Hardstand Avenue Atwater CA Cressey # Cressey Way Cressey CA Delhi # Acacia Street Delhi CA Dos Palos # Golden Gate Avenue Dos Palos CA Dos Palos Wye # W. Dairy Lane Dos Palos CA El Nido # S. Highway 59 El Nido CA Gustine # rd Street Gustine CA Hilmar # W. Falke Street Hilmar CA LeGrand # Santa Fe Drive Le Grand CA Livingston # C Street Livingston CA Los Banos # H Street Los Banos CA Los Banos CDF W. Gonzaga Road Santa Nella CA Mariposa CDF-Headquarters 5366 Highway 49 North Mariposa CA McKee # N. McKee Merced CA Merced # Martin Luther King Jr. Way Merced CA Planada # E. Broadway Planada CA Santa Nella # Centinella Road Santa Nella CA Snelling # Lewis Street Snelling CA S. Dos Palos # W. L Street South Dos Palos CA Stevinson # Lander Avenue Stevinson CA Winton # N. Winton Way Winton CA Atwater Fire protection services for the City of Atwater are provided by the Atwater Fire Department. The City s fire station is located at 699 Broadway. The Fire Department has 12 full-time employees and 12 volunteers. The Department is the first to respond to fires and then volunteers are called as needed. The Atwater Fire Department has an ISO rating of 5. In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. The Merced County Fire Department provides services to the unincorporated area surrounding the City. Given the level of urban development and uncertainty of boundaries near city limits, a Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-74

131 joint response including the City Fire Department is typical. Actual responsibility is determined at the scene. Dos Palos The Merced County Fire Department provides contract fire services to the City of Dos Palos. The City s contract provides for two full-time employees, with two to four relief personnel who work on rotation. The Fire Department also provides fire protection service to the unincorporated community of South Dos Palos. Two fire stations are used by the Department. Station #1 is located at 1540 Golden Gate Avenue and Station #2 is located at 8047 W. Dairy Lane in South Dos Palos. The Department has six active volunteers. Additionally, there are six volunteers associated with the South Dos Palos Station who respond to fires city-wide. County personnel are the first to respond to fires and then volunteers are called as needed. The Department s ISO rating is 5. In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. Gustine The Merced County Fire Department provides contract fire protection services to the City of Gustine. The City s contract with the Fire Department provides for two full-time employees; only one mans the station at one time. The Gustine Fire Station is located at rd Street, Gustine, California The Fire Department has 13 volunteers. County personnel are the first to respond to fires and then volunteers are called as needed. The Department s ISO rating is 5. In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. Livingston The Merced County Fire Department provides contract fire protection services to the City of Livingston. The City s contract with the Fire Department provides for one full-time employee, with one to two relief personnel who work on rotation. The Livingston Fire Station is located at 1430 C Street, Livingston, California The Fire Department has 14 volunteers. County personnel are the first to respond to fires and then volunteers are called as needed. The Department s ISO rating is 5. In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-75

132 Los Banos Fire protection services for the City of Los Banos are provided by the Los Banos Fire Department. Two fire stations are used by the Department. Station #1 is located at th Street and Station #2 is located at 1150 West I Street, Los Banos, California The Fire Department has 19 full-time employees and 29 volunteers. The Department is the first to respond to fires and then volunteers are called as needed. The Los Banos Fire Department has an ISO rating of 3. In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. The Merced County Fire Department provides services to the unincorporated area surrounding the City. Given the level of urban development and uncertainty of boundaries near City limits, a joint response including the City Fire Department is typical. Actual responsibility is determined at the scene. Merced Fire protection services for the City of Merced are provided by the Merced Fire Department. Five fire stations are used by the Department. The stations and their locations are listed in Table below. Fire Station #51 serves as headquarters for the Department. The Fire Department has five full-time employees and no volunteers. The Merced Fire Department has an ISO rating of 2. Table City of Merced Fire Stations Station # Station #51 Station #52 Station #53 Station #54 Station #55 Location 735 Martin Luther King Jr. Way Merced Airport 800 Loughborough Drive 1425 E. 21 st Street Intersection of Parsons and Silverado In addition to fire suppression, the Department provides other services such as emergency medical services, building inspection, fire prevention, building plan review, arson investigation, and public education. The Merced County Fire Department provides services to the unincorporated area surrounding the City. Given the level of urban development and uncertainty of boundaries near city limits, a joint response including the City Fire Department is typical. Actual responsibility is determined at the scene. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-76

133 Police Protection Merced County The Merced County Sheriff s Department provides police protection services throughout the County. The Merced County Sheriff s main headquarters is located at 700 West 22 nd Street, Merced, California Sub-stations are located in the unincorporated communities of Los Banos and Delhi. The Sheriff s Department has a fleet of 80 vehicles, 88 sworn officers, and 84 correctional officers at the Main Jail and at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility. In the event that the Sheriff s Department requires assistance or is unable to respond within the unincorporated areas surrounding the cities, each local Police Department will dispatch officers as needed, per request of the Sheriff s Department watch supervisor. The Sheriff s Department has full law enforcement authority in the unincorporated areas of Merced County, and the California Highway Patrol also has full traffic enforcement responsibility for State Highways and routes in unincorporated areas of the County. The Merced County Sheriff s Department is responsible for law enforcement within the unincorporated areas surrounding each City. In the event that the Sheriff s Department requires assistance or is unable to respond, the City Police Department will dispatch officers as needed, per request of the Sheriff s Department watch supervisor. Atwater Police protection services are provided to the City of Atwater by the Atwater Police Department. The City s police station is located at 750 Bellevue Road, Atwater, California The Police Department has 12 patrol vehicles and 33 sworn officers. Dos Palos Police protection services are provided to the City of Dos Palos by the Dos Palos Police Department. The City s police station is located at 1546 Golden Gate Avenue, Dos Palos, California The Police Department has four patrol vehicles, seven sworn officers, and four reserve officers. Gustine Police protection services are provided to the City of Gustine by the Gustine Police Department. The City s police station is located at rd Avenue, Gustine, California The Police Department has seven patrol vehicles, 11 sworn officers, and 1 reserve officer. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-77

134 Livingston Police protection services are provided to the City of Livingston by the Livingston Police Department. The City s police station is located at 208 W. Church Street, Livingston, California The Police Department has 8 patrol vehicles and 20 sworn officers. Los Banos Police protection services are provided to the City of Los Banos by the Los Banos Police Department. The City s police station is located at th Street, Los Banos, California The Police Department has a fleet of 51 vehicles and 46 sworn officers. Merced Police protection services are provided to the City of Merced by the Merced Police Department. The City has three police stations. The Department s main headquarters is the Central Station located at 611 W. 22 nd Street, Merced, California The other two stations are the North Station which is located at 1109 Loughborough Drive and the South Station is located at 470 E. 11 th Street. The City has 25 patrol vehicles, 100 sworn officers, and one reserve officer. Educational Services Public schools are operated by school districts which are autonomous governmental agencies separate from county/city governmental agencies. There are 20 school districts within the County of Merced including 85 schools serving Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12). Table provides a listing of the school districts throughout Merced County. Additionally, the Merced County Office of Education operates 6 K-12 schools, including Juvenile Hall, with 1,270 students and 95 teachers. Twenty-two (22) private schools serve a student population of 2,127 county-wide, employing 163 teachers. Junior colleges, universities, and institutes located within Merced County include: California State University of California, Merced Merced College Other colleges within reasonable commuting distance include Modesto Community College, California State University Stanislaus in Turlock, Madera Community College, and California State University Fresno. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-78

135 School Table Merced County School Districts Grades # Students # Teachers Student/ Teacher Ratio Annual Per Pupil Expenditures Atwater Elementary K-8 4, to 1 $3,993 Ballico-Cressey Elementary K to 1 $4,223 Delhi Unified K-12 2, to 1 $3,858 Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified K-12 2, to 1 $3,950 El Nido Elementary K to 1 $4,046 Gustine Unified K-12 1, to 1 $3,957 Hilmar Unified K-12 2, to 1 $4,235 Le Grand Union Elementary K to 1 $4,217 Le Grand Union High to 1 $4,005 Livingston Union K-8 2, to 1 $4,145 Los Banos Unified K-12 7, to 1 $3,374 McSwain Union K to 1 $4,104 Merced City Elementary K-8 11, to 1 $4,457 Merced River Union K to 1 $3,521 Merced Union High , to 1 $3,919 Plainsburg Union Elementary K to 1 $3,766 Planada Elementary K to 1 $4,666 Snelling-Merced Falls Union Elementary K to 1 $4,603 Weaver Union Elementary K-8 1, to 1 $4,257 Winton Elementary K-8 1, to 1 $4, SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS The CEQA Guidelines provide criteria for determining the significance of impacts to Public Services. The Guidelines state that a project s impact would be significant if it would: Result in substantial adverse physical impacts associated with the provision of new or physically altered governmental facilities, needs for new or physically altered governmental facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental impact, in order to maintain acceptable service levels for any of the following public services: fire protection, police protection, schools, park or other public facilities IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.14-1: Result in substantial adverse physical impacts associated with the provision of new or physically altered governmental facilities, needs for new or physically altered governmental facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental impact, in order to maintain acceptable service levels for any of the following public services: fire protection, police protection, schools, parks or other public facilities. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts on public services. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-79

136 through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. The payment of whatever City impact fees are in effect at the time of development project approval, and of County impact fees (currently imposed for sheriff and fire services) will be required. Each school district within the County has an adopted impact fee program. (Please see Section 3.15 of this EIR for evaluation of project impacts on parks.) Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on public services. Mitigation Measures: None are necessary Recreation and Parks INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on recreation, including existing recreational and park facilities or the future need for new facilities that could have an impact on the environment REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment There are no specific federal or state regulations applicable to recreation. Local regulations related to recreation are set forth in adopted Plans and ordinances of the project proponents. Physical The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced offer thousands of acres of federal, state, and recreation facilities to accommodate many types of outdoor leisure activities ranging from sightseeing to boating, picnicking, and camping. Private lands provide open space recreation facilities for public use as well, including golf courses, duck hunting clubs, recreational vehicle campgrounds, and equestrian camps. School districts located throughout the County also offer open space and play areas for public use. These facilities provide both economic and open space benefits to county and city residents. Park sites contain various types of facilities which are based on the needs of the residents served. Picnic areas and playground equipment are usually deemed essential for a park to serve the surrounding neighborhood. Specialized recreational facilities (e.g., tennis courts, swimming pool, ball fields, and private fitness center) also exist. Table provides a listing of the federal, state, and local parks throughout Merced County. A listing of private recreational facilities is provided in Table In addition to operating and maintaining park facilities, the County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced Parks and Recreation Departments supervise and Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-80

137 coordinate a wide variety of recreational programs and activities. A sampling of such programs and activities includes: aquatics, youth sports programs, and after school programs. Table Federal, State and Local Parks In Merced County MERCED COUNTY FEDERAL AND STATE PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS FEDERAL SIZE LOCATION USES Burns Reservoir 4360 Acres Burns Creek, Merced-Mariposa County Line Fishing, Boating, Picnicking Castle Reservoir 2400 Acres ¼ mile northeast of Castle AFB Fishing, Boating, Picnicking Delta-Mendota Canal Angling Access Site #3 Delta-Mendota Canal Angling Access Site #4 3.7 miles of canal 6.5 miles of canal Northwest of Santa Nella Fishing 8 miles south of Los Banos Fishing Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge Merced National Wildlife Refuge San Luis National Wildlife Refuge San Luis Reservoir Recreation Area 5900 Acres Northeast of Gustine Waterfowl Resting & Nesting 2561 Acres 8 miles north of Dos Palos Waterfowl Resting & Nesting; Waterfowl & Rabbit Hunting under strict control regulations 7340 Acres Between Salt Slough & San Joaquin River Tule Elk Herd Reservation, Fishing, Camping, Bird Study, Waterfowl Resting & Nesting, Regulated Hunting 23,551 Acres 10 miles west of Los Banos Boating, Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Swimming & Picnicking STATE Cottonwood Creek 6000 Acres Adjacent to San Luis Reservoir Photograph, Nature Study, Hiking, Seasonal Wildlife Area, Hunting for Deer, Pigs, Rabbits, Dove & Quail Fremont Ford State Park 114 Acres Highway 140/San Joaquin River George Hatfield State Pk. 46 Acres Merced-Stanislaus County Line, Merced River Undeveloped Camping, Fishing, Boating McConnell State Park 75 Acres 2 miles north of Livingston Camping, Picnicking Los Banos Creek Reservoir 2475 Acres Southwest of Los Banos Fishing, Boating Los Banos Wildlife Area 5586 Acres 3 miles northeast of Los Banos Nature Study, Fishing, Water Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-81

138 O Neill Forebay 750 Acres 2 miles southwest of Santa Nella San Luis Reservoir Wildlife Area Nesting & Resting, Waterfowl, Pheasant, Rabbit Hunting under strict controls Nature Study, Hiking, Restricted Hunting for Pheasant, Rabbit, Dove, Quail 900 Acres West of San Luis Reservoir Restricted hunting for Deer Volta Wildlife Area 2887 Acres ½ mile north of Volta Waterfowl Resting & Nesting, Waterfowl & Rabbit Hunting under strict control regulations MERCED COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS NAME SIZE LOCATION USES Courthouse Park 6.5 Acres Central Merced Courthouse Tours, Picnicking Emory O Banion County Park 10 Acres North of Dos Palos Picnicking Hagaman Park 16 Acres South of Hilmar/Merced River Picnicking, Fishing Harris Schmidt Park 33 Acres Gustine Tennis, Picnicking, Ballfields, Concessions Henderson Park 74 Acres 1 mile east of Snelling Fishing, Boating, Picnicking Lake Yosemite Park 600 Acres 4 miles north of Merced Boating, Picnicking, Canoeing, Waterskiing, Wind Sailing, Swimming Los Banos Park 6 Acres Los Banos Swimming Pool, Museum, Play & Picnic Areas, Library McSwain Park 40 Acres Buhach Rd., North of Hwy 140 Undeveloped Planada Park 5 Acres Planada Picnicking, Senior Citizens Hall, Recreation Building South Dos Palos Park 15 Acres South Dos Palos Picnicking, Ballfield, County Library Winton Park 22 Acres Winton Picnicking, Ballfield, Concessions Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-82

139 FACILITY GOLF COURSE Table Private Recreational Facilities In Merced County FACILITY DUCK CLUB Name Location Name Location Forebay Golf Course Santa Nella Gilroy Land & Cattle Los Banos Golden Valley Golf Hilmar 101 Duck Club, Inc. Los Banos Course Merced Golf Club Merced Mesquite Sportmans Club Los Banos Rancho Del Rey Atwater Gustine Gun Club Gustine Golf Club Turlock Golf & Country Club Turlock Industrial City Duck Club Los Banos FACILITY CAMP/RIDING ACADEMY Old Los Banos Duck Club Los Banos Name Location Poco Loco Gun Club Los Banos Rascal Slough Ranch Delta Stables Incorporated Hilmar Santa Cruz Gun Club Los Banos Los Banos The Duck Club Los Banos FACILITY DUCK CLUB Turlock Cattle Co. Gustine NAME LOCATION West Gustine Gun Club Gustine Abantha & Nola Los Banos Tracy Duck Club Gustine Gun Club Unincorporated Bee Ess Land & Los Banos Little Water Duck Club Gustine Cattle Co. Accornero & Sons Gustine Sierra Duck Club Metz, Gustine Investmts Ebert & Scholl Big Water Gun Club Los Banos H & H Hunting Club Los Banos Bert Crane Duck Merced Bardin Duck Club Los Banos Club Britto Land Los Banos Ramogni Land Company Gustine Company Castle Duck Club Merced Lucky Leven Duck Club Los Banos Charlie Bosso Dos Palos FACILITY PHEASANT PRESERVE Edward Cardoza Los Banos NAME LOCATION Duckville Sports Club Los Banos Newhall Land & Cattle El Nido Hollister Land & Cattle Gustine FACILITY - CAMPGROUND Ideal Gun Club Los Banos NAME LOCATION Fields Duck Club Gustine Merced River Park S. of Delhi Lone Tree Gun Club Gustine Gable Land & Cattle Dos Palos Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-83

