Workshop: Setting the stage

Tonight was spent mostly observing various people’s responses to the displays and the back-and-forth with representatives of Fremont and LSA Associates, the firm conducting the environmental impact report. Keith Wolff was also in the house.

The largest crowd was gathered around the image above, and for good reason. Many of those in attendance were residents of that neighborhood across 680 from Warm Springs. They are going to be there tomorrow, and they will have numbers. The session tomorrow is shaping up to be an interesting contrast of constituent groups. We’ll see four types of comments:

  • NIMBY types from the Mission San Jose neighborhood. Regardless of which parcel in Warm Springs could be chosen for an alternate ballpark site, many of those residents will protest vigorously.
  • Ballpark supporters who prefer the baseball village in its original, whole form.
  • Transportation advocates who would like to see the decoupled village/ballpark concept as shown above.
  • Environmentalists who don’t want to see development endanger the adjacent wetlands.

It’s hard to say which group will be more prominent. I’ll make an informal tally while I’m there. A warning about that – the session tomorrow is only an hour long, and even if they devote the entire hour to public comments (which they won’t), only 30 or so comment slots will be available to speakers. Commenters are encouraged to use either the written comment forms or contact project principals via e-mail. From a process standpoint, public comments all get the same treatment and attention since they are a matter of public record. People tend to feel better about voicing their concerns directly, so if you get there early enough to get in the queue, let er rip!

I did learn one thing about the process that is, well, depressing. I mentioned earlier that the Warm Springs Alternative would be included in the EIR, but due to the lack of information about the alternative, additional time-consuming EIR work would be required. Traffic and other impacts would have to be studied in the same detail as the original site. That would conceivably push back the completion of the EIR, which then would delay construction, etc. I struck up a pleasant conversation with LSA’s Shannon Allen, who when asked about this possibility said, “It gives me a headache.” Me too.

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