Dear members of the Davis City Council,
I would like to object to the way the City is doing business in relation to the DISC EIR.
On the consent calendar of tonight’s agenda is a staff report detailing the actions taken by the City Manager while the council was in recess. Buried on the last page is a single line item disclosing that the City Manager approved almost $100,000 for an addendum to the EIR for the DISC project.
Previously, approval of this type of contract was done by council and the staff report revealed important information to the public about the EIR process. Several of us objected at that time that it was not enough information, and this time around we have even less information. The City should not advance the EIR of a major project like this - in secretive ways.
Further an addendum is not appropriate because there are significant new factors that have not been considered by the previous EIR.
- There are changed circumstances due to COVID and how office space is used. This must be analyzed in the new EIR.
- The new project has a much Higher proportion of the project dedicated to freeway adjacent retail. This is likely to have larger impacts on the downtown and must be studied.
- The previous biological surveys are now outdated and need to be redone.
- Further revelations about the severity of climate change and how that will affect the project both in terms of adaptation and mitigation should also be considered in an update to the EIR.
Therefore, I also call on the Council to set a public scoping meeting for the new EIR immediately.
Please ask that this item be pulled from the consent calendar and instruct the City Manager to immediately make the contract with Raney and outline of work be made public.
Thank you for your Consideration,
Roberta Millstein, Consent calendar, item 4 D
Buried in this item is a line of a spreadsheet showing that the City manager approved payment to Raney Planning & Management to prepare a CEQA addendum for the new DISC 2022.
Two years ago, this approval was its own consent item, with documentation supporting the recommendation, and it had to be pulled from consent at the request of citizens. Two years ago, staff originally thought an addendum to the previous EIR would be sufficient. Then they said a supplement would be required – a higher level of analysis. Some of us objected this still wasn’t enough. Then they ended up needed to do hundreds of pages of a more detailed Subsequent EIR.
It seems like the same mistakes keeping being repeated – at the last meeting, I and others highlighted the rushed process for DISC 2022 with not enough commission input, and now again with both old and new DISC we have a truncated EIR process without enough justification and transparency for the proposal to do just an addendum.
We still haven’t been given much information about this project, yet we are being told again that an addendum to the EIR will be enough. The pandemic makes everything uncertain, particularly traffic and office occupancy. They will need to figure out a way to project for that. Downtown businesses are even more financially precarious and so the impact to them needs to be reconsidered. And of course the biological surveys need to be redone, particularly for sensitive species such as the burrowing owl and various bat species. Finally, the impacts of drought, fire, and smoke in our area due to climate change have become evident; these must be re-evaluated as well, especially in light of the loss of potentially mitigating agricultural land and increased traffic.
I request that this item be pulled from the consent and that the City manager be instructed to immediately make public the contract with Raney and outline of work to be performed.
I further request a public scoping period, including a public scoping meeting, on the updated EIR.