140 Joint Use of School Facilities School districts make considerable contributions to community recreation needs through the use of on-site facilities and programs for adult education, athletics, and social and cultural activities. School playground equipment, ball fields, play courts and open grass areas meet community and neighborhood recreational needs in most areas of the County SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS The State CEQA Guidelines set forth criteria for the determination of whether a project s effect will significantly impact recreation. A project s effect will normally be considered potentially significant if it will: Increase the use of existing neighborhood and regional parks or other recreational facilities such that substantial physical deterioration of the facility would occur or be accelerated. Include recreational facilities or require the construction or expansion of recreational facilities which might have an adverse physical effect on the environment IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.15-1: Increase the use of existing neighborhood and regional parks or other recreational facilities such that substantial physical deterioration of the facility would occur or be accelerated. Discussion: Commercial projects and industries do not directly create a need for or impacts on park and recreational facilities. The fact that the proposed Enterprise Zone is anticipated to only sustain or accelerate existing population growth rather than create substantial growth mitigates secondary impacts. Additionally, the establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the recreation and parks environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project; such review will involve the requirement of compliance with City or County park/recreation impact fee programs. Conclusion: The proposed project will have no impact on parks. Mitigation Measures: None are necessary. Impact #3.15-2: Include recreational facilities or require the construction or expansion of recreational facilities which might have an adverse physical effect on the environment. Discussion: No new recreational facilities are proposed with this project. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-84

141 Conclusion: The project will have no impact related to the development of recreational facilities. Mitigation Measures: None are necessary Transportation/Traffic INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of the project on transportation systems including roads and highways, public transportation systems, pedestrian circulation and access, parking, or emergency access. Impacts can be in the form of new hazardous circulation or traffic conditions, conflict with existing plans or policies, or creation of an unacceptable traffic service level on a transportation system or facility REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Regulatory Environment State The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has adopted the policy of reviewing and, through CEQA, commenting upon every development project which is adjacent to State facilities, of regional significance, or may reduce the level of services of state facilities. Local The County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos and Merced have adopted Transportation/Circulation Elements within their respective General Plans. The Transportation/Circulation Element guides the continued development and improvement of the circulation system to support existing and planned development. The Element addresses the circulation improvements needed to provide adequate capacity for future land uses and establishes a hierarchy of transportation routes with typical development standards described for each roadway category. With the exception of Livingston, all other project proponents have adopted the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Transportation Impact Fee Program. Physical Environment Existing Regional Circulation System Merced County is traversed by Interstate 5 and several state routes of regional significance. Figure illustrates the regional circulation system in Merced County. Interstate 5 and State Route 99 are the major north-south highways of the Central Valley, connecting Merced County with the north and south Central San Joaquin Valley. Interstate 5 passes through the western part of Merced County approximately five miles from Gustine and about seven miles from Los Banos. State Route 99 passes through the eastern part of Merced County, including the cities of Atwater, Livingston, and Merced. Other state routes that traverse the area (33, 59, 140, 152, 165) are primarily two-lane highways. State Route 59 connects State Route 152 to the City of Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-85

142 Merced and beyond, ending abruptly at the intersection of County Routes J59 and J16 in Snelling. State Route 140 is an east-west facility that runs through the County from the eastern County line through the City of Merced and west through the City of Gustine, and terminating at I-5. State Route 33 extends from the south County line and meets State Route 152 north of the City of Dos Palos, with which it runs concurrently for approximately ten miles to the west through the City of Los Banos. It departs again approximately six miles west of Los Banos, turns north at Santa Nella (where it has an interchange with I-5), and extends north through Gustine to the north County line. (See Figure ) Local Circulation Systems The County of Merced has approximately 1700 miles of maintained County roadways including arterials, collectors and local roads. Each of the six cities has a local street system with essentially the same service categories. Existing Transit Service Through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos and Merced, consolidated transit services are provided by Merced County Transit - The Bus. The Bus serves the entire County of Merced with fixed route and demand response service. Rail Two companies currently provide rail service to Merced County; the Union Pacific (UP) and the Burlington National/Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF). The two companies operate a total of 110 miles of track on four main lines, which generally traverse through the County in a northwest-southeast direction. These rail lines are primarily used for the movement of freight, although Amtrak passenger trains currently run along the BNSF line with a passenger station in the City of Merced. Air Merced County is served by four municipal airports and one regional airport for public use. These airports are operated by Merced County, and the cities of Gustine, Los Banos, Merced, and Turlock. There are also several private airstrips in Merced County. The municipal airports are primarily utilized for private aircraft. The Merced Airport provides commercial passenger and freight air services and is a regionally significant airport in the County according to criteria used by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Castle Airport, which became a civilian facility upon closure of the Castle Air Force Base in September of 1995, is also proposed as a regionally significant airport serving private and commercial aviation functions. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-86

143

144 CIRCULATION SYSTEM MERCED COUNTY Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-87

145 SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS The State CEQA Guidelines establish criteria for determining the significance of a project s impacts to transportation and traffic. A project would normally have a significant effect on transportation/traffic if it will: Cause an increase in traffic which is substantial in relation to the existing traffic load and capacity of the street system (i.e., result in a substantial increase in either the number of vehicle trips, the volume to capacity ratio on roads or congestion at intersections). Exceed, either individually or cumulatively, a level of service standard established by the county congestion management agency for designated roads or highways. Result in a change in air traffic patterns, including either an increase in traffic levels or a change in location that results in substantial safety risks. Substantially increase hazards due to a design feature (e.g., sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g., farm equipment). Result in inadequate emergency access. Result in inadequate parking capacity. Conflict with adopted policies, plans or programs supporting alternative transportation (e.g., bus turnouts, bicycle racks) IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.16-1: Cause an increase in traffic which is substantial in relation to the existing traffic load and capacity of the street system (i.e., result in a substantial increase in either the number of vehicle trips, the volume to capacity ratio on roads or congestion at intersections). Impact #3.16-2: Exceed, either individually or cumulatively, a level of service standard established by the county congestion management agency for designated roads or highways. Discussion: Impact #3.16-3: Result in a change in air traffic patterns, including either an increase in traffic levels or a change in location that results in substantial safety risks. Impact #3.16-4: Substantially increase hazards due to a design feature (e.g., sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g., farm equipment). Impact #3.16-5: Result in inadequate emergency access. Impact #3.16-6: Result in inadequate parking capacity. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the transportation and traffic environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-88

146

147 applicable land use plans, policies and regulations and with adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. Traffic impact fees for each such project will be required; Caltrans will have the opportunity to comment. Where General Plans, specific plans or other local agency-adopted plans guiding traffic facility design and construction do not exist (such as at I-5 interchanges) such planning, with its attendant environmental evaluation, will probably precede individual project approvals. It is conceivable that the project, the adoption of an Enterprise Zone, may allow industrial and commercial growth within the Zone to proceed at a rate greater than that which would occur without the project. It would, however, be highly speculative to posit that such sustained or accelerated growth would more greatly impact transportation systems serving the development. Dependent upon the timing and location of development, existing traffic facilities will have been improved; funding, including traffic impact fees, may be more adequate. Existing General Plans incorporate mitigation measures; new General Plans will undoubtedly incorporate others. Unlike air quality impacts, for which it may be safely assumed that earlier development will create more significant impacts, development timing may well involve lesser traffic impacts. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant effect on transportation and traffic. Mitigation Measures: None are required Utility Systems and Facilities INTRODUCTION This subsection of the EIR focuses on the impacts of a project on public utility systems or facilities such as water, wastewater, stormwater drainage or other utility or service system REGULATORY AND PHYSICAL SETTING Water Utilities Regulatory Environment The following programs, policies and regulations are among those which control urban water service in Merced County. Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Act The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorizes the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set national health-based standards for drinking water, called the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, protecting against both naturally-occurring and humanmade contaminants. These standards set enforceable maximum contaminant levels in drinking Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-89

148 water and require particular methods for treating water to remove contaminants for all water providers in the United States, except for private wells serving fewer than 25 people. In California, the State Department of Health Services conducts most enforcement activities. If a water system does not meet standards, it is the water supplier s responsibility to notify its customers. Groundwater Management Act The Groundwater Management Act, Assembly Bill 3030 (AB 3030), signed into law in 1992, established provisions by which local water agencies could develop and implement groundwater management plans (GMP s). Urban Water Management Plans; Water Supply Assessments The State, since 2002, has required each local water supplier to develop and maintain a current urban water management plan to utilize with its CEQA-required assessment of the adequacy of proposed project s water supply. Local Regulations Master plans have been adopted by the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos and Merced for water distribution, for wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, and storm drainage. Each master plan includes a physical plan for buildout of the system to planning boundaries, along with funding mechanisms and regulations necessary to ensure that the provision of services is concurrent with demand from new development. Merced County does not operate any public water or waste water systems; all such facilities are provided by local special districts or private water companies. The County does operate storm drainage systems, but the County Department of Public Works does not typically prepare master plans. Usually there is a County adopted Community Plan for the local community involved with a related Environmental Document (Negative Declaration or EIR). A caveat that must be considered is that City master plans, and General Plans, are currently being revised and that others will be revised during the life of the proposed project. A further caveat is that the one-mile radius rings around existing interchanges on I-5 which are a part of this project area have not had utility master plans prepared. Typical Conditions of Approval Typical local agency conditions of project approval contain guidelines and regulations aimed at the maintenance of high water quality and must be based upon the water supplying agencies evaluation of supply adequacy, utilizing its urban water management plan and the project-related water supply assessment. During construction, new development is required to adopt Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize grading and control run-off, which pollutes storm drains that eventually can lead to pollution of groundwater sources. New development proposals Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-90

149 are also reviewed for adequate drainage systems that ensure the project will not, over time, adversely affect water quality in the city. Physical Merced County All of the cities and the larger unincorporated communities in Merced County have public water supply and distribution systems. Other small, unincorporated, communities are served by private wells. The largest supplier of domestic water is the City of Merced, whose water source is groundwater. The groundwater system of the Merced region is complex due to the manner by which water is added and withdrawn. Groundwater recharge occurs primarily from runoff from the Sierra s agricultural irrigation and rainfall; at the same time, agricultural and municipal pumping account for most of the groundwater withdrawals. Additional County water supply is provided by the California Aqueduct. The State, local water agencies and citizen groups, and the various urban water suppliers in the County have and will maintain differing viewpoints on the current and future adequacy of the County s water supplies and the impact of continued urban development on such supplies. It is beyond the scope or purpose of this EIR to evaluate either of these questions. Rather, this subsection will simply present available data regarding existing water usage and will note, under the Discussion portion of this water subsection, that the proposed project will simply assist in sustaining or accelerating existing planned industrial and commercial development, not permitting or authorizing it. Atwater The City of Atwater obtains water for domestic use from a system consisting of groundwater wells and a one million gallon elevated tank. There are 10 operating wells used by the City. The City of Atwater estimates that the operating wells have a total production capacity of 17,600 gallons per minute (GPM). On average 5,067 GPM of water are pumped per day. All groundwater is treated with chlorine before it is distributed through the City s water system. Dos Palos The City of Dos Palos water source is surface water from the California Aqueduct via pipeline to the City s water treatment plant. The water treatment plant has a pumping capacity of 3 million gallons per day (GPD) and the average consumption is 1 million GPD. The City provides water to the communities of Midway and South Dos Palos, and the Eastside, B & B, and North Dos Palos Water Districts under a water joint powers agreement. Gustine The City of Gustine s domestic water supply is groundwater from four wells. Of these four wells, two are currently in production. Of the two wells not in production, one had unexpectedly high levels of nitrates at times, and the other has had low productivity. The well discharges are Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-91

150 chlorinated. The city s three dairy businesses, Carnation, Avoset, and Beatrice, utilize their own wells and use the city s water supply only in the event of an emergency. Livingston The source of domestic water for the City of Livingston is groundwater from seven wells. The wells produce approximately 9,100 GPM. One million gallons of storage is provided. Los Banos Los Banos relies on groundwater for domestic water supply. The City owns and operates 10 wells. A 100,000 gallon elevated tank is used as a surge control facility. The current maximum pumping capacity is 15,000 GPM with maximum demand currently at 10,139 GPM, so adequate water production capacity is currently available. Merced Merced is primarily dependent on groundwater sources. The City s water supply consists of 18 wells. It maintains 4 elevated storage tanks with a combined storage capacity of approximately 1.4 million gallons, and 14 pumping stations. The City of Merced and Merced Irrigation District have developed (1995) a long range Water Supply Plan. Under the Plan s preferred alternative, the City will remain on groundwater, constructing new wells as needed. Groundwater recharge facilities will be constructed on an annual basis, with the goal of stabilizing groundwater at 1992 levels. Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Regulatory Environment The following programs, policies and regulations direct the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater in Merced County. State Regional Water Quality Control Board The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is responsible for implementing the federal Clean Water Act, and does so through issuing NPDES permits and discharge permits to cities and counties through regional water quality control boards (RWQCBs). Merced County is within the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board s (CVRWQCB) boundary. The California Department of Health Services and the California Department of Fish and Game have corollary regulatory and advisory authority. Physical Environment Merced County All of the cities and the larger unincorporated communities in Merced County have public sewage treatment systems. Other small, unincorporated, communities are served by private septic systems. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-92

151 Atwater The City of Atwater provides sewage disposal and treatment using a pipeline system, pump stations and water treatment plant (WWTP) that serves Atwater, Winton, and the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center (CAADC) site. The treatment plant, located south of Highway 99, handles an average daily flow of 3.0 million gallons per day (MGD). Based on the Atwater Operations and Maintenance Manual, the design average dry weather treatment capacity for the treatment plant is 6.0 MGD. Dos Palos The Dos Palos Wastewater Treatment Plant has an average capacity of 1.2 million GPD. Sewer services for the City of Dos Palos and the unincorporated communities of Midway and South Dos Palos are provided under a Joint Powers Authority. Gustine In response to current and future development demands, the City has embarked on expansion of its wastewater treatment plant. The present wastewater treatment capacity is 1.4 MGD. Once the plant is expanded, it will meet growth demands through 2020, based on the population and land use projections of the General Plan. Livingston The wastewater treatment capacity of the two plants owned and operated by the City is 7.8 MGD. The plant east of Highway 99 is equipped for primary treatment only and has a capacity of 6 MGD and an average daily inflow of 4 MGD from Foster Farms. The plant west of Highway 99 has a secondary treatment capacity of 1.8 MGD and an inflow of 0.9 MGD. A treated water disposal issue is the limiting factor for this plant. When resolved, the City of Livingston will have a surplus of 0.9 MGD of secondary treatment and 2 MGD of primary treatment. Los Banos Wastewater treatment for the City of Los Banos is provided by the City s Wastewater Treatment Plant, which has a current capacity of 4 MGD. The City s plan for expansion of the wastewater treatment plant will provide 4.9 MGD; it is expected to be complete in The City is completing a strategic plan that will identify how the City intends to meet wastewater demands past 4.9 MGD. Merced The City s wastewater treatment facility had a capacity of 10 MGD A 10 MGD expansion is to be accomplished in two phases of 5 MGD each to bring the plant s total capacity to 20 MGD. This capacity is expected to serve the projected 2020 SUDP population of 140,000 as well as new businesses and industries. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-93

