4A. LAND USE
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This section outlines land use patterns and regulations in Berkeley and evaluates the potential land use impacts of Draft General Plan adoption and implementation. The setting information in the following section has been concentrated so that it directly pertains to potential land use impacts of the Draft General Plan outlined in Section 2 below, based on the criteria of significance set forth in Section 2b. Figure IV.A-1 shows existing land uses within the City of Berkeley and Figure IV.A-2 shows the proposed land use map for the 2000 Draft General Plan.
a. Existing Land Uses and Land Use Changes. The City of Berkeley is located on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay in Alameda County, about 7 miles east of San Francisco, as shown in Figure III-1 in Chapter III. Berkeley is located in an area referred to as the East Bay (which includes parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties), and is part of the greater nine-county San Francisco Bay Region. As of 2000, the City of Berkeley's population was estimated to be 109,463 people, as compared with the population of Alameda County which was estimated to be 1,433,300 people.
The City of Berkeley is bounded by the cities of Kensington and Albany to the north, open space to the east, the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south, and the San Francisco Bay to the west. The City is connected to other municipalities and regions by a system of intercity arterial streets, two State Highways (SR 13 and SR 123), one Interstate Highway (I-80), and a Southern Pacific rail line which connects Berkeley with points throughout California and the United States.
The most intensive development in the City is located on the low-lying plain between the San Francisco Bay (Bay) and the coastal mountain range to the east, although the City limits extend eastward into the hills. In addition to the developed areas of the City, Berkeley also has abundant open space, including public parks and recreational facilities, public plazas, trails, the UC campus and other school grounds, community gardens, and privately-owned outdoor spaces. The City of Berkeley contains five principal creeks: Derby, Potter, Strawberry, Schoolhouse and Codornices, all of which flow west from the hills to the Bay. As a result of urbanization, most of these creeks are contained within underground drain culverts, although Codornices Creek has a significant portion that has never been culverted, and Strawberry Creek has significant areas that have been unculverted (see Figure IV.J-1 in Section J, Hydrology, of this EIR).
The basic land use pattern in Berkeley was established largely by transportation systems and institutional facilities in the early 1900s. Industrial uses developed adjacent to the railroad and San Pablo Avenue in West Berkeley. Institutional and commercial activities developed at and around the University. Residential growth and associated commercial services and public facilities occupied the remaining land between these early centers of development. By 1950, vacant land was diminishing, and those remaining vacant parcels were scattered and limited in their potential use by small sizes, location, topography and adjacent development.
The overall distribution of land uses in the City of Berkeley has not changed dramatically since the 1977 Master Plan. The current land use mix is 48 percent residential; 24 percent public rights-of-way; 9 percent educational/institutional; 7 percent commercial/mixed uses; 6 percent open space; 4 percent industrial and manufacturing; and less than 2 percent vacant (see Table IV.A-1).
Existing land uses in the City of Berkeley are described in the following sections. Existing land uses, acreages, and percentages are summarized in Table IV.A-1, and a map showing generalized existing land uses in the City is shown in Figure IV.A-1.
Figure IV.A-1 Generalized Existing Land Uses 8 x 11
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(1) Residential. In Berkeley, residential uses occupy the most land, comprising 3,540 acres, which is about 48 percent of total land use in the City. A wide range of housing types exist in Berkeley, including: single-family homes; apartments; dormitories; live-work units; co-operatives; tenancies-in-common; condominiums; senior housing; rental rooms; and homeless shelters. Although housing is scattered throughout the City and often located in close proximity to neighborhood-serving commercial areas, the Berkeley Hills are comprised almost exclusively of single-family detached residential units.
Housing-related changes between 1977 and 2000 include the diminished influence of rent control, the passage of legislation to permit the conversion of tenant-in-common ownership to condominiums and the rapidly escalating cost of housing. Home values have continued to rise, decreasing the availability of housing for low-income residents and students. In the 1990s, median home values for single-family residences have risen from $256,000 in 1990 to $352,000 in 1999.
(2) Streets. Streets in the City of Berkeley total 221 miles, 206 miles of which are improved with asphalt pavement. About 1,761 acres, 24 percent of the City's total acreage, are improved as streets, of which approximately 140 acres are devoted to the I-80 freeway.
(3) Educational/Institutional. Total acreage in the City devoted to educational/institutional use is estimated at 680 acres, 9 percent of the City's total acreage. Institutional land uses within the City include the University of California at Berkeley (the University), Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, the Berkeley Unified School District, the City of Berkeley, and the State Department of Health Services. The University occupies 178 acres on the central campus, 47 acres on Clark Kerr campus and office space on scattered sites throughout the City for an approximate total of 13,499,000 gross square feet. The Berkeley community has expressed concern over University purchase, lease or other acquisition in the City for which the City would forego property tax revenues.
