Darryl Boyd is doing a brief presentation on the SEIR (“S” for supplemental) process. So far, letters have been submitted by the Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association, the San Jose Sharks, and San Jose Giants. Staff recommends certification due to no new impacts after studying the modified project.
Now Dennis Korabiak is giving an overview of the project. Notes that there are 29,000 parking spaces in the downtown area.
So far, two commenters recommend not certifying the EIR, Eloy Wouters on the grounds that parking and traffic analyses are flawed, another because of fiscal responsibility concerns. A member of S/HNPA recommends the creation of a citizen oversight committee, similar to what was done with the arena. Another commenter recommends the 237/Zanker site as an alternative for the ballpark.
The lawyer from Stand for San Jose asserts that the traffic impact analysis for the weeknight 6-7 PM makes no conclusions and does not properly identify mitigation measures. Essentially this is a question of whether or not the SEIR properly states all of the impacts. Cites a couple of lawsuits in LA and Oakland.
A member of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association is concerned about traffic along CA-87′ though he also says that the ballpark would be a huge economic impact for downtown and San Jose. He wants VTA to make a commitment to provide improved services in the area, based on the success of transit usage in SF.
Michael Mulcahy (Baseball San Jose, friend of the Wolffs) is giving his sales pitch.
Another commenter criticizes the large environmental impact, while the last commenter critiques the traffic study.
Dennis Korabiak summarizes, notes that the project will require a vote due to the land contribution. Council decision to place project on the ballot would occur in June. Commissioner Zito asks if the various mitigations that will be needed have been disclosed. Korabiak replies yes. Commissioner Kamkar asks if the A’s will be paying for the police and traffic enforcement. Answer is that it will have to be negotiated by the A’s and City, with recommendations provided by the Good Neighbor Committee.
Public hearing closed. Now the rest of the planning commission has questions.
PG&E – What happens? No intention to acquire and relocate the substation.
Staff clarifies that the project is not in the “fair analysis” realm, which is often used to create legal challenges for an EIR. I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this right, but it may be because no major new impacts have been identified, compared to the old EIR. If true, that’s huge. Staff also says that regardless of a day or night game situation, there will be enough parking throughout downtown – though I have to say this is a flawed argument given the broad and one-sided definition of what downtown is.
8:33 PM – Motion to certify by Zito. Makes a statement to clarify that certifying the EIR is not about being for or against the project, it’s about whether or not the document itself is complete. Commissioner Jensen seconds. Commissioner Platten will not support the motion but considers it close, thinks there may be a lawsuit. Commissioner Klein thinks all of this could have been done with an amendment instead if a SEIR.
8:38 PM – Vote taken. Motion passes 4-1 with two commissioners absent. See ya in June.