152 Stormwater Regulatory Environment EPA Phase II Stormwater Drainage The EPA established a March 2003 deadline for permit application for the Storm Water National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Rule implementation. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) serving a population of less than 100,000 and located in an urbanized area or designated by the permitting authority (the local regional water quality control board) are covered by the Phase II Rule. Designated cities are required to submit an application for a Phase II Permit that must include a storm water management program/plan addressing the six minimum control measures as follows: public education and outreach on storm water impacts; public involvement/participation; illicit discharge detection and elimination; construction site storm water runoff control; post-construction storm water management in new development and redevelopment; and pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations. The Merced County Critical Area Flooding and Drainage Plan The Merced County Critical Area Flooding and Drainage Plan addresses the collection and disposal of surface water runoff that originates in, or passes through, a 180-square-mile area impacting a major portion of the project site. The study addresses both the collection and disposal of storm water. Systems of storm drain pipes and catch basins are laid out, sized, and costed in the plan to serve present and projected urban land uses. Merced County All of the cities and the larger unincorporated communities in Merced County have storm water drainage facilities. Other small, unincorporated, communities drain to retention basins and detention basins with a natural drain or into an irrigation district canal. Atwater The City s storm drainage system consists of retention basins and detention basins with discharge to a natural drain or Merced Irrigation District (MID) Canal. There are 13 detention basins and 16 storm water lift stations in the City, with pumping capacities ranging from 75 GPM to 8,000 GPM. Dos Palos The City s storm drainage facility utilizes detention basins; excess storm water is pumped into Central California Irrigation District (CCID) canals. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-94

153 Gustine Storm water in the City flows to the east through and drains to the San Joaquin River. Other drainage goes to a major canal just west of the City limits, two smaller canals, a community ditch, and a pipeline that runs parallel to Meredith Avenue. Livingston Storm water is temporarily stored in detention basins, each one serving a watershed in the urban area and pumped at a controlled rate to available Merced Irrigation District (MID) canals. In the event that the MID facilities are temporarily unavailable, the basins will accommodate the runoff on a short-term basis. Los Banos The City of Los Banos is served by a system of underground storm drains. Pump stations are located at strategic points where storm flows must be lifted from the drainage system into outfall channels and canals. Sheet-flow drainage is provided by roadside ditches. Merced The City of Merced requires the construction of storm water percolation/detention basins with new development. Percolation basins are designed to collect storm water and filter it before it is absorbed into the soil and reaches groundwater tables. Detention basins are designed to temporarily collect runoff so it can be metered at acceptable rates into canals and streams which have limited capacity. The disposal system is mainly composed of MID facilities, including water distribution canals and laterals and drains, and of natural channels that traverse the area. Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste Collection, Disposal, and Management Regulatory The following programs, policies and regulations control solid waste and hazardous waste collection in Merced County. California Integrated Waste Management Act In 1989, the State enacted the California Integrated Waste Management Act. Under this Act, local jurisdictions are required to divert 25 percent of their solid waste from disposal by 1995 and 50 percent by The Act sets the following priorities for promoting integrated waste management: diversion through source reduction, diversion through recycling and composting, environmentally safe transformation and environmentally safe land disposal. Counties are required to prepare a County Integrated Waste Management Plan (CIWMP) which must include a Source Reduction and Recycling Element (SRRE), Household Hazardous Waste Element (HHWE), and Siting Element. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-95

154 Each city in California must prepare a SRRE and HHWE for its jurisdiction. Each county must prepare the same elements for the unincorporated areas and a county siting element. The county must also assemble all city and county SRREs and HHWEs within the County into the CIWMP. After analyzing the Act, Merced County and the incorporated cities within the County decided to use the solid Waste Joint Powers Agreement to address compliance. The Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) authorized by the Agreement and thus having legal authority over solid waste issues, concluded that the most efficient and cost-effective method to complete the mandatory elements was to utilize a county-wide approach. The SWAB designated the Merced County Public Works Department as the lead agency in preparing and developing the SRRE for all of Merced County. Each city, however, maintains ultimate control over their SRREs and must individually adopt their own plans by resolution. Merced County Solid waste disposal throughout Merced County is managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG). Merced County owns and operates solid waste facilities through a contract with the Merced County Public Works Department. The County has two landfills: Merced County Landfill located off Highway 59 and Billy Wright Landfill located approximately four miles west of the City of Los Banos. Landfill operations county-wide, including the incorporated cities, are managed by Merced County. Atwater Solid waste in the City of Atwater is collected by a private contractor, Browning Ferris Industries (BFI). The waste is transported to the Merced County Landfill, off State Highway 59. Dos Palos The City contracts with BFI for solid waste disposal. The City s waste is transported to the Billy Wright Landfill, west of Los Banos. Gustine The City contracts for all refuse pick-up services within the City limits. The waste is transported and delivered to the Merced County Landfill, off State Highway 59. Livingston The City of Livingston has contracted with a private carrier, Gilton Solid Waste Management, Inc., to provide pickup of solid waste. Waste is transported to State approved and permitted solid waste facilities which include, but are not limited, to Gilton Resource Recovery/Transfer Facility, Inc.-Modesto, Turlock Transfer Station-Turlock or Highway 59 Landfill-Merced. Los Banos The City of Los Banos contracts with BFI for solid waste collection services. The waste is transported to the Merced County Landfill, off State Highway 59. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-96

155 Merced The City of Merced provides all refuse pick-up services within the City limits. Recycling is encouraged by the City through the implementation of several programs in conjunction with the MCAG. The waste is transported to the Merced County Landfill, off State Highway 59. Other Utilities Physical Electricity Electricity in Merced County is supplied by both Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and a locallyowned public utility. In addition, Merced Irrigation District has recently undertaken an initiative to provide low-cost electric power to Merced and Atwater, particularly industrial and commercial users. Existing trunk and transmission facilities are adequate to meet present and projected demand. Natural Gas PG&E provides natural gas throughout Merced County. Telephone AT&T (formerly Pacific Bell) serves Merced County with a telecommunications network. Cellular Service US Sprint supplies 100% digital fiber to Merced. Cellular telephone service is provided by Cellular One, GTE, and Pacific Bell Wireless SIGNIFICANCE THRESHOLDS The State CEQA Guidelines state that a project will normally be considered potentially significant if it will: Exceed wastewater treatment requirements of the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board. Require or result in the construction of new water or wastewater treatment facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects. Require or result in the construction of new storm water drainage facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects. Have sufficient water supplies available to serve the project from existing entitlements and resources, or are new or expanded entitlements needed. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-97

156 Result in a determination by the wastewater treatment provider which serves or may serve the project that it has adequate capacity to serve the project s projected demand in addition to the provider s existing commitments. Be served by a landfill with sufficient permitted capacity to accommodate the project s solid waste disposal needs. Comply with federal, state, and local statutes and regulations related to solid waste IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES Impact #3.17-1: Exceed wastewater treatment requirements of the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board. Impact #3.17-2: Require or result in the construction of new water or wastewater treatment facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects. Impact #3.17-3: Require or result in the construction of new storm water drainage facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects. Impact #3.17-4: Have sufficient water supplies available to serve the project from existing entitlements and resources, or are new or expanded entitlements needed. Impact #3.17-5: Result in a determination by the wastewater treatment provider which serves or may serve the project that it has adequate capacity to serve the project s projected demand in addition to the provider s existing commitments. Impact #3.17-6: Be served by a landfill with sufficient permitted capacity to accommodate the project s solid waste disposal needs. Impact #3.17-7: Comply with federal, state, and local statutes and regulations related to solid waste. Discussion: The establishment of the Enterprise Zone will not directly result in any physical impacts to the utility environment. Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies and regulations and with adopted environmental mitigation measures. In addition, future development projects in the Enterprise Zone will be required to undergo environmental review since this is a program EIR which does not analyze the impacts of a specific development project. Utility impact fees for each such project may be required. Where General Plans, specific plans or other local agency-adopted plans guiding utility facility design and construction do not exist (such as at I-5 interchanges) such planning, with its attendant environmental evaluation, will probably precede individual project approvals. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-98

157 It is conceivable that the project, the adoption of an Enterprise Zone, may allow industrial and commercial growth within the Zone to proceed at a rate greater than that which would occur without the project. It would, however, be highly speculative to posit that such sustained or accelerated growth would more greatly impact utility systems serving the development. Dependent upon the timing and location of development, existing utility facilities will have been improved; funding, including utility impact fees, may be more available. Existing General Plans incorporate mitigation measures; new General Plans will undoubtedly incorporate others. Unlike air quality impacts, for which it may be safely assumed that earlier development will create more significant impacts, development timing may well involve lesser utility impacts. Conclusion: The proposed project will have a less than significant impact on utilities systems and facilities. Mitigation Measures: None are required. Draft Environmental Impact Report 3-99

158

159 CHAPTER FOUR EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES

160

161 CHAPTER FOUR EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES 4.1 Introduction The Merced County Enterprise Zone has been described and analyzed in the previous sections with an emphasis on identifying potentially significant impacts and any recommended mitigation measures to avoid those impacts to the extent feasible. The State CEQA Guidelines require that alternatives to the proposed project be discussed in the EIR. The value of such discussion is to inform public decision-makers and the public of the different environmental impacts which may be associated with each potential alternative, and to enable a reasoned judgment to be made as to which alternative to the proposed project may be environmentally superior. The analysis of this section is consistent with CEQA Guidelines Section As noted in CEQA, because an EIR must identify ways to mitigate or avoid the significant effects that a project may have on the environment, the discussion of alternatives shall focus on alternatives to the project or its location which are capable of avoiding or substantially lessening any significant effects of the project, even if these alternatives would impede to some degree the attainment of the project objectives, or would be more costly. The range of potential alternatives to the proposed project, state the CEQA Guidelines, shall include those that could feasibly accomplish most of the basic purposes of the project and could avoid or substantially lessen one or more of the significant effects. The EIR should briefly describe the rationale for selecting the alternatives to be discussed. The EIR should also identify any alternatives that were considered by the lead agency but were rejected as infeasible during the scoping process and briefly explain the reasons underlying the lead agency s determination. Additional information explaining the choice of alternatives may be included in the administrative record. CEQA Guidelines discussion observes that the range of alternatives required in an EIR is governed by a rule of reason that requires the EIR to set forth only those alternatives necessary to permit a reasoned choice. The alternatives shall be limited to ones that would avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant effects of the project. Of those alternatives, the EIR need examine in detail only the ones that the lead agency determines could feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project. The range of feasible alternatives shall be selected and discussed in a manner to foster meaningful public participation and informed decision-making. 4.2 Infeasible Alternative Location The location of the project was carefully crafted in consultation with the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD); therefore, it was determined by the Lead Agency that an alternative location would be infeasible and should not be included in the alternatives analysis. CEQA Guidelines Section (f) (2) requires a lead agency to provide a conclusion in the EIR that the lead agency considered alternative locations, but has determined that none are feasible. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4-1

162 Justification for the infeasibility determination is two-fold. First, the project objective of the County of Merced and cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced (collectively, the project proponents ) is to designate qualifying land within these jurisdictions as an Enterprise Zone to stimulate economic development in these jurisdictions. The location of the proposed Enterprise Zone designation has been carefully selected based on the California Department of Housing and Community Development s qualifying criteria. Those criteria include one or more of the following: General Plan or zoning designation of a land parcel for commercial or industrial use. Conditional use permit or administrative use permit for a commercial or industrial land use for a parcel. As a concomitant qualifying corollary, location of the above-designated or permitted land use parcels in areas that are economically depressed with higher-than-average unemployment rates. Other parcels, and connecting roads and highways, essential to maintain contiguity of the above-described industrial and commercial areas and parcels. The proposed Enterprise Zone is the only land within these jurisdictions that qualify for the designation. To establish an alternative location for this analysis would require the lead agency to look outside these jurisdictions, thereby causing the alternative to not meet the project s basic objective. It is worth noting that the proposed project boundary is a complete match of the boundary of the prior Enterprise Zone except for the addition of parcels which meet the qualifying criteria. Secondly, an alternative location would not avoid or substantially lessen the only significant effects of the project: direct and cumulative air quality impacts. All of Merced County, in which the proposed project must be located to achieve the project objectives, is located in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin and the project s air quality impacts would be the same wherever it was located in the County. 4.3 Discussion of Alternatives The following sections present a description of the alternatives considered and an analysis of the alternatives in the context of the CEQA Guidelines. This EIR includes an evaluation of the following alternatives: No Project Alternative Reduced Project Area Alternative These alternatives are summarized in the next section and compared with the proposed project. This chapter concludes with an analysis of the comparative environmental superiority of the various alternatives, as required by CEQA. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4-2

163 4.3.1 NO PROJECT ALTERNATIVE Under this alternative, the Enterprise Zone designation would not occur. This alternative assumes that businesses and industries which would have been within Zone boundaries would not receive any tax incentives, but would still be developed consistent with applicable General Plan designation or zoning for each jurisdiction. This alternative assumes that there would not be any other economic development stimulants that would accelerate development. Under the No Project Alternative, the project area would be developed consistent with the General Plan(s), although the rate of development would not be accelerated from a tax incentive. There are no physical differences between this alternative and the proposed project, with the exception of potential accelerated development. The No Project Alternative has no advantage over the proposed project in terms of any environmental issues except air quality. Lesser project-level and cumulative air quality impacts may accrue REDUCED PROJECT AREA ALTERNATIVE The Reduced Project Area Alternative would restrict growth to a smaller area by excluding all agriculturally-zoned land within the unincorporated areas of Merced County which includes areas containing existing industrial or commercial uses. (HCD requires an entire parcel with a permitted commercial or industrial use to be included in an Enterprise Zone, not just the footprint thereon where the use is located.) This alternative would restrict the Enterprise Zone designation to a smaller area by excluding all agriculturally-zoned parcels within the unincorporated areas of Merced County containing existing permitted industrial uses. This alternative reduces the County s portion of the project area to 8,355 acres including connecting roads, parcels in unincorporated communities, and the I-5 intersection radii. This alternative is feasible. It would hypothetically result in growth at a slower pace than with the project. It does not fully meet the project objectives. The Reduced Project Area Alternative would have the potential effect of reducing the rate of industrial and commercial development in the project-excluded areas and thus reducing projectlevel and cumulative air emissions to less than those of the proposed project. In terms of air quality, the Reduced Project Area Alternative thus has an advantage over the proposed project. 4.4 Comparisons In accordance with the CEQA Guidelines, reasonable project alternatives have been evaluated for their comparative environmental superiority. Based on the analyses developed in this EIR, the No Project Alternative is environmentally superior because it would not result in accelerated significant and unavoidable impacts on air quality. Although the No Project Alternative is the environmentally superior alternative, it does not meet any of the project objectives. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4-3

