The Lake Herman Hills - Green Gateway Business Community
GREEN GATEWAY

BUSINESS COMMUNITY


Email contact: Roger Straw, GGG Chair
About Green Gateway Group

Green Gateway Setting - East 2nd Street and Lake Herman Road

Green Gateway Business Community
..About Traffic & Transportation in Benicia

This is a 1MB PDF download, please be patient.

Green Gateway Business Community
A 21st Century Possibility

- our original 8/27/08 study -
This is a 2MB PDF download, please be patient.
For those with a slow connection - click here.
Note on 9/21/08 - this version contains all material from the
original document plus the addendum of 9/1/08.

NEWS ...

Seeno Offices Raided by FBI
Contra Cost Times article 2/19/2010

Seeno's Offer
Seeno's (Revised) "comitment letter of 1/23/09

Facilitated Workshop
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 6pm.
RESULTS:
Wall Graphic
Dan Iacofano's Summary
Discussions focused on
Seeno's 11/24/08 "reconsideration letter"
as presented by Mike Ioakimedes
at the December 2 Council meeting
.

Mayor Patterson
has offered additional suggested assurances
that could be added to the "reconsideration letter." Here is a copy of the letter with the Mayor's suggestions in red.
Green Gateway Group may bring a few more suggestions.
Check back later.

Green Gateway Group
has contracted with attorney Mark Wolfe
for advice concerning the "reconsideration letter and suggested additional assurances.

ABOUT THE NOV. 18, 2008 COUNCIL MEETING

The Benicia City Council
DENIED the Seeno project

at the November 18 meeting after first denying
the CEQA documentation.
The final vote to deny the project was 4-1.


ABOUT THE OCT. 21, 2008 COUNCIL MEETING

City Staff submitted its Report and Recommendation for the October 21 Council meeting, and it looks to this reporter like an "end run."

Which is to say, we thought that the current project was no longer on the table after the October 7 NO vote, and that staff would simply bring a professionally crafted and legally vetted Resolution to Deny  for Council's vote on October 21. This was, in fact, the action requested by Council in the closing minutes of the October 7 meeting, and would speed everyone along toward a new project based on a Specific Plan.

But, instead, Staff is once again offering Council the opportunity to vote yes on the current Seeno project, as conditioned. Printed below on the left are excerpts from pages 1, 2, and 20 from staff's report and recommendation.

You may view the staff report PART I here, (a 13MB document, so be patient).
You may view the staff report PART II here (a 6MB document, again be patient).
Here is a 2MB SEARCHABLE version of the staff report, Part I - be careful, the text is flawed with many typos due to conversion software.
Here is a 1.5MB SEARCHABLE version of the staff report, Part II, again with many typos due to software conversion.

IMPORTANT NOTE -
Two Resolutions to Deny

Although City staff is giving Council plenty of wiggle room, hoping for another outcome, they have dutifully prepared 2 - yes, two! - new Resolutions to Deny. 

The first one is recommended as "An alternative" on p.1 of the Staff report, and would deny the project while taking no action on the EIR Addendum. It appears as Resolution #1 beginning on p. 22 of Part I, and is downloadable here. We have also created a cut/paste and searchable version.

The second one is recommended as "A third alternative" on p.1 of the staff report, and would deny BOTH the EIR Addendum AND the project. It appears as Resolution #4 beginning on p. 62 of Part II, and is downloadable here. We have also created a cut/paste and searchable version.

We are awaiting authoritative legal and political advice on which of these two resolutions would be better means of moving forward toward a 21st Century Green Gateway project.

EXCERPTS FROM STAFF'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION:

from pp. 1-2..

AGENDA ITEM
CITY COUNCIL MEETING:
OCTOBER 21, 2008
ACTION ITEM

DATE:    October 10, 2008
TO:        City Council
FROM:    City Manager
             City Attorney
             Community Development Director
SUBJECT: BENICIA BUSINESS PARK REZONING, MASTER PLAN OVERLAY, VESTING TENTATIVE MAP AND ADDENDUM

RECOMMENDATION:
Staff recommends continuing the item to November 18, with the applicant's concurrence, to allow participation by the full Council and to allow time for additional public review of proposed project mitigation measures and conditions (including items in the Supplemental Transportation Assessment) and to allow the applicant to consider and agree to additional requirements of the Council to allow the project to be approved.