The University has a current enrollment of 30,045 students and a total campus population of 44,590. Land uses at the various University properties include: teaching; research; sports facilities; commercial uses, including bookstores, restaurants, a travel agency, and various types of cultural activities; and affiliated residential uses such as dormitories, housing co-ops, fraternities and sororities, and married-student housing. The University's Long Range Development Plan (1990) anticipates construction of housing and other University-related uses on University-owned properties proximate to the campus. The University also anticipates Aopportunity sites@ for joint development along the Shattuck corridor.
The Underhill Area Master Plan guides the development of University-owned land in the Southside area of the City of Berkeley including and surrounding the Underhill site. This site is bounded by College Avenue to the east, Channing Way to the north, Haste Street to the south, and Bowditch Street to the west. The Master Plan is intended to define design guidelines that assist the University in development that successfully rebuilds and enhances the urban, architectural, and landscape character of the neighborhood.
The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, which is affiliated with the University of California, occupies about 95 acres, and the Berkeley Unified School District occupies 102 acres. The City of Berkeley owns and manages 65 buildings encompassing a total of 916,000 square feet of floor area. In general, institutional uses such as off-campus University facilities, the State Department of Health Services, the Berkeley Unified School District office and various City offices are located in the Downtown and/or south of the University. By contrast, school sites and many sites owned by the City, such as parks, low income housing, social service agencies, and public works facilities are widely distributed throughout the City.
(4) Commercial and Mixed Use. Commercial and mixed uses comprise about 7 percent of the City's total acreage, or 460 acres. Commercial activity is distributed between Downtown, West Berkeley, the neighborhood commercial districts of North Shattuck, Elmwood, Solano, South Berkeley and the commercial strips along San Pablo and University avenues. Commercial decentralization has characterized the period of time since the 1977 Master Plan, as the City transitioned from having one downtown commercial center to numerous smaller commercial districts (in addition to the Downtown commercial core). Commercial decentralization has been accompanied by some land use conflicts, particularly between commercial and residential uses. For example, in the Solano Avenue and West Berkeley districts, gradual changes from neighborhood-serving uses to regional-serving uses and from industrial to retail uses have created spill-over parking problems affecting local residents.
Mixed-use areas experienced significant growth in the 1990s, with more than 400 new units in multi-family and mixed-use residential projects being constructed along commercial corridors. These projects are mostly located Downtown, on Shattuck Avenue and University Avenue.
Downtown Berkeley is the City's largest mixed-use commercial district, serving as the City's primary civic, office and entertainment center. Office space occupies 35 percent of the Downtown's built space; commercial space occupies 26 percent; residential space, including hotels, occupies 12 percent; auto-related uses occupy 17 percent; and institutional space occupies 10 percent. The major open space in the Downtown is the 3-acre Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
In the second half of the 1990s, the Downtown benefitted from general economic prosperity and public investment. During this time, several new residential mixed-use buildings were constructed in the area. The City also invested in public improvements including pedestrian lighting, street trees and sidewalk improvements. In 1996, Berkeley voters passed Measure S, which provided funds for seismic retrofit of City Hall, seismic retrofit and expansion of the Central Library and public street improvements in the Downtown and Civic Center areas. As of 2000, most of these improvements were currently under construction.
(5) Parks and Open Space. Within the City of Berkeley 235 acres of City-owned and/or maintained parks and open space exist, and the waterfront park recently acquired by EBRPD accounts for another 170 acres of open space. City and regional open space combined comprise about 6 percent of the City's total acreage. One of the largest parks is the 99-acre Aquatic Park in West Berkeley adjacent to I-80. The East Bay Municipal Utilities District owns eight water storage and pumping plant sites in Berkeley, which include 21 acres of open space. Two regional open space resources (Tilden Park and the Claremont Canyon Preserve) and University property, including the central campus, Strawberry Canyon and the Ecological Study Area, border the City limits to the east and serve as popular open space resources.
In 1998, the EBRPD purchased the City of Berkeley's waterfront property west of the I-80 freeway to become part of the East Bay Regional Shoreline Park. This 170-acre park is currently in the planning stages. The waterfront property is bounded by the I-80 freeway on the east, the City-owned Marina on the west, Virginia Street to the north, and the Emeryville city limits to the south. The northernmost portion of this area is used for temporary parking by the Golden Gate Fields race track. The Berkeley Marina includes: 998 wet berths; 2,100 parking spaces; one hotel; a yacht club; a boat yard; sailing clubs; a fishing pier; three office buildings; a convenience store; and three restaurants.