164

165 REDUCED PROJECT AREA ALTERNATIVE Figure Draft Environmental Impact Report 4-4

166

167 The Reduced Project Area Alternative is the second best alternative from an environmental standpoint. This alternative would focus the Enterprise Zone designation, and ultimately the development incentive, to urbanized areas. Other areas within the proposed Enterprise Zone would not receive the Enterprise Zone designation and would provide less development incentive. The hypothetical accelerated growth caused by the tax incentive would be reduced by the reduction in land with the designation; however, the areas being excluded under this alternative that already have existing facilities will still have the capability to expand under County zoning requirements. Overall, this alternative would have a slight environmental advantage over the proposed project; however, this alternative only partially meets the project objectives by excluding potentially valuable and appropriate ventures within the unincorporated County areas, such as agricultural processing plants and other such industries that support agricultural production from receiving the economic incentives of the Enterprise Zone. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4-5

168

169 CHAPTER FIVE CUMULATIVE IMPACTS

170

171 CHAPTER FIVE CUMULATIVE IMPACTS Introduction CEQA requires that an EIR examine the cumulative impacts associated with a project. The range of projects to be included in the cumulative analysis encompasses past, present, and reasonably anticipated future projects producing related or cumulative impacts, including those outside of the control of the agency. Section requires cumulative impacts to be discussed where they are significant. A cumulative effect is deemed significant if the project s incremental contribution to a cumulative impact is considerable. A cumulative impact is not considered significant if the impact can be mitigated to below the level of significance through mitigation, including providing improvements and/or contributing funds through fee-payment programs. The EIR must examine reasonable options for mitigating or avoiding any significant cumulative effects of a proposed project (CEQA, Section 15130). The Guidelines allow for the use of two alternative methods to determine the scope of projects for the cumulative impact analysis: List Method - A list of past, present, and probable future projects producing related or cumulative impacts, including, if necessary, those projects outside the control of the agency (Section 15130(A)). General Plan Projection Method - A summary of projections contained in an adopted General Plan or related planning document, or in a prior environmental document which has been adopted or certified, which described or evaluated regional or area wide conditions contributing to the cumulative impact (Section 15130(B)). The General Plan Projection Method was selected to conduct the cumulative impact analysis for this EIR, which is a tiered environmental document based on the adopted General Plans of the County of Merced and the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced (collectively, the project proponents ). The proposed Enterprise Zone designation over the project area and subsequent development would not result in any changes to the General Plans; however, it could potentially accelerate development consistent with the General Plans. 5.1 Cumulative Projects The referenced General Plans analyze the potential impact of implementing each General Plan through a planning horizon (typically 20 years). Those General Plans form the context for the Enterprise Zone. Implementation of the affected General Plans, in combination, constitutes the Cumulative Projects which will be analyzed for this EIR. For each resource (air quality, water, traffic, etc.), impacts were analyzed and a determination was made that the project would: have no impact; have a less than significant impact; have a less than significant impact due to adopted mitigation measures, or have a significant and unavoidable impact. Where significant and unavoidable impacts were identified, the city council or board of supervisors balanced those Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-1

172 impacts against the benefits of adoption of the General Plan and, where required, adopted a statement of overriding considerations indicating that the benefits outweighed the anticipated harm to the environment. By encouraging growth already called for in the General Plans, the proposed project will not create new impacts which were not analyzed in the prior environmental documents. However, future growth could be potentially accelerated, which could cause those impacts to occur somewhat more rapidly than originally anticipated. There is no known, reliable mechanism that measures when the acceleration of an otherwise less than significant impact would create a significant impact, particularly if the overall magnitude of the anticipated development would not change. The possible qualitative, project-level exception to this precept is discussed in Section 3.4, Air Quality, of this EIR. It should be noted that the existing County and city General Plans, and their associated environmental documentation, may be re-adopted or revised during the lifespan of this proposed project. Such revisions, and the development permitted thereunder, may designate areas for commercial or industrial development not now so designated, or remove such designation in other areas. Critical to this cumulative impact analysis, however, is the fact that the proposed Enterprise Zone is not a land use entitlement it is merely an overlay designation which may be used as appropriate to achieve tax and employment benefits where existing business or industry land use designation, zoning, or land use entitlements permit such achievement. All commercial or industrial development or expansion in the County and its cities is subject to local agency permit and legally required environmental review accompanying such permitting. That permitting and review process has no relationship to Enterprise Zone designation. A special case in this regard involves the one-mile radii circumscribed commercial areas around I-5 intersections. These areas have not been master-planned; such master-planning, with accompanying environmental analysis, may precede development proposals. 5.2 Cumulative Impacts Analysis AIR QUALITY The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) has declared the San Joaquin Valley as an area of severe non-attainment (1-hour) for ozone and non-attainment for respirable particulate matter (PM 10 ) and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ). The District s Guide for Assessing and Mitigating Air Quality Impacts (GMAQI) defines cumulative impacts as two or more individual effects which, when considered together, are considerable or which compound or increase other environmental impacts. The document also states that any proposed project that would individually have a significant air quality impact would also be considered to have a significant cumulative air quality impact. Cumulative impacts from the proposed project and other reasonably foreseeable projects are considered regional. The following cumulative impacts will thus occur: Impact #5.1: Cumulative ozone impacts (ROG and NOx) from numerous sources within the region and transport from outside the region. (Ozone is formed through chemical reactions of ROG and NOx in the presence of sunlight). Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-2

173 Impact #5.2: Cumulative PM 10 and PM 2.5 impacts from within the region and locally from various projects. Impact #5.3: Global climate change impacts from contributing greenhouse gas emissions. Section 3.4 of this EIR concluded that, as a result of the project s potential for sustaining or accelerating the rate of industrial and commercial development: Impact #3.4-1: The project will have a significant impact on implementation of applicable air quality plans. Impact #3.4-2: The project will have a significant impact regarding contributions to an existing air quality violation. Impact #3.4-6: The project will contribute to greenhouse gas impacts on climate change. It was concluded with respect to these non-quantifiable impacts that, following implementation of existing and feasible mitigation measures, these project-level impacts remain significant and unavoidable. It is, therefore, evident that these impacts will result in significant and unavoidable Cumulative Impacts 5.1 through 5.3. No further mitigation measures are available and feasible for Impacts #5.1 and #5.2. Greenhouse Gases In the absence of agency-determined significance thresholds, further discussion of the background and rationale for the evaluation of mitigation measure availability and feasibility for Impact #5.3 is warranted. This subsection, although partly repetitive of the discussion of project-level greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts, provides further environmental and regulatory background, qualitatively analyzes cumulative greenhouse gas emissions, and evaluates the feasibility of potential mitigation measures which could be imposed with this project. ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING In California, observational trends from the last half century show warmer winter and spring temperatures, decreased spring snow levels in lower- and mid-elevation mountains, up to one month earlier snowpack melting, and flowers blooming one- to two-weeks earlier- than under historical conditions (Cayan et al 2006b). Research suggests that human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, contribute additional carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat trapping gas emissions into the atmosphere. Future global climate change could have widespread consequences that would affect many of California s important resources, including its water supply. Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-3

174 Various gases in the Earth s atmosphere, classified as atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), play a critical role in determining the Earth s surface temperature. Solar radiation enters Earth s atmosphere from space, and a portion of the radiation is absorbed by the Earth s surface. The Earth emits this radiation back toward space, but the properties of the radiation change from high-frequency solar radiation to lower-frequency infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases, which are transparent to solar radiation, are effective in absorbing infrared radiation. As a result, this radiation that otherwise would have escaped back into space is now retained, resulting in a warming of the atmosphere. This phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect. Among the prominent GHGs contributing to the greenhouse effect are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), ozone (O3), water vapor, nitrous oxide (N2O), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Human-caused emissions of these GHGs in excess of natural ambient concentrations are responsible for enhancing the greenhouse effect (Ahrens 2003). Emissions of GHGs contributing to global climate change are attributable in large part to human activities associated with the industrial/manufacturing, utility, transportation, residential, and agricultural sectors (California Energy Commission 2006a). In California, the transportation sector is the largest emitter of GHGs, followed by electricity generation (California Energy Commission 2006a). A byproduct of fossil fuel combustion is CO2. Methane, a highly potent GHG, results from offgassing associated with agricultural practices and landfills. Processes that absorb and accumulate CO2, often called CO2 sinks, include uptake by vegetation and dissolution into the ocean. As the name implies, global climate change is a global problem. GHGs are global pollutants, unlike criteria air pollutants and toxic air contaminants, which are pollutants of regional and local concern, respectively. California is the 12th to 16th largest emitter of CO2 in the world and produced 492 million gross metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2004 (California Energy Commission 2006a). Carbon dioxide equivalents are a measurement used to account for the fact that different GHGs have different potential to retain infrared radiation in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. This potential, known as the global warming potential of a GHG, is also dependent on the lifetime, or persistence, of the gas molecule in the atmosphere. For example, CH4 is a much more potent GHG than CO2. As described in Appendix C, Calculation Referenced, of the General Reporting Protocol of the California Climate Action Registry (2006), one ton of CH4 has the same contribution to the greenhouse effect as approximately 21 tons of CO2. Expressing GHG emissions in carbon dioxide equivalents takes the contribution of all GHG emissions to the greenhouse effect and converts them to a single unit equivalent to the effect that would occur if only CO2 were being emitted. Consumption of fossil fuels in the transportation sector was the single largest source of California s GHG emissions in 2004, accounting for 40.7% of total GHG emissions in the State (California Energy Commission 2006a). This category was followed by the electric power sector (including both in-state and out-of-state sources) (22.2%) and the industrial sector (20.5%) (California Energy Commission 2006a). Many complex mechanisms interact within Earth s energy budget to establish the global average temperature. For example, a change in ocean temperature would be expected to lead to changes in the circulation of ocean currents, which, in turn would further alter ocean temperatures. There is uncertainty about how some factors could affect global climate change because they have the Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-4

175 potential to both enhance and neutralize future climate warming. Examples of these conditions are also described below. Aerosols, including particulate matter, reflect sunlight back to space. As particulate matter attainment designations are met, and fewer emissions of particulate matter occur, the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosols would be reduced, and the greenhouse effect would be further enhanced. Similarly, aerosols act as cloud condensation nuclei, aiding in cloud formation and increasing cloud lifetime. Clouds can efficiently reflect solar radiation back to space (see discussion of the cloud effect below). As particulate matter emissions are reduced, the indirect positive effect of aerosols on clouds would be reduced, potentially further amplifying the greenhouse effect. As global temperature rises, the ability of the air to hold moisture increases, facilitating cloud formation. If an increase in cloud cover occurs at low or middle altitudes, resulting in clouds with greater liquid water content such as stratus or cumulus clouds, more radiation would be reflected back to space, resulting in a negative feedback mechanism, wherein the side effect of more cloud cover resulting from global warming acts to balance further warming. If clouds form at higher altitudes in the form of cirrus clouds, however, these clouds actually allow more solar radiation to pass through than they reflect, and ultimately they act as a GHG themselves. This results in a positive feedback mechanism in which the side effect of global warming acts to enhance the warming process. This feedback mechanism, known as the cloud effect contributes to uncertainties associated with projecting future global climate conditions. As global temperature continues to rise, CH4 gas currently trapped in permafrost would be released into the atmosphere when areas of permafrost thaw. Thawing of permafrost attributable to global warming would be expected to accelerate and enhance global warming trends. Additionally, as the surface area of polar and sea ice continues to diminish, the Earth s albedo, or reflectivity, is also anticipated to decrease. More incoming solar radiation will likely be absorbed by the Earth rather than being reflected back to space, further enhancing the greenhouse effect. The scientific community is still studying these and other positive and negative feedback mechanisms to better understand their potential effects on global climate change. The cumulative increase in GHG concentrations in the atmosphere has resulted in and will continue to result in increases in global average temperature and associated shifts in climatic and environmental conditions. Multiple adverse environmental effects are attributable to global climate change, such as sea level rise, increased incidence and intensity of severe weather events (e.g., heavy rainfall, droughts), and extirpation or extinction of plant and wildlife species. Given the significant adverse environmental effects linked to global climate change induced by GHGs, the emission of GHGs is considered a significant cumulative impact. Emissions of GHGs contributing to global climate change are attributable in large part to human activities associated with the industrial/manufacturing, utility, transportation, residential, and agricultural sectors (California Energy Commission 2006a). Therefore, the cumulative global emissions of GHGs contributing to global climate change can he attributed to every nation, region, and city, and virtually every individual on Earth. The challenge in assessing the significance of an individual project s contribution to global GHG emissions and associated global climate change impacts is Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-5

176 to determine whether a project s GHG emissions-which, it can be argued, are at a micro scale relative to global emissions-result in a cumulatively considerable incremental contribution to a significant cumulative macro-scale impact. In 2003, global emissions of carbon (i.e., only the carbon atoms within CO2 molecules) solely from fossil fuel burning totaled an estimated 7,303 million metric tons (Marlands et al. 2006). This translates to approximately 29,400 million tons of CO2. This is only a portion of global CO2 emissions because it addresses only fossil fuel burning and does not address other CO2 sources such as burning of vegetation. REGULATORY SETTING This section describes recent state regulations that specifically address greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. At the time of writing, there are no regulations setting ambient air quality emissions standards for greenhouse gases. Assembly Bill 1493 In 2002, then-governor Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill (AB) AB 1493 requires that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) develop and adopt, by January 1, 2005, regulations that achieve the maximum feasible reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks and other vehicles determined by the ARB to be vehicles whose primary use is non-commercial personal transportation in the state. Executive Order S-3-05 Executive Order S-3-05, which was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005, proclaims that California is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It declares that increased temperatures could reduce the Sierra s snowpack, further exacerbate California s air quality problems, and potentially cause a rise in sea levels. To combat those concerns, the Executive Order established total greenhouse gas emission targets. Specifically, emissions are to be reduced to the 2000 level by 2010, the 1990 level by 2020, and to 80% below the 1990 level by The Executive Order directed the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to coordinate a multi-agency effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the target levels. The Secretary will also submit biannual reports to the governor and state legislature describing: (1) progress made toward reaching the emission targets; (2) impacts of global warming on California s resources; and (3) mitigation and adaptation plans to combat these impacts. To comply with the Executive Order, the Secretary of the CalEPA created a Climate Act Team (CAT) made up of members from various state agencies and commission. CAT released its first report in March The report proposed to achieve the targets by building on voluntary actions of California businesses, local government and community actions, as well as through state incentive and regulatory programs. Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-6

177 Assembly Bill 32, the California Climate Solutions Act of 2006 In September 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the California Climate Solutions Act of AB 32 requires that statewide GHG emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by the year This reduction will be accomplished through an enforceable statewide cap on GHG emissions that will be phased in starting in To effectively implement the cap, AB 32 directs ARB to develop and implement regulations to reduce statewide GHG emissions from stationary sources. AB 32 specifies that regulations adopted in response to AB 1493 should be used to address GHG emissions from vehicles. However, AB 32 also includes language stating that if the AB 1493 regulations cannot be implemented, then ARB should develop new regulations to control vehicle GHG emissions under the authorization of AB 32. AB 32 requires that ARB adopt a quantified cap on GHG emissions representing 1990 emissions levels and disclose how it arrives at the cap; institute a schedule to meet the emissions cap; and develop tracking, reporting, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the state achieves reductions in GHG emissions necessary to meet the cap. AB 32 also includes guidance to institute emissions reductions in an economically efficient manner and conditions to ensure that businesses and consumers are not unfairly affected by the reductions. Discussion: The environmental documentation for the cities and the County s General Plan documents in large part preceded the most recent evaluation of the Valley s non-attainment status for ozone, PM 10, and PM 2.5. It also preceded current concerns and legislative/regulatory focus on greenhouse gases and climate change. Although this project may sustain and conceivably accelerate commercial and industrial expansion and development in Merced County, it does not describe, locate or permit such projects. The quantitative environmental evaluation of project-level and cumulative air quality, and the specification of mitigation measures to mitigate those impacts, must therefore be undertaken by the cities and the County in permitting such projects. It is not feasible to adopt such mitigation measures at this time. Conclusion: Cumulative air quality/greenhouse gas effects of the project are not known with certainty and impacts are therefore considered significant and unavoidable. Mitigation Measures: None are feasible and thus required. Draft Environmental Impact Report 5-7