An alternative is to adopt the resolution to reject the project per staffs understanding of the Council's direction at the October 7, 2008 meeting to prepare such resolution. (Resolution #1 [p. IX-A-22 - p. 22 of the staff report PDF Attachment 1])

A second alternative is to approve the project by adopting resolutions presented at the October 7, 2008 meeting:

(1) adopting the EIR Addendum, Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, Statement of Overriding Considerations (for a significant and unavoidable air quality impact), and associated Findings pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); (Resolution #2 [Resolution #2, IX-A-27 - p. 27 of the staff report PDF Attachment 1]) and

(2) approving the proposed Rezoning, Master Plan Overlay and Vesting Tentative Map, with conditions (as may be modified by the City Council). (Resolution #3, [p. IX-A-165 - p. 1 of the staff report PDF Attachment 2])

A third alternative is to adopt a resolution to reject the addendum and the project. (Resolution #4 [p. IX-A-226 - p. 62 of the staff report PDF Attachment 2])

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

At the October 7, 2008 City Council meeting the Council considered the additional traffic analysis. After considering the testimony and deliberating, the Council did not adopt the resolution to adopt the addendum. Without the addendum, action on the project is not possible so staff was directed to bring appropriate resolutions to Council. Staff believes it would be appropriated to continue consideration of this matter to the November 18, 2008 meeting to allow further discussion and possible resolution of outstanding issues because: (I) the number of unresolved project issues appear to be few, (2) the project promises substantial local and regional economic and other benefits, (3) there has been a substantial investment of time and money by the developer and the City in project development and review. In addition to finalizing the details of the community advisory panel to provide citizen oversight of the project, the remaining major issues are traffic and air quality. These traffic/air quality issues discussed by Council include:

• air quality mitigation for Semple School;
• clean transit fleet;
• converting the city fleet to clean fuels;
• funding a city-wide transit study;
• paying current traffic fees;
• further reduction of vehicle miles traveled;
• the proposed traffic signal at Lake Herman Road; and
• a bike pool.

At the October 7, 2008 meeting, the applicant agreed to provide the following items in conjunction with the proposed project:

• air filtration improvements at Robert Semple;
• a soundwall adjacent to Robert Semple;
• lighting at the 1-780 pedestrian tunnel;
• clean-fuel vehicles for the shuttle to downtown;
• assistance for City fleet conversion to cleaner fuels; and
• a citizen panel to advise Council and the applicant regarding ongoing development of the project.

These are in addition to the listed conditions of approval.

If the Council does not think resolution can be achieved, the resolution to reject the project should be adopted to complete the planning process for the project.


(and from IX-A-20 - p. 20)

CONCLUSION:

Considering the comments received on the project, it seems that the project is not that far off from being a project the Council could approve. If that is the case, it may be worthwhile to explore with the applicant and the public ways to make the project supportable by at least a majority of the Council. This would hopefully prevent any lawsuits or a referendum or initiative8 and allow a better use of City resources. The major issues with the project are air quality and traffic. These issues are intertwined because traffic related to the project will use East 2nd Street which is adjacent to Robert Semple School. Traffic, of course, is the reason for the air quality issue. A project of this size simply cannot comply with the BAAQMD threshold of significance for air quality impacts. A redesign of the project to make it "self-contained" so little project related traffic would pass by the school would create other impacts on the city such as urban decay of the downtown area. Staff is in the process of implementing measures to mitigate traffic issues such as preparing an anti-idling ordinance and implementing a "no trucks on East Second." In addition, the applicant has agreed to the following measures to mitigate air quality issues related to the school: (l) provide HVAC/air filtration improvements at Semple, (2) install a soundwall along Eastlnd at the Semple, and (3) light the 1-780 pedestrian tunnel so that children have an alternate way to get to school. The applicant has also agreed to provide a clean-fuel shuttle to downtown including at midday, to assist the city with conversion of its fleet to cleaner fuels and to pay the staffing costs for a citizens' advisory panel to monitor the project. While staff believes that the impacts of the project have been mitigated, there may be other legally supportable mitigation measures including those noted under the Executive Summary portion of this report that could address the project impacts. Additional time could help facilitate the development of mitigation measures that are reasonably related to the project's impacts. To continue the item, the concurrence of the developer would be required. A letter from the developer agreeing to a continuance to November 18, 2008 has been received and is attached.