178

179 CHAPTER SIX MANDATORY CEQA SECTIONS

180

181 CHAPTER SIX MANDATORY CEQA SECTIONS 6.1 Unavoidable Significant Environmental Effects The CEQA Guidelines, Section (b), requires a description of any significant impacts, including those which can be mitigated but not reduced to a level of insignificance. Where there are impacts that cannot be alleviated without imposing an alternative design, their implications and the reasons why the project is being proposed, not withstanding their effect, should be described. After evaluation of all environmental resources in Chapters Three and Five of this EIR, it was determined that the project s environmental effects were limited to potential air quality impacts which may be occasioned by project-induced maintenance or acceleration of commercial and industrial development in the County and its cities. Although such impacts will be addressed, and may be mitigated to less than significant, through permit-required development-specific environmental analyses, they must be deemed significant and unavoidable at this project level. They are, at both the project-level and cumulative impact-level: Ozone impacts (from ROG and NO x emissions) effecting air quality violations and implementation of applicable air quality plans. PM 10 and PM 2.5 impacts affecting air quality violations and implementation of applicable air quality plans. Global climate change impacts. 6.2 Growth-Inducing Impacts Section (d) of the CEQA Guidelines requires a discussion of how the potential growthinducing impacts of the proposed project could foster economic or population growth or the construction of additional housing, either directly or indirectly, in the surrounding environment. Induced growth is distinguished from the direct employment, population, or housing growth of a project. If a project has characteristics that may encourage and facilitate other activities that could significantly affect the environment, either individually or cumulatively, then these aspects of the project must be discussed as well. Induced growth is any growth that exceeds planned growth and results from new development that would not have taken place in the absence of the proposed project. For example, a project could induce growth by lowering or removing barriers to growth or by creating or allowing a use such as an industrial facility that attracts new population or economic activity. The CEQA Guidelines also indicate that the topic of growth should not be assumed to be either beneficial or detrimental. The proposed designation of the Enterprise Zone is not anticipated to result in changes in circumstances, or provide new information that would cause environmental impacts that are not considered in the project proponents General Plan environmental documentation. Although the proposed designation of an Enterprise Zone will not directly increase the land use intensities or designations at build-out, it may accelerate the rate of development of the cities and County. Draft Environmental Impact Report 6-1

182 It may be speculated that commercial or industrial growth may occur on project-designated Enterprise Zone areas which are not General Plan-designated for such growth (such as on currently underdeveloped portions of permitted ag-industry parcels in the unincorporated areas of the County). Such unplanned growth may occur with or without Enterprise Zone designation of such parcels. It will be market-responsive; designation does not remove any obstacle thereto. The growth inducing impacts of the project are found to be less than significant; the project will not cause growth that exceeds that planned by the cities and the County nor will it cause new development that could not have taken place in the absence of the proposed project. According to Appendix G of the CEQA Guidelines; however, the policies of the adopted General Plan(s) have been formulated to guide new development in an orderly manner compatible with existing uses. 6.3 Effects Not Found to be Significant CEQA Guidelines, Section 15128, states that An EIR shall contain a statement briefly indicating the reasons that various possible significant effects of a project were determined not to be significant and were therefore not discussed in detail in the EIR. Results of the EIR s comprehensive environmental analysis are presented in Chapter Three and Chapter Five of this EIR. All impacts other than air quality were found to be less than significant; the rationale for each such finding is contained in the impact discussions in those Chapters. Draft Environmental Impact Report 6-2

183 APPENDICES

184

185 Appendix A Notice of Preparation and Initial Study

186

187

188

189

190

191

192

193

194

195

196

197

198

199

200

201

202

203

204

205

206

207

208

209 SECTION THREE ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION As noted in the project description (Chapter 2), the proposed project would provide economic incentives to encourage industrial and commercial growth in the unincorporated areas of the County of Merced and the Cities of Atwater, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced. The proposed incentives may encourage existing businesses to expand and new businesses to locate within the proposed Enterprise Zone. No specific expansion projects have been identified at this time. Each jurisdiction has an adopted General Plan which designates industrial and commercial areas and includes policies to encourage appropriate development of those areas. Any development which may result from the incentives offered by the Enterprise Zone would be required to conform to the location and design policies of the respective general plans. However, by providing incentives for development which were not in place at time of adoption of the general plan, the approval of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate the pace of development in the affected jurisdictions. An EIR or Initial Study/Negative Declaration was prepared for each General Plan. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section et seq, the environmental document to be prepared for this project will be a tiered environmental document, which will adopt by reference each respective General Plan s environmental document. Specifically, this document incorporates the following documents by name and State Clearinghouse Number. County of Merced General Plan Initial Study adopted on March 27, 2001, SCH No City of Atwater General Plan Final EIR adopted on July 24, 2000, SCH No City of Dos Palos General Plan Final EIR adopted on June 18, 1991, SCH No City of Gustine General Plan Final EIR adopted on Feb 4, 2002, SCH No City of Livingston General Plan Final EIR adopted on November 16, 1999, SCH No City of Los Banos General Plan Final EIR adopted on December 17, 2003, SCH No City of Merced General Plan Final EIR adopted on April 7, 1997, SCH No The referenced environmental documents analyze the potential impact of implementing each General Plan through a planning horizon (typically 20 years). For each resource (air quality, water, traffic, etc.), impacts were analyzed and a determination was made that the project would: have no impact; have a less than significant impact; have a less than significant impact due to adopted mitigation measures, or have a significant and unavoidable impact. Where significant and unavoidable impacts were identified, the City Council or Board of Supervisors balanced those impacts against the benefits of adoption of the General Plan and, in each case, adopted a Statement of Overriding Considerations indicating that the benefits outweighed the anticipated harm to the environment. By encouraging growth already called for in the General Plan, the proposed project will not create new impacts which were not analyzed in the prior environmental documents. However, the future growth could be accelerated, which could cause those impacts to occur somewhat more rapidly than they would otherwise occur. There is no known, reliable mechanism that The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-1

210 measures when the acceleration of an otherwise less than significant impact would create a significant impact, particularly if the overall magnitude of the anticipated development would not change. Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact I. AESTHETICS Would the project: a) Have a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista? b) Substantially damage scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a state scenic highway? c) Substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings? d) Create a new source of substantial light or glare which would adversely affect day or night time views in the area? Response: a-c) Less Than Significant Impact With Mitigation None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to scenic vistas, scenic resources or the existing visual character of their respective communities, either due to the lack of protected resources, or to the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue to be in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate the pace of the anticipated impacts but will not alter the magnitude of those impacts sufficiently to create a significant impact. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact on scenic resources. d) Potentially Significant Impact The environmental document for the Los Banos General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts due to the creation of substantial light and glare. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. Such development may create a new source of substantial light and glare. This would significantly affect day and night time views in the area. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on light and glare will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-2

211 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact II. AGRICULTURE RESOURCES: - Would the project: a) Convert Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland, or Farmland of Statewide Importance (Farmland), as shown on the maps prepared pursuant to the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency, to non-agricultural use? b) Conflict with existing zoning for agricultural use, or a Williamson Act contract? c) Involve other changes in the existing environment which, due to their location or nature, could result in conversion of farmland to non-agricultural use? Response: a, c) Potentially Significant Impact The environmental documents for the Livingston and Los Banos General Plans identified significant and unavoidable impacts to the conversion of Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland or Farmland of Statewide Importance. As such, there is the potential that the acceleration of commercial and industrial development which may result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone could contribute to this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the conversion of farmland will be provided in the environmental impact report. b) Potentially Significant Impact Although none of the reference environmental documents specifically addressed the potential for development to conflict with agricultural use or Williamson Act contracts, considerable area within Merced County is designated for industrial development, but is currently zoned for Agriculture and/or is subject to Williamson Act contracts. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the Agricultural Zoning and Williamson Act contracts will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-3

212 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact III. AIR QUALITY: Would the project: a) Conflict with or obstruct implementation of the applicable air quality plan? b) Violate any air quality standard or contribute substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation? c) Result in a cumulatively considerable net increase of any criteria pollutant for which the project region is no-attainment under an applicable federal or state ambient air quality standard (including releasing emissions which exceed quantitative thresholds for ozone precursors)? d) Expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations? e) Create objectionable odors affecting a substantial number of people? Response: a-d) Potentially Significant Impact - The environmental documents for the Livingston and Los Banos General Plans identified significant and unavoidable impacts to air quality through the obstruction of implementation of the applicable air quality plan, contribution to existing air quality violations, cumulatively considerable increase in criteria pollutants and the exposure of sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. This accelerated development could contribute to this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on air quality will be provided in the environmental impact report. e) Less Than Significant Impact with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact due to the creation of objectionable odors. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development could comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to objectionable odor. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-4

213 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact IV. BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES Would the project: a) Have a substantial adverse effect, either directly or through habitat modifications, on any species identified as a candidate, sensitive, or special status species in local or regional plans, policies, or regulations, or by the California Department of Fish and Game or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? b) Have a substantial adverse effect on any riparian habitat or other sensitive natural community identified in local or regional plans, policies, regulations or by the California Department of Fish and Game or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? c) Have a substantial adverse effect on federally protected wetlands as defined by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (including, but not limited to, marsh, vernal pool, coastal, etc.) through direct removal, filling, hydrological interruption, or other means? d) Interfere substantially with the movement of any native resident or migratory fish or wildlife species or with established native resident or migratory wildlife corridors, or impede the use of native wildlife nursery sites? e) Conflict with any local policies or ordinances protecting biological resources, such as a tree preservation policy or ordinance? f) Conflict with the provisions of an adopted Habitat Conservation Plan, Natural Community Conservation Plan, or other approved local, regional, or state habitat conservation plan? Response: a, d) Potentially Significant Impact The environmental document for the Los Banos General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to listed species and to the movement of wildlife. There is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on listed species and wildlife movement corridors will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-5

214 b, c) Potentially Significant Impact The environmental document for the Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to riparian communities and wetlands. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. This could contribute to significant impact to riparian communities and wetlands. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on riparian areas and wetlands will be provided in the environmental impact report. e, f) Potentially Significant Impact- None of the reference environmental documents identified a significant impact related to local resource protection ordinances or Habitat Conservation Plans. However, since the preparation of the Initial Study for the County of Merced General Plan, a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) was adopted for development near Santa Nella. The HCP, referred to as HCP Santa Nella Phase I, 2004 focuses on the residential and commercial development around Santa Nella, an unincorporated community northwest of Los Banos. A more detailed analysis of the potential impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the implementation of local preservation ordinances and Habitat Conservation Plans will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-6

215 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact V. CULTURAL RESOURCES -- Would the project: a) Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a historical resource as defined in ? b) Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of an archaeological resource pursuant to ? c) Directly or indirectly destroy a unique paleontological resource or site or unique geologic feature? d) Disturb any human remains, including those interred outside of formal cemeteries? Response: a-d) Potentially Significant Impact The environmental document for the Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to cultural resources, including historical and archeological resources. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. Such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. However, this enhanced encouragement could contribute to significant impacts. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on cultural resources will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-7

216 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact VI. GEOLOGY/SOILS -- Would the project: a) Expose people or structures to potential substantial adverse effects, including the risk of loss, injury, or death involving? i) Rupture of a known earthquake fault, as delineated on the most recent Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Map issued by the State Geologist for the area or based on other substantial evidence of a known fault? Refer to Division of Mines and Geology Special Publication 42. ii) Strong seismic ground shaking? iii) Seismic-related ground failure, including liquefaction. iv) Landslides b) Result in substantial soil erosion or the loss of topsoil? c) Be located on a geologic unit or soil that is unstable, or that would become unstable as a result of the project, and potentially result in on- or off-site landslide, lateral spreading, subsidence, liquefaction of collapse? d) Be located on expansive soil, as defined in Table 18-1-B of the Uniform Building code (1994), creating substantial risks to life or property? e) Have soils incapable of adequately supporting the use of septic tanks or alternative waste water disposal systems where sewers are not available for the disposal of waste water? Response: a) i - iv) Potentially Significant Portions of Merced County are shown on the current Alquist- Priolo Earthquake Fault Map. As such, industrial or commercial development within such areas may be vulnerable to ground rupture, seismic shaking ground failure and landslides if adequate mitigation measures are not in place. A more detailed analysis of the seismic hazards associated with accelerated commercial and industrial development will be included in the environmental impact report. b, c, d) Less than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-8

217 would have a significant and unavoidable impact to erosion, or from development on unstable soil or landforms or on expansive soils. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to erosion and to development on unstable soils and landforms. e) Less than Significant Impact None of the reference environmental documents specifically addressed the potential for development to rely on septic systems in unsuitable soils. All industrial and commercial development is anticipated to be connected to wastewater systems. Each affected jurisdiction has policies in place requiring appropriate soil studies and design to ensure that any such systems are sufficient to effectively manage anticipated wastewater flows. Therefore, impacts related to the use of septic systems in unsuitable soils is less than significant. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-9

218 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact VII. HAZARDS/HAZARDOUS MATERIALS Would the project: a) Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through the routine transport, use, or disposal of hazardous materials? b) Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through reasonably foreseeable upset and accident conditions involving the release of hazardous materials into the environment? c) Emit hazardous emissions or handle hazardous or acutely hazardous materials, substances, or waste within one-quarter mile of an existing or proposed school? d) Be located on a site which is included on a list of hazardous materials sites compiled pursuant to Government Code Section and, as a result, would it create a significant hazard to the public or the environment? e) For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project result in a safely hazard for people residing or working in the project area? f) For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area? g) Impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan? h) Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving wildland fires, including where wildlands are adjacent to urbanized areas or where residences are intermixed with wildlands? Response: a) Less than Significant - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would create a significant and unavoidable risk related to the transport of hazardous materials. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-10

219 would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to risk from transport of hazardous materials. b, d, e) Less than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact related to upset or accidents, or from development on hazardous materials sites, or within airport land use planning areas. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plan. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to risk related to the release of hazardous materials and from development on hazardous materials sites, or within airport land use planning areas. c) Less than Significant None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would create a significant and unavoidable risk related to the release of hazardous materials within ¼ mile of a school. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate the pace of the anticipated development but will not alter the magnitude of anticipated impacts. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to the release of hazardous materials near schools. f) No Impact - All of the reference environmental documents found that implementation of the respective General Plans would have no impact related to development in the vicinity of a private air strip. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have no impact related to the safety residing or working in the project area. g) Less than Significant - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant effect on the implementation of an adopted emergency response plan. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to implementation of emergency response plans. h) Potentially Significant Two of the reference environmental documents specifically addressed the potential impacts to hazards related to wildland fires at the wildland/urban interface as less than significant. Portions of Merced County are vulnerable to wildland fires due to weeds and grasses. Such areas may abut urbanized areas or other areas designated for industrial or commercial development. There is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the potential impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on risks related to wildland fires will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-11

220 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact VIII. HYDROLOGY/WATER QUALITY Would the project: a) Violate any water quality standards or waste discharge requirements? b) Substantially deplete groundwater supplies or interfere substantially with groundwater recharge such that there would be a net deficit in aquifer volume or a lowering of the local groundwater table level (e.g., the production rate of pre-existing nearby wells would drop to a level which would not support existing land uses or planned uses for which permits have been granted)? c) Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, in a manner which would result in substantial erosion or siltation on- or off-site? d) Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, or substantially increase the rate or amount of surface runoff in a manner which would result in flooding on- or offsite? e) Create or contribute runoff water which would exceed the capacity of existing or planned stormwater drainage systems or provide substantial additional sources of polluted runoff? f) Otherwise substantially degrade water quality? g) Place housing within a 100-year flood hazard area as mapped on a federal flood Hazard Boundary or Flood Insurance Rate Map or other flood hazard delineation map? h) Place within a 100-year flood hazard area structures which would impede or redirect flood flows? i) Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving flooding, including flooding as a result of the failure of a levee or dam? j) Inundation by seiche, tsunami, or mudflow? The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-12

221 Response: a) Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant effect on compliance with water quality standards. This finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to implementation of any water quality standards or waste discharge requirements. b-f) Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to groundwater supply and quality or to stormwater runoff and drainage. This finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to groundwater supply and quality or to stormwater runoff and drainage. g, h, j) No Impact - All of the reference environmental documents found that implementation of the respective General Plans would have no impact to the placement of housing or other structures within 100-year flood zones or to the risk of inundation. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have no impact related to flooding or inundation. i) Potentially Significant Impact - The environmental document for the Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to exposure of people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving flooding. As such, there is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on exposure of people re structures to flooding will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-13

222 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact IX. LAND USE/PLANNING Would the project: a) Physically divide an established community? b) Conflict with any applicable land use plan, policy, or regulation of an agency with jurisdiction over the project (including, but not limited to the general plan, specific plan, local coastal program, or zoning ordinance) adopted for the purpose of avoiding or mitigating an environmental effect? c) Conflict with any applicable habitat conservation plan or natural community conservation plan? Response: a) Potentially Significant Impact - The environmental document for the Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to an established community being physically divided. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. This could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the physical division of an established community will be provided in the environmental impact report. b) No Impact Any development projects for businesses which receive incentives through the Enterprise Zone will be required to fully comply with applicable land use plans, policies, regulations and adopted environmental mitigation measures. Therefore, there will be no impact related to a conflict with such regulations. c) Potentially Significant Impact - None of the reference environmental documents specifically addressed the potential for development to conflict with local resource protection ordinances or Habitat Conservation Plans. Considerable area within Merced County, is subject to a Habitat Conservation Plan focused on development of Santa Nella and the University of California Merced. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the potential impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the implementation of local preservation ordinances and Habitat Conservation Plans will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-14

223 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact X. MINERAL RESOURCES Would the project: a) Result in the loss of availability of a known mineral resource that would be of value to the region and the residents of the state? b) Result in the loss of availability of a locallyimportant mineral resource recovery site delineated on a local general plan, specific plan or other land use plan? Response: a-b Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to mineral resources. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to mineral resources. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-15

224 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XI. NOISE would the project result in: a) Exposure of persons to or generation of noise levels in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies? b) Exposure of persons to or generation of excessive ground borne vibration or ground borne noise levels? c) A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project? d) A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project? e) For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels? f) For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels? Response: a-f) Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to noise levels above standards, vibration, increases in ambient noise or exposure to noise from public or private airports. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to vibration, ambient noise and airport related noise. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-16

225 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XII. POPULATION AND HOUSING Would the project: a) Induce substantial population growth in an area, either directly (for example, by proposing new homes and businesses) or indirectly (for example, through extension of roads or other infrastructure)? b) Displace substantial numbers of existing housing, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere? c) Displace substantial numbers of people, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere? Response: a) Potentially Significant Impact The proposed designation of an Enterprise Zone is not a housing-related project and would not directly induce population growth. Future development which may be encouraged by the incentives offered by the Enterprise Zone could increase employment, which may indirectly impact housing needs. While all development will be required to comply with the existing General Plans, an increase in employment could cause the respective communities to reach the target populations in their general plans ahead of the expected time horizon. A more detailed analysis of the potentially significant impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development population will be provided in the environmental impact report. b-c) Less Than Significant Impact None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant effect on the displacement of people or housing. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to the displacement of people or housing. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-17

226 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XIII. PUBLIC SERVICES Would the project: a) Result in substantial adverse physical impacts associated with the provision of new or physically altered governmental facilities, need for new or physically altered governmental facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental impact, in order to maintain acceptable service ratios for any of the public services: Fire protection? Police protection? Schools? Parks? Other public facilities? Response: a) Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to public services. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to public services. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-18

227 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XIV. RECREATION Would the project: a) Increase the use of existing neighborhood and regional parks or other recreational facilities such that substantial physical deterioration of the facility would occur or be accelerated? b) Does the project include recreational facilities or require the construction or expansion of recreational facilities which might have an adverse physical effect on the environment? Response: a) Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to the use of parks and recreational facilities. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to parks. b) No Impact No new recreational facilities are proposed with this project. None of the Enterprise Zone incentives apply to the development of recreational facilities. Therefore, the project will have no impact related to the development of recreational facilities. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-19

228 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XV. TRANSPORTATION/TRAFFIC Would the project: a) Cause an increase in traffic which is substantial in relation to the existing traffic load and capacity of the street system (i.e., result in a substantial increase in either the number of vehicle trips, the volume to capacity ratio on roads, or congestion at intersections? b) Exceed, either individually or cumulatively, a level of service standard established by the county congestion management agency for designated roads or highways? c) Result in a change in air traffic patterns, including either an increase in traffic levels or a change in location that results in substantial safety risks? d) Substantially increase hazards due to a design feature (e.g., sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g., farm equipment)? e) Result in inadequate emergency access? f) Result in inadequate parking capacity? g) Conflict with adopted policies, plans, or programs supporting alternative transportation (e.g., bus turnouts, bicycle racks)? Response: a, b) Potentially Significant Impact - The environmental document for the Los Banos General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to traffic increases and the violation of adopted Level of Service Standards. There is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on traffic congestion will be provided in the environmental impact report. c, d, e, f) Less Than Significant with Mitigation None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to air traffic patterns, traffic hazards, emergency access or parking. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-20

229 measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to air traffic patterns, traffic hazards, emergency access and parking. g) No Impact All of the reference environmental documents found that implementation of the respective General Plans would have no impact to existing policies, plans or programs supporting alternative transportation. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have no impact to alternative transportation. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-21

230 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XVI. UTILITIES/SERVICE SYSTEMS Would the project: a) Exceed wastewater treatment requirements of the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board? b) Require or result in the construction of new water or wastewater treatment facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects? c) Require or result in the construction of new storm water drainage facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects? d) Have sufficient water supplies available to serve the project from existing entitlements and resources, or are new or expanded entitlements needed? e) Result in a determination by the wastewater treatment provider which serves or may serve the project that it has adequate capacity to serve the project s projected demand in addition to the provider s existing commitments? f) Be served by a landfill with sufficient permitted capacity to accommodate the project s solid waste disposal needs? g) Comply with federal, state, and local statutes and regulations related to solid waste? Response: a-g) Less Than Significant with Mitigation - None of the reference General Plan environmental documents found that the implementation of the respective General Plans would have a significant and unavoidable impact to any aspect of the provision of utilities and service systems. In some cases, this finding is based on the effectiveness of mitigation measures adopted with the respective environmental documents. Those mitigation measures continue in effect and will apply to the proposed project. Adoption of an Enterprise Zone may accelerate commercial and industrial development. However, such development would comply with the goals and policies of the referenced General Plans. Therefore the proposed project will have a less than significant impact to utilities and service systems. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-22

231 Issues: Potentially Significant Impact Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporation Less Than Significant Impact No Impact XVII. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE a) Does the project have the potential to degrade the quality of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal or eliminate important examples of the major periods of California history or prehistory? b) Does the project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? ( Cumulatively considerable means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects)? c) Does the project have environmental effects which will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly? Response: a) Potentially Significant Impact - The environmental document for the City of Merced General Plan and the City of Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable impacts to the degradation of environmental quality and related impacts to wildlife habitat and populations. There is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the potentially significant impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the listed resources will be provided in the environmental impact report. b) Potentially Significant Impact - The environmental document for the City of Merced General Plan and the City of Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable cumulative impacts. There is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the cumulative impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the listed resources will be provided in the environmental impact report. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-23

232 c) Potentially Significant Impact The environmental document for the City of Atwater General Plan identified significant and unavoidable environmental effects which could cause substantial adverse effects to human beings. There is the potential that commercial and industrial development may be encouraged as a result from the adoption of an Enterprise Zone. This enhanced encouragement could lead to the acceleration of this significant effect. A more detailed analysis of the potentially significant impact of accelerated commercial and industrial development on the environmental effects which could cause substantial adverse effects to human beings will be provided in the environmental document. The Merced County Enterprise Zone August 2006 Notice of Preparation and Initial Study 3-24

233

234

235 Appendix B Notice of Preparation Comment Letters

236

237

238

239

ARMSTRONG RANCH PROPERTY ACQUISTION ADDENDUM TO THE CALIFORNIA AMERICAN WATER COMPANY COASTAL WATER PROJECT EIR ( CPUC EIR )

ARMSTRONG RANCH PROPERTY ACQUISTION ADDENDUM TO THE CALIFORNIA AMERICAN WATER COMPANY COASTAL WATER PROJECT EIR ( CPUC EIR ) 1.0 INTRODUCTION ARMSTRONG RANCH PROPERTY ACQUISTION ADDENDUM TO THE CALIFORNIA AMERICAN WATER COMPANY COASTAL WATER PROJECT EIR ( CPUC EIR ) Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Sections 15096, 15162, 15164 and

More information

RMC PACIFIC VERNALIS QUARRY

RMC PACIFIC VERNALIS QUARRY Volume II Appendices RMC PACIFIC VERNALIS QUARRY Draft Environmental Impact Report SCH No. 2002122122 Quarry Permit Application No. QX-01-02 Environmental Impact Report Application No. PA-0200065 Prepared

More information

INITIAL STUDY BRISBANE BAYLANDS PHASE I SPECIFIC PLAN

INITIAL STUDY BRISBANE BAYLANDS PHASE I SPECIFIC PLAN INITIAL STUDY FOR THE BRISBANE BAYLANDS PHASE I SPECIFIC PLAN CITY OF BRISBANE LEAD AGENCY UNIVERSAL PARAGON CORPORATION APPLICANT FEBRUARY 22, 2006 1. Project Title: Brisbane Baylands Phase I Specific

More information

NOTICE OF PREPARATION

NOTICE OF PREPARATION PLANNING DIVISION CITY OF SUNNYVALE P.O. BOX 3707 SUNNYVALE, CA 94088-3707 NOTICE OF PREPARATION TO: Responsible, Trustee, and Other Interested Public Agencies FROM: Sunnyvale Community Development 456

More information

Sec. 22a-1a page 1 (4-97)

Sec. 22a-1a page 1 (4-97) Department of Environmental Protection Sec. 22a-1a page 1 (4-97) TABLE OF CONTENTS Connecticut Environmental Policy Act Definitions... 22a-1a- 1 Determination of sponsoring agency.... 22a-1a- 2 Determination

More information

CHAPTER 4 ALTERNATIVES COMPARISON

CHAPTER 4 ALTERNATIVES COMPARISON CHAPTER 4 ALTERNATIVES COMPARISON 4.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter provides a comparison of the and its alternatives as described in EIS/EIR Section 1.8.3 (s Evaluated in this EIS/EIR) and analyzed in Sections

More information

FINAL SCOPING DOCUMENT

FINAL SCOPING DOCUMENT State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) FINAL SCOPING DOCUMENT Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement Adoption of Proposed Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Law Amendments Route 94 Priority Growth

More information

8. The City received a $100,000 grant from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to conduct initial planning and engineering analyses.

8. The City received a $100,000 grant from the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to conduct initial planning and engineering analyses. RESOLUTION NO. 14-071 A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PACIFIC GROVE CERTIFYING THE FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (FEIR), ADOPTING THE MITIGATION MONITORING AND REPORTING PLAN, AND APPROVING

More information

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT NEGATIVE DECLARATION CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA, CALIFORNIA

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT NEGATIVE DECLARATION CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA, CALIFORNIA Planning Division 501 Poli Street Ventura, CA 93001 805.654-7893 Fax 805.653-0763 NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT NEGATIVE DECLARATION CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA, CALIFORNIA I. The City of Ventura has reviewed

More information

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF PREPARATION OF A DRAFT SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR THE BERTHS 97-109 [CHINA SHIPPING] CONTAINER TERMINAL PROJECT

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF PREPARATION OF A DRAFT SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR THE BERTHS 97-109 [CHINA SHIPPING] CONTAINER TERMINAL PROJECT September 18, 2015 SUBJECT: NOTICE OF PREPARATION OF A DRAFT SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR THE BERTHS 97-109 [CHINA SHIPPING] CONTAINER TERMINAL PROJECT The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department

More information

NOTICE OF PREPARATION

NOTICE OF PREPARATION 110 Maple Street, Auburn, California 95603-530-889-4097 lafco@placer.ca.gov COMMISSIONERS: Robert Weygandt Chair (County) Gray Allen Vice Chair (Special Districts) Ron Treabess, (Special Districts) NOTICE

More information

APPENDICES SAN FRANCISCO BAY TRAIL: PINOLE SHORES TO BAYFRONT PARK PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

APPENDICES SAN FRANCISCO BAY TRAIL: PINOLE SHORES TO BAYFRONT PARK PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT PUBLIC REVIEW DRAFT APPENDICES SAN FRANCISCO BAY TRAIL: PINOLE SHORES TO BAYFRONT PARK PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT STATE CLEARING HOUSE NUMBER 2010082043 July 15, 2011 This page left blank intentionally.

More information

Package Treatment Plant Policy and Procedure

Package Treatment Plant Policy and Procedure Package Treatment Plant Policy and Procedure PURPOSE There has been increased interest in the use of package treatment plants for new development proposals in the County. Current review procedures are

More information

March 2008. Prepared by: Irvine Ranch Water District. 15600 Sand Canyon Avenue. Irvine, CA 92618. Contact: Natalie Likens (949) 453-5633

March 2008. Prepared by: Irvine Ranch Water District. 15600 Sand Canyon Avenue. Irvine, CA 92618. Contact: Natalie Likens (949) 453-5633 ADDENDUM TO THE MICHELSON WATER RECLAMATION PLANT PHASE 2 & 3 CAPACITY EXPANSION PROJECT FEBRUARY 2006 FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT AND THE SAN JOAQUIN FRESHWATER MARSH ENHANCEMENT PLAN REVISED SEPTEMBER

More information

CHAPTER 2.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

CHAPTER 2.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CHAPTER 2.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This chapter is an executive summary of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the implementation of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) 2004 Long Range Development

More information

Door County. Zoning. Does the ordinance include shoreland-wetland district requirements that exceed State minimum standards? Yes. See responses below.