Finally, although staff believes that the project is ready for Council approval, a resolution to deny the project has been prepared based upon comments during the various council meetings.
---------
8 A referendum of the Council's action to approve the project will only apply to the legislative decisions,O i.e. the rezoning and master plan overlay. The subdivision approval is an adjudicatory act and not subject to referendum. An initiative, like a referendum, can only apply to the legislative decisions. Of course, without the rezoning, the subdivision approval cannot be completed because of the zoning inconsistency.


OCT. 7, 2008 NEWS ...

At around 1:20 A.M. early on Wednesday, October 8, the Benicia City Council voted 3 to 2 to defeat City Staff's recommendation to approve Seeno's Benicia Business Park.

No votes: Tom Campbell, Mike Ioakimedes, Mayor Elizabeth Patterson.
Yes votes: Mark Hughes, Alan Schwartzman

Before adjournment, the City Attorney was instructed to draft a formal resolution to deny the project for presentation at the next meeting.

More analysis and discussion to come, I'm sure. Thanks everyone!

Peace,
Roger Straw


City Council Meeting documents - October 7, 2008

  1. Agenda
    (The Agenda contains links to the Staff Report and Public Comments, (see VIII. B., on p. 4), but you may also download them directly from here, below.)


  2. Staff Report, including Staff Recommendation for APPROVAL of the Seeno Project:
    (Note - this is a HUGE pdf file - over 20MB, and includes the Supplemental Traffic Report. I will be breaking it into smaller parts and posting to a separate page soon. - R.S.)

    STAFF RECOMMENDATION: Hold the public hearing to consider traffic issues and approve the project by adopting resolutions:
          
    (1) adopting the EIR Addendum, Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, Statement ofOverriding Considerations (for a significant and unavoidable air quality impact due to ozone precursors), and associated Findings pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); and
          (2) approving the proposed Rezoning, Master Plan Overlay and Vesting Tentative Map, with conditions (as may be modified by the City Council).

  3. Public Comments since June 3, 2008
    (Note - this is also a HUGE pdf file - over 22MB. Unfortunately, it includes Green Gateway Group's original study and addendum, AND our latest submission regarding traffic (also available above), as well as everything else that was submitted to the City by anyone since June 3rd.
    For those with a slow internet connection: the same document, in smaller parts.)

  4. Resolution to DENY the Seeno Project:
  5. This alternative resolution was prepared by the City Attorney and distributed at the last minute at the June 3 Council meeting. Green Gateway Group is hopeful that a similar, updated resolution will be prepared by Ms. McLaughlin and distributed in a timely manner, well in advance of the October 7 Council meeting. As of this writing, Ms. McLaughlin advises that she will only do this if requested to do so by a Council member.

  6. The City's Supplemental Traffic Report - BBP - Supplemental Transportation Assessment.pdf (Sept. 30, 2008)

Resources:

New! Presentations from the
Benicia First! Forum on Air Quality and Children’s Health
Benicia, CA - September 18, 2008

Overview: Air Quality and Health Concerns,
Jenny Bard,
Regional Air Quality Director, American Lung Association of California, Sept. 18, 2008
(3.5MB PDF)

Near-Roadway Exposure to Air Pollution, with Examples from a Study of MSATs at Three Schools Next to U.S. 95 in Las Vegas, NV, Dr. Paul T. Roberts, Michael C. McCarthy, and Steven G. Brown, Sonoma Technology, Inc., Petaluma, CA (0.9MB PDF)

Health Effects and Traffic-Related Air Pollution, Dr. Ira Tager, Division of Epidemiology School of Public Health University of California, Berkeley (0.9MB PDF)

New! Seeno Project Timeline (Jan. 2007 - Jun. 2008, by N. Fox)

City of Benicia website http://www.ci.benicia.ca.us/ (offsite link)

Seeno's Benicia Business Park docs (offsite link)

Benicia City Council agendas, packet materials, minutes (offsite link)
(see below to download Council materials of June 3 and May 20)

Benicia General Plan (offsite link)

download from greengatewaygroup.org:

Benicia General Plan - Summary of Policies 2007-02-26

GPLandUseDiagram-Color_{20AB0A38-7728-4413-AEAD-9C05AF02132F}

GPLandUseDiagram-BW_{20AB0A38-7728-4413-AEAD-9C05AF02132F}

Appendix_{2C1772BF-228B-4371-9B86-214A487209E5}

Ch3,Ch4,Glossary_{78274C76-8FDB-4346-B7D0-956673A4C6BA}

I-Contents,Ch1,Ch2_{3328E313-6933-47AC-B8DF-B6D19564CE7F}

Project Terrain - GoogleEarth

Amimated map showing the spread of Ground-level Ozone on August 28, 2008, the second day of the new Seeno Traffic Study.
(Source: EPA, http://airnow.gov/)

Green Gateway Group appreciates the good work of our friends at Benicia First! Check out the Benicia First! website and the Benicia First! BLOG

- - -

download from greengatewaygroup.org:

AB32

ab_32_bill_20060927_chaptered.pdf 7/24/2008

CARB Climate Change Scoping Plan_executivesummary 7/24/2008

CARB Climate Change Scoping Plan 7/24/2008

CARB Climate Change Scoping Plan - APPENDICES 7/24/2008
(Section C-39 through C-48 of the Appendices (pdf pages 69-78) - Recomendations for Local Govt. Actions in order to meet Regional Targets for AB32.)

Wind Farm

download from greengatewaygroup.org:

Benicia Zoning

ZoningMap-BW_{086036B8-F48B-4021-9657-6B2AC1BEB132}

ZoningMap-Color_{4FA806A3-D4B8-408B-AD78-88DE8F278778}

download from greengatewaygroup.org:

CA Gov's Office for Planning and Research - Resources

General_Plan_Guidelines_2003

The Planner’s Guide to Specific Plans 2001 edition

Growth Within Bounds (big download: 6MB)

June 3 2008 City Council meeting

Staff Report 5-27-2008_{B10F2DBD-80B5-4303-91B4-CDBBA581F736}

Public Comment Since May 20, 2008 Council Meeting Packet_{68EC7F67-5BEC-4DBB-B419-F318D12D4983}

ApprovalRes CEQA_{E01074AC-BBF7-4E93-A75F-12507EA6C336} (big download: 10MB)

ApprovalRes with Conditions of Approval_{86296DDE-F8E0-408B-9E82-C2983EEE8F60} (big download: 4MB)

Resolution to deny - (read by Councilmember Campbell, never moved)

CA Attorney General's Office

CEQA - Addressing Impacts at the Local Level.pdf


Images

project terrain03, GoogleEarth.jpg

project terrain02, GoogleEarth.jpg

project terrain, GoogleEarth.jpg

Lake Herman hills.jpg

(larger, higher res images of the GoogleEarth pic are available)

May 20 2008 City Council meeting

Draft Conditions (big download: 4MB)

Staff Report

Public Comments since May 6 2008 Council Packet (big download: 3MB)

Council members' comments

June24, 2008 BeniciaFirst Forum

CleanStart_Presentation_6_24_2008

apolloalliance_June24forum

Rick Cole_presentation 6/24/08 (big download: 4MB)

Seeno docs from City website

Maps&Plans, March08 (big download: 23MB)

DraftEIR-Addendum-April08

Powerpoint presentation 4-10-08

3D Grading Plan

VestingTentativeMap

Final EIR

01Contents
02Intro
03Summary
04Description
05LandUse
06PopulatnEmploymtHsg
07Geo
08Hydro
09Haz
10Biology
11Traffic
12AirQuality
13Noise
14Visual
15Cultural
16PubServ
17Utilities
18UrbanDecay
19SettingImpMMS
20Alternatives
21CEQA
22ReportPrep

Miscellaneous

CleantechOpportunitiesIssues-BeniciaEDD

Baylands R&D

Solar Array