Door County. Zoning. Does the ordinance include shoreland-wetland district requirements that exceed State minimum standards? Yes. See responses below. Door County Zoning Introduction Door County has a comprehensive Zoning Ordinance that contains wetland conservation provisions. Shoreland-Wetland zoning provisions are enforced in all unincorporated areas

More information

Multiple Species Conservation Program County of San Diego. A Case Study in Environmental Planning & The Economic Value of Open Space

Multiple Species Conservation Program County of San Diego. A Case Study in Environmental Planning & The Economic Value of Open Space Multiple Species Conservation Program County of San Diego A Case Study in Environmental Planning & The Economic Value of Open Space Amy M. Fox Land Use Law Case Study Autumn Semester, 1999 Multiple Species

More information

3.1.8 Utilities and Service Systems

3.1.8 Utilities and Service Systems 3.1.8 Utilities and Service Systems This section discusses potential impacts to utilities and service systems, including water, wastewater, and solid waste hauling and disposal, resulting from the implementation

More information

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT. for MOE S STOP GAS & SERVICE STATION

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT. for MOE S STOP GAS & SERVICE STATION DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT for MOE S STOP GAS & SERVICE STATION City File # CP11-049 State Clearinghouse # 2011062068 CITY OF SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA September 2011 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION...1

More information

Chapter 4.0 - Impacts of the Proposed Project

Chapter 4.0 - Impacts of the Proposed Project Chapter 4.0 - Impacts of the Proposed Project 4.0 Impacts of the Proposed Project This section presents the baseline conditions and the analysis of the potential for the proposed Ridgecrest Sanitary Landfill

More information

THREE MILE PLAN/URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT

THREE MILE PLAN/URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT THREE MILE PLAN/URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT THIS INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT, entered into by and between the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF THE COUNTY OF GUNNISON, COLORADO, a

More information

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Environmental Assessment

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Environmental Assessment DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Environmental Assessment Water Protection Bureau Name of Project: Applicant: Ueland Land Development LLC Type of Project: Proposed discharge of treated domestic wastewater

More information

5. Environmental Analysis

5. Environmental Analysis 5.11 The potential for adverse impacts on utilities and service systems was evaluated based on information concerning current service levels and the ability of the service providers to accommodate the

More information

APPLICATION PROCESSING

APPLICATION PROCESSING MINOR SUBDIVISION 1810 E. HAZELTON AVENUE, STOCKTON CA 95205 BUSINESS PHONE: (209) 468-3121 BUSINESS HOURS: 8:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M..(Monday through Friday) APPLICATION PROCESSING STEPS STEP 1 STEP 2 CHECK

More information

NYCIDA PROJECT COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS June 5, 2014

NYCIDA PROJECT COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS June 5, 2014 NYCIDA PROJECT COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS June 5, 2014 APPLICANT Skyline Restoration Inc. CGI Northeast, Inc. Spring Scaffolding LLC Metropolitan Northeast LLC 11-20 37 th Avenue Long Island City, NY 11101

More information

San Francisco Water Powe Sewer Services of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

San Francisco Water Powe Sewer Services of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission San Francisco Water Powe Sewer Services of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission 525 Golden Gate Avenue, 13th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102 T 415.554.3155 F 415.554.3161 TTY 415.554.3488 January

More information

MODESTO CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION NO. 2005-466

MODESTO CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION NO. 2005-466 MODESTO CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION NO. 2005-466 A RESOLUTION FINDING THAT THE FOLLOWING PROJECT IS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE PROJECT COVERED BY THE MODESTO URBAN AREA GENERAL PLAN MASTER ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

More information

INTRODUCTION. State Law and Local Planning. The General Plan. Zoning. Subdivisions. Other Ordinances and Regulations. Annexation and Incorporation

INTRODUCTION. State Law and Local Planning. The General Plan. Zoning. Subdivisions. Other Ordinances and Regulations. Annexation and Incorporation INTRODUCTION This is a citizen's guide to land use planning as it is practiced in California. Its purpose is to explain, in general terms, how local communities regulate land use and to define some commonly

More information

Draft Environmental Impact Statement. PORT OF OSWEGO AUTHORITY Lead Agency, State Environmental Quality Review Act

Draft Environmental Impact Statement. PORT OF OSWEGO AUTHORITY Lead Agency, State Environmental Quality Review Act CENTERSTATE NY INLAND PORT DRAFT SCOPING DOCUMENT FOR THE Draft Environmental Impact Statement PORT OF OSWEGO AUTHORITY Lead Agency, State Environmental Quality Review Act SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 INTRODUCTION

More information

Appendix I High School No. 5 Alternative Site Analysis

Appendix I High School No. 5 Alternative Site Analysis Appendices Appendix I High School No. 5 Alternative Site Analysis Heritage Fields Project 2012 GPA/ZC Final Second Supplemental EIR City of Irvine Appendices This page intentionally left blank. October

More information

Article 44-5: Resource Management Provisions

Article 44-5: Resource Management Provisions Article 44-5: Sections: 44-5.10: 44-5.20: 44-5.30: 44-5.40: Agricultural Buffers Wetlands, Waterways, Riparian Habitat, and Sensitive Habitat Habitat Mitigation Banks and Habitat Management Areas Hillside

More information

TENTATIVE MAP DIVISION OF LAND INTO LARGE PARCEL

TENTATIVE MAP DIVISION OF LAND INTO LARGE PARCEL TENTATIVE MAP DIVISION OF LAND INTO LARGE PARCEL Pursuant To N.R.S. 278.471-278.4725 & Elko County Code 5-2-17 Elko County Planning & Zoning Division 155 South 9th Street, Elko, NV 89801 (775) 738-6816

More information

CEQA PRACTICUM: SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

CEQA PRACTICUM: SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW NAEP/AEP Conference Los Angeles CEQA PRACTICUM: SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW P RESENTED B Y : C URTIS E. ALLING, AICP G ARY D. JAKOBS, AICP A SCENT E NVIRONMENTAL, INC. A PRIL 2013 AEP CONFERENCE

More information

City of Beaumont General Plan. City of Beaumont 550 East Sixth Street Beaumont, California 92223

City of Beaumont General Plan. City of Beaumont 550 East Sixth Street Beaumont, California 92223 City of Beaumont General Plan City of Beaumont 550 East Sixth Street Beaumont, California 92223 Approved March 2007 Table of Contents Section Page 1. Introduction...3 1.1 Authority of the General Plan...

More information

City of Los Angeles INITIAL STUDY HOLLYWOOD COMMUNITY PLAN AREA Sunset Boulevard Mixed-Use Project. Case Number: ENV EIR

City of Los Angeles INITIAL STUDY HOLLYWOOD COMMUNITY PLAN AREA Sunset Boulevard Mixed-Use Project. Case Number: ENV EIR Department of City Planning Environmental Analysis Section City Hall 200 N. Spring Street, Room 750 Los Angeles, CA 90012 INITIAL STUDY HOLLYWOOD COMMUNITY PLAN AREA 8150 Sunset Boulevard Mixed-Use Project

More information

CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FINDINGS AND APPROVAL OF THE DESIGN OF THE GENOME LAUNCH FACILITY PROJECT, DAVIS CAMPUS

CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FINDINGS AND APPROVAL OF THE DESIGN OF THE GENOME LAUNCH FACILITY PROJECT, DAVIS CAMPUS CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FINDINGS AND APPROVAL OF THE DESIGN OF THE GENOME LAUNCH FACILITY PROJECT, DAVIS CAMPUS I. ADOPTION OF THE MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION Pursuant to Title 14, California

More information

AGENDA LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION Wednesday, April 20, 2016/6:30 P.M./Commissioners' Hearing Room

AGENDA LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION Wednesday, April 20, 2016/6:30 P.M./Commissioners' Hearing Room AGENDA LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION Wednesday, April 20, 2016/6:30 P.M./Commissioners' Hearing Room A. CALL TO ORDER B. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE C. PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE D. PUBLIC

More information

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT TEMPLATE

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT TEMPLATE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT TEMPLATE I. SUMMARY A. PROJECT IDENTIFICATION Applicant: Address: Project No. B. CONTACT PERSON Mr.\Ms. City or County Manager P.O. Box, Colorado 80 C. ABSTRACT Briefly summarize

More information

Hazards and Hazardous Materials. Introduction

Hazards and Hazardous Materials. Introduction 3.3.12 Hazards and Hazardous Materials Introduction The Hazards and Hazardous Materials section of the EIR primarily relates to the transportation, storage, use, and disposal of hazardous materials that

More information

Iowa Smart Planning. Legislative Guide March 2011

Iowa Smart Planning. Legislative Guide March 2011 Iowa Smart Planning Legislative Guide March 2011 Rebuild Iowa Office Wallace State Office Building 529 East 9 th St Des Moines, IA 50319 515-242-5004 www.rio.iowa.gov Iowa Smart Planning Legislation The

More information

APPENDIX F. Third Public Work Session. Notice Presentation. July 27, 2004

APPENDIX F. Third Public Work Session. Notice Presentation. July 27, 2004 APPENDIX F Third Public Work Session Notice Presentation July 27, 2004 For Immediate Release July 12, 2004 Town of Rotterdam Notice of Public Meeting The Town of Rotterdam Public Works Department will

More information

Governor Gray Davis. The Planner s Guide to. Specific Plans. Steven A. Nissen, Director. Terry Roberts, Manager, State Clearinghouse

Governor Gray Davis. The Planner s Guide to. Specific Plans. Steven A. Nissen, Director. Terry Roberts, Manager, State Clearinghouse Governor Gray Davis The Planner s Guide to Specific Plans Governor s Office of Planning and Research 1400 Tenth Street Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 445-0613 Steven A. Nissen, Director Terry Roberts, Manager,

More information

STAFF REPORT PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING OF OCTOBER 20, 2015. Debbie Hill, Associate Planner dhill@brentwoodca.gov 9386-A1

STAFF REPORT PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING OF OCTOBER 20, 2015. Debbie Hill, Associate Planner dhill@brentwoodca.gov 9386-A1 STAFF REPORT PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING OF OCTOBER 20, 2015 PREPARED BY: AGENDA ITEM & FILE NUMBER: PROJECT DESCRIPTION: PROJECT SIZE & LOCATION: GENERAL PLAN: ZONING: OWNER/APPLICANT: Debbie

More information

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LOMPOC AREA

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LOMPOC AREA SANTA BARBARA COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LOMPOC AREA A. LAND USE ELEMENT INTERPRETIVE GUIDELINES B. COMMUNITY BENEFITS C. COUNTY ACTION ITEMS Adopted by the Board of Supervisors November 9, 1999 A. Santa

More information

2010 Salida Community Priorities Survey Summary Results

2010 Salida Community Priorities Survey Summary Results SURVEY BACKGROUND The 2010 Salida Community Priorities Survey was distributed in September in an effort to obtain feedback about the level of support for various priorities identified in the draft Comprehensive

More information

Village of Spring Valley Comprehensive Plan 2009-2029

Village of Spring Valley Comprehensive Plan 2009-2029 Chapter 8: Intergovernmental Cooperation Introduction Intergovernmental communication, coordination, and cooperation can make a significant difference in the implementation and administration of a comprehensive

More information

Revised General Plan Amendment Report (GPAR) PAA 05-017 GPA 06-003 BC 05-0104 R06-006 ER06-08-024 APN # 268-130-43 APN # 268-130-42

Revised General Plan Amendment Report (GPAR) PAA 05-017 GPA 06-003 BC 05-0104 R06-006 ER06-08-024 APN # 268-130-43 APN # 268-130-42 LAW OFFICES OF VATCHE CHORBAJIAN ATTORNEYS AT LAW 655 North Central Avenue 17 th Floor Glendale, CA 91203 phone 818.409.6700 fax 858.923.2124 12707 High Bluff Dr, Ste 100 San Diego, CA 92130 phone 858.259.5577

More information

CITY OF BERKELEY DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL INITIAL STUDY ORDINANCE TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC AND PAPER CHECKOUT BAGS

CITY OF BERKELEY DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL INITIAL STUDY ORDINANCE TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC AND PAPER CHECKOUT BAGS CITY OF BERKELEY DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL INITIAL STUDY ORDINANCE TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC AND PAPER CHECKOUT BAGS PROJECT DESCRIPTION 1. PROJECT TITLE Ordinance to Reduce Single-Use Plastic and Paper Checkout

More information

DEVELOPMENT DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLIST

DEVELOPMENT DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLIST DEVELOPMENT DUE DILIGENCE CHECKLIST A. Title Condition. 1. Preliminary Title Reports. A current preliminary title report ( PTR ) for the Real Property. 2. Copies of Exceptions to Title. Copies of all documents

More information

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT STAFF REPORT Date: November 5, 2015

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT STAFF REPORT Date: November 5, 2015 PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT STAFF REPORT Date: November 5, 2015 DEVELOPMENT NAME Maritech Marine Subdivision, Phase 2 LOCATION 915 South Lawrence Street (West side of Lawrence Franklin Connector at the West

More information

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED PORT DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED PORT DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT SAN DIEGO UNIFIED PORT DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT Prepared by: Suzanne R. Varco & Associates for San Diego Unified Port District 225 Broadway, Suite

More information

TERCERO HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

TERCERO HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS TERCERO HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS Tiered Initial Study Negative Declaration OFFICE OF RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING University of California One Shields Avenue 376 Mrak Hall Davis, California 95616

More information

Planning and Development Department PROPOSED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION 1885 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA June 2006

Planning and Development Department PROPOSED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION 1885 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA June 2006 Planning and Development Department PROPOSED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION, Berkeley, CA June 2006 This mitigated negative declaration was prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act

More information

Corridor Goals and Objectives

Corridor Goals and Objectives Corridor Goals and Objectives This chapter presents the goals and objectives, developed by the Corridor Study Committee, that serve as the purpose and intent of the Corridor Plan. This plan covers a twenty

More information

PUBLIC NOTICE Application for Permit

PUBLIC NOTICE Application for Permit PUBLIC NOTICE Application for Permit 30-Day Notice Issue Date: June 20, 2016 Expiration Date: July 20, 2016 US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2010-535 Oregon Department of State Lands No: 58311-RF Interested

More information

COMMUNITY CERTIFICATIONS

COMMUNITY CERTIFICATIONS National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System COMMUNITY CERTIFICATIONS Public reporting burden for this form is estimated to average 4 hours for annual recertification, per response. The burden

More information

BENEFITS AND IMPACTS DATA IN BAR CHART FORM

BENEFITS AND IMPACTS DATA IN BAR CHART FORM BENEFITS AND IMPACTS DATA IN BAR CHART FORM This document presents the data from the matrices contained in the Study's Purpose and Need Analysis Report and Corridor Impact Assessment Report in bar chart

More information

*** Current through the 2009 Regular Session *** This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Enterprise Zone Employment Act of 1997.

*** Current through the 2009 Regular Session *** This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Enterprise Zone Employment Act of 1997. TITLE 36. LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO COUNTIES, MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS, AND OTHER GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES CHAPTER 88. ENTERPRISE ZONE EMPLOYMENT ACT 36-88-1. Short title *** Current through

More information

J. POPULATION AND HOUSING

J. POPULATION AND HOUSING J. POPULATION AND HOUSING 2006 J.1. POPULATION AND HOUSING GROWTH 1. INITIAL STUDY SCREENING PROCESS A. Initial Study Checklist Question XII.a): Would the project induce substantial population growth in

More information

Proposed General Plan Update Goals, Policies, and Implementation Actions

Proposed General Plan Update Goals, Policies, and Implementation Actions Proposed General Plan Update Goals, Policies, and Implementation Actions The construction and maintenance of infrastructure is necessary to support existing and planned land uses and to achieve Environmental

More information

CEQA PRACTICUM: PROJECT OBJECTIVES, ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS, AND CEQA FINDINGS

CEQA PRACTICUM: PROJECT OBJECTIVES, ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS, AND CEQA FINDINGS NAEP/AEP Conference Los Angeles CEQA PRACTICUM: PROJECT OBJECTIVES, ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS, AND CEQA FINDINGS P RESENTED B Y : A MANDA K. O LEKSZULIN C URTIS E. ALLING, AICP A SCENT E NVIRONMENTAL, INC.

More information

Application No.: 14.074 Steve Rush, representing Rocky Mountain Power Rocky Mountain Power Project Location: approximately 1600 N. 6800 E.

Application No.: 14.074 Steve Rush, representing Rocky Mountain Power Rocky Mountain Power Project Location: approximately 1600 N. 6800 E. Planning Commission Staff Report Planning and Development Services Croydon Substation Conditional Use Permit Public Meeting August 28, 2014 Application No.: 14.074 Applicant: Steve Rush, representing Rocky

More information

CHAPTER 372-68 WAC WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AND ABATEMENT PLANS FOR SEWAGE DRAINAGE BASINS

CHAPTER 372-68 WAC WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AND ABATEMENT PLANS FOR SEWAGE DRAINAGE BASINS CHAPTER 372-68 WAC WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AND ABATEMENT PLANS FOR SEWAGE DRAINAGE BASINS Last Update: 6/8/88 WAC 372-68-010 Authority. 372-68-020 Purpose. 372-68-030 Definitions. 372-68-040 Planning guide.

More information

Assembly Bill No. 242 CHAPTER 588

Assembly Bill No. 242 CHAPTER 588 Assembly Bill No. 242 CHAPTER 588 An act to add Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 1360) to Chapter 4 of Division 2 of and to add and repeal Section 1363.5 of, the Fish and Game Code, relating to oak

More information

Re: Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan

Re: Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan Page 1 of 6 Placer County Planning Services Division 2091 County Center Drive Auburn, CA 95603 Afisch@placer.ca.gov Ascent Environmental, Inc. 455 Capitol Mall, Suite 300 Sacramento, CA 95814 Sean.Bechta@ascentenvironmental.com

More information

C H A P T E R : I N T R O D U C T O RY P R O V I S I ONS

C H A P T E R : I N T R O D U C T O RY P R O V I S I ONS C H A P T E R 1 9. 1 : I N T R O D U C T O RY P R O V I S I ONS 19.1.1. TITLE This Title shall be known and officially cited as the Development Code of the City of Henderson, Nevada. It is referred to

More information

RE: Docket # COE 2010 0035; ZRIN 0710 ZA05 Submitted via email to NWP2012@usace.army.mil and Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov.

RE: Docket # COE 2010 0035; ZRIN 0710 ZA05 Submitted via email to NWP2012@usace.army.mil and Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. April 18, 2011 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Attn: CECW CO R 441 G Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20314 1000 RE: Docket # COE 2010 0035; ZRIN 0710 ZA05 Submitted via email to NWP2012@usace.army.mil and Rulemaking

More information

Department of the Interior. Departmental Manual

Department of the Interior. Departmental Manual Page 1 of 10 Department of the Interior Departmental Manual Effective Date: 10/23/2015 Series: Public Lands Part 600: Public Land Policy Chapter 6: Implementing Mitigation at the Landscape-scale Originating

More information

City of Valdosta Land Development Regulations. Table of Contents

City of Valdosta Land Development Regulations. Table of Contents TITLE 1 ADMINISTRATION Chapter 102 General Provisions 102-1 Title 102-2 Purpose 102-3 Authority 102-4 Jurisdiction 102-5 Application of Ordinance 102-6 Relationship to Existing Ordinances 102-7 Powers

More information

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT & SIDEWALK WAIVER REQUEST STAFF REPORT Date: November 7, 2013

PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT & SIDEWALK WAIVER REQUEST STAFF REPORT Date: November 7, 2013 PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT & SIDEWALK WAIVER REQUEST STAFF REPORT Date: November 7, 2013 NAME LOCATION Audubon Properties, LLC. 4700 & 4960 Dauphin Island Parkway West side of Dauphin Island Parkway, 580

More information

Chicago to St. Louis Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement

Chicago to St. Louis Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement Chicago to St. Louis Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement DRAFT Scoping Document July 2011 Illinois Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration Table of Contents 1.0 PROJECT DEFINITION...

More information

Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report

Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report Meritage Senior Living Project Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report Volume I: Report June 2013 Meritage Senior Living Project Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report Volume I: Report Prepared

More information

OPTIONAL POLICIES AND TOOLS FOR FARMLAND AND OPEN SPACE PROTECTION IN CALIFORNIA

OPTIONAL POLICIES AND TOOLS FOR FARMLAND AND OPEN SPACE PROTECTION IN CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA--Cooperative Extension Department of Human and Community Development University of California, Davis Davis, CA. 95616 (916) 752-0979 ajsokolow@ucdavis.edu OPTIONAL POLICIES AND

More information

RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT PLANNING AND OPERATIONS COMMITTEE. Report No.: III-C-1 Date: February 22, 2011

RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT PLANNING AND OPERATIONS COMMITTEE. Report No.: III-C-1 Date: February 22, 2011 RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT PLANNING AND OPERATIONS COMMITTEE Report No.: III-C-1 Date: Subject: Moreno Valley College Dental Education Center Mitigated Negative Declaration Background: An Environmental

More information

United Airlines Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 7 Improvement Project

United Airlines Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 7 Improvement Project United Airlines Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 7 Improvement Project Initial Study Proposed Negative Declaration Lead Agency: City of Los Angeles Los Angeles World Airports One World

More information

1. *Applicant Information: 1.1 Name of Owner: Name of Contact: Telephone #: Fax #: Mailing Address (including Group Box, Postal Code, etc.

1. *Applicant Information: 1.1 Name of Owner: Name of Contact: Telephone #: Fax #: Mailing Address (including Group Box, Postal Code, etc. 1. *Applicant Information: File No.: D11/ Application Form for Oak Lake Drainage Basin Zoning By-law Amendment H - Holding Removal Site Plan Control (under Sections 34, 36 and 41 of the Planning Act, RSO

More information

City of Los Angeles. NoHo West Project

City of Los Angeles. NoHo West Project City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning Environmental Analysis Section City Hall 200 N. Spring Street, Room 750 Los Angeles, CA 90012 INITIAL STUDY NORTH HOLLYWOOD VALLEY VILLAGE COMMUNITY PLAN

More information

KEYPORT COMMUNITY PLAN

KEYPORT COMMUNITY PLAN PLANNING COMMISSION TASKS Collect Public Comments on Draft Plan. Provide Clear Direction for: Preferred LAMIRD Boundary Lot Clustering Provision View Protection Recommendation to Board of County Commissioners.

More information

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION. Vallecitos Water District Rock Springs Sewer Replacement Project

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION. Vallecitos Water District Rock Springs Sewer Replacement Project NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION Vallecitos Water District Rock Springs Sewer Replacement Project Vallecitos Water District has prepared a Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration

More information

CESAM-RD-M March 22, 2016 PUBLIC NOTICE NO. SAM-2016-00144-KMN

CESAM-RD-M March 22, 2016 PUBLIC NOTICE NO. SAM-2016-00144-KMN DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT, MOBILE DISTRICT P.O. BOX 2288 MOBILE, ALABAMA 36628-0001 CESAM-RD-M March 22, 2016 PUBLIC NOTICE NO. SAM-2016-00144-KMN JOINT PUBLIC NOTICE U.S. ARMY

More information

PROJECT SUMMARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE HEALTH SCIENCES SURGE BUILDING (UCR PROJECT NO )

PROJECT SUMMARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE HEALTH SCIENCES SURGE BUILDING (UCR PROJECT NO ) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE HEALTH SCIENCES SURGE BUILDING (UCR PROJECT NO. 950480) FINAL INITIAL STUDY/MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION (STATE CLEARINGHOUSE NO. 2008071122) AUGUST 2008 FINAL INITIAL

More information

INFORMATION SHEET ORDER NO. R5-2011-XXXX TRIANGLE ROCK PRODUCTS, INC. FLORIN ROAD AGGREGATE PLANT SACRAMENTO COUNTY

INFORMATION SHEET ORDER NO. R5-2011-XXXX TRIANGLE ROCK PRODUCTS, INC. FLORIN ROAD AGGREGATE PLANT SACRAMENTO COUNTY ORDER NO. R5-2011-XXXX INFORMATION SHEET Background Triangle Rock, Inc. (Discharger) submitted a Report of Waste Discharge (RWD) on 23 August 2010. The Discharger is expanding the mining operations at

More information

Table 1: Waunakee Urban Service Area, Schumacher Farm Requested by the Town of Westport and Village of Waunakee

Table 1: Waunakee Urban Service Area, Schumacher Farm Requested by the Town of Westport and Village of Waunakee Staff Analysis of Proposed Amendment to the Dane County Water Quality Plan Revising the Waunakee Urban Service Area Boundary and Environmental Corridors in the Town of Westport (Schumacher Farm Park) 1/16/07

More information

AIR TRAFFIC INITIAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

AIR TRAFFIC INITIAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW AIR TRAFFIC INITIAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW Operational Test Period #2 to Evaluate the Feasibility of Changing Runway Configurations at Two Times during the Day at Boston-Logan Airport FAA Order 7400.2 Appendix

More information

2015 -- H 6042 S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D

2015 -- H 6042 S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D LC00 01 -- H 0 S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 01 A N A C T RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES -- RHODE ISLAND COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING AND LAND USE ACT Introduced

More information

Alternatives Analysis

Alternatives Analysis CHAPTER 6 Alternatives Analysis CEQA requires that an EIR describe a range of reasonable alternatives to the proposed project or to the location of the proposed project site that could feasibly avoid or

More information

TABLE 7.7-1. No comment letters related to air quality were received in response to the NOP circulated for the proposed project.

TABLE 7.7-1. No comment letters related to air quality were received in response to the NOP circulated for the proposed project. 7.7 AIR QUALITY 7.7 AIR QUALITY 7.7.1 INTRODUCTION 7.7.1.1 Content This section describes the impacts of the Monterey Amendment and the Settlement Agreement on air quality. Only some elements of the proposed

More information

Development proposals will require to demonstrate, according to scale, type and location, that they:-

Development proposals will require to demonstrate, according to scale, type and location, that they:- Appendix 2 : Relevant Development Plan Policies Angus Local Plan Review 2009 Policy S1 : Development Boundaries (a) Within development boundaries proposals for new development on sites not allocated on

More information

North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) Economic Development Plan

North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) Economic Development Plan North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) Economic Development Plan 2012 Table of Contents INTRODUCTION... 3 PURPOSE... 5 COMPONENTS OF THE PLAN... 7 I. High Wage Business Attraction and Retention...

More information

O.C.G.A. 36-66-1. GEORGIA CODE Copyright 2009 by The State of Georgia All rights reserved. *** Current through the 2009 Regular Session ***

O.C.G.A. 36-66-1. GEORGIA CODE Copyright 2009 by The State of Georgia All rights reserved. *** Current through the 2009 Regular Session *** O.C.G.A. 36-66-1 GEORGIA CODE Copyright 2009 by The State of Georgia All rights reserved. *** Current through the 2009 Regular Session *** TITLE 36. LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO COUNTIES AND

More information

Agua Hedionda Creek Flood Plain Information; Department of Army, Los Angeles District,

Agua Hedionda Creek Flood Plain Information; Department of Army, Los Angeles District, Bibliography Agua Hedionda Creek Flood Plain Information; Department of Army, Los Angeles District, California and Maps. US Army Corps of Engineers July 1973 pg. 24 Aqua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Framework

More information

Threshold Determination: California Case Law

Threshold Determination: California Case Law Threshold Determination: California Case Law Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (Super. Ct. San Bernardino County, filed Apr. 11, 2007, No. CIV SS 0700293). The California AG filed

More information

THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA M E M O R A N D U M DATE: APRIL 15, 2004 HO2020

THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA M E M O R A N D U M DATE: APRIL 15, 2004 HO2020 THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA M E M O R A N D U M 8 DATE: APRIL 15, 2004 HO2020 TO: FROM: RESPONSIBLE: PARTIES AGENCY COMMISSIONERS ROBERT R. OVROM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE

More information

City of Los Angeles CALIFORNIA ERIC GARCETTI MAYOR. November 6, 2014

City of Los Angeles CALIFORNIA ERIC GARCETTI MAYOR. November 6, 2014 DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING 200 N. SPRING STREET, ROOM 525 LOS ANGELES, CA 90012-4801 AND 6262 VAN NUYS BLVD., SUITE 351 VAN NUYS, CA 91401 - CITY PLANNING COMMISSION DAVID H. J. AMBROZ PRESIDENT RENEE

More information

VILLAGE OF UPPER NYACK CHECKLIST FOR SOLAR PANELS. Additional forms available at the Village Hall

VILLAGE OF UPPER NYACK CHECKLIST FOR SOLAR PANELS. Additional forms available at the Village Hall VILLAGE OF UPPER NYACK CHECKLIST FOR SOLAR PANELS Additional forms available at the Village Hall 2 copies of building permit application 1 copy of deed 1 copy of survey in current owners names 6 copies

More information

CITY OF FIREBAUGH Tentative & Final Parcel Maps Application Package/Checklist

CITY OF FIREBAUGH Tentative & Final Parcel Maps Application Package/Checklist CITY OF FIREBAUGH Tentative & Final Parcel Maps Application Package/Checklist FIREBAUGH CITY HALL 1133 P STREET FIREBAUGH, CA 93622 (559) 659-2043 The following list includes all the items you must submit

More information

3. The submittal shall include a proposed scope of work to confirm the provided project description;

3. The submittal shall include a proposed scope of work to confirm the provided project description; QIN Shoreline Master Program Project Summary The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) development process for the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) includes the completion of inventory and analysis report with corresponding

More information

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Staff Briefing Papers

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Staff Briefing Papers Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Staff Briefing Papers Meeting Date: April 17, 2014...Agenda Item *3 Company: Docket No. Minnesota Power E015/GP-13-978 In the Matter of the Application of Minnesota

More information

Regulatory Alternatives to Address Stormwater Management and Flooding in the Marlboro Street Study Area

Regulatory Alternatives to Address Stormwater Management and Flooding in the Marlboro Street Study Area Regulatory Alternatives to Address Stormwater Management and Flooding in the Marlboro Street Study Area Alternative 1: Amend Existing Local Regulations This proposed alternative provides an incremental

More information

GUIDE TO PARCEL MAPS (SUBDIVISION OF FOUR OR LESS PARCELS) FACTS AND INFORMATION

GUIDE TO PARCEL MAPS (SUBDIVISION OF FOUR OR LESS PARCELS) FACTS AND INFORMATION GUIDE TO PARCEL MAPS (SUBDIVISION OF FOUR OR LESS PARCELS) FACTS AND INFORMATION The City of Lakeport Subdivision Ordinance (Chapter 16 of the Lakeport Municipal Code) has been adopted in accordance with

More information