(6) Industrial/Manufacturing. Industrial activity is located almost exclusively in West Berkeley and is estimated to occupy approximately 323 acres, 4 percent of the City's total acreage. Beginning in 1977, redevelopment projects spurred development that replaced the once-dominant heavy industrial manufacturing in West Berkeley with a mix of uses, including: light manufacturing (such as printing plants, materials testing labs, and assembly plants); offices; retail uses; live-work; and residential uses. Some residual heavy industrial uses have remained. This change has occurred as part of the national retreat of industry, especially large-scale industries, from central cities in the 1970s and 1980s. Since the adoption of the West Berkeley Plan in 1993, West Berkeley has continued to experience retail growth which is centered around the Fourth Street and Gilman Street commercial areas and a stabilization of the manufacturing base.
(7) Vacant Land. Less than 2 percent of the City's total acreage remains as vacant land. There are very few large vacant parcels of more than one half-acre, with the exception of the waterfront land recently purchased by EBRPD, and a handful of sites located in West Berkeley. Vacant land in Berkeley tends to be on either steep hill area lots or parcels along commercial strips.
b. Land Use Policies. Land use policies established to guide new development in the City of Berkeley are included in the following documents:
- 1977 Master Plan;
- Downtown Plan (1990);
- University Avenue Strategic Plan (1996);
- South Berkeley Area Plan (1990);
- South Shattuck Strategic Plan (1998);
- West Berkeley Plan (1993);
- Waterfront Master Plan Amendment/Specific Plan (1986); and
- University of California's (UC's) Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) (1990).
The Draft General Plan is designed to work in conjunction with these more detailed plans, which were adopted as amendments to the 1977 Master Plan. Because the Draft General Plan would supersede the 1977 Master Plan, the area plans will be reBadopted as amendments to the Draft General Plan. Key objectives and land use policies contained in these area plans are summarized in the following paragraphs.
(1) Downtown Plan. In 1990, the Downtown Plan was adopted to address the economic decline of Berkeley's city center in the 1980s. The Downtown Plan seeks to establish the Downtown as a compact, economically vital, historic city center with a defined core area and transition zones that buffer residential neighborhoods. Examples of proposed implementation measures of the Downtown Plan include an additional parking garage for shoppers, the redesign of Shattuck Square and BART Plaza, the daylighting of Strawberry Creek, the redesign of Civic Center Park, and a street tree planting program. The Draft General Plan proposes to eliminate the Downtown retail density bonus and the Downtown cultural density bonus and allow a density bonus only for affordable housing. Encouraging dense housing in the Downtown is a secondary priority of the Downtown Plan.
(2) University Avenue Strategic Plan. The University Avenue Strategic Plan (UASP) was completed in 1996. The UASP was drafted to provide strategies to encourage change and revitalization of University Avenue, balancing the following: public safety; economic development; social services; land use; urban design; housing; and transportation priorities in order to affect long-term stability within the area. Because the Draft General Plan is consistent with the UASP, no amendments to UASP policies will be required.
(3) South Berkeley Area Plan. The South Berkeley Area Plan (1990) was adopted as a means of revitalizing an area of the community in need of jobs, housing, education/training, and City services. The South Berkeley Area Plan was adopted primarily to address economic development and housing assistance in the South Berkeley area. The South Berkeley Area Plan stresses the retention of existing businesses through technical assistance programs and low interest loans, the attraction of new business through public/private partnerships, and City targeting of desirable businesses. Desirable businesses include those that offer shoppers' goods, a range of convenience goods, and retail businesses that include drug stores, women's clothing stores, and appliance stores. The South Berkeley Area Plan also seeks to preserve housing quality and affordability for low- and moderate-income tenants and homeowners, promote nonprofit ownership of housing, and identify a range of rental and homeowner assistance programs. No amendments are proposed to the South Berkeley Area Plan.
(4) South Shattuck Strategic Plan. The South Shattuck Strategic Plan (SSSP) was adopted in 1998. The SSSP represents a joint effort by area residents and the City to address specific economic, urban design, housing and transportation issues that are relevant to the portion of Shattuck Avenue between Downtown Berkeley and Ashby BART station. Area-specific issues include the reuse of large, vacant parcels, traffic and parking congestion, blighted housing, and commercial-related traffic spillover into adjacent residential areas. The SSSP does not propose any zoning changes, but is designed to serve as a guide for future development and policy in the area. Because the Draft General Plan is consistent with the SSSP, no amendments to SSSP policies will be required.
(5) West Berkeley Plans. The West Berkeley Redevelopment Plan (Redevelopment Plan), originally adopted in 1967, was intended to cover the period of 1967 to 1997, although the Redevelopment Plan has since been renewed. A variety of public improvement, transit, and live/work projects continued through the end of the Redevelopment Plan.
The Concept Plan for West Berkeley (1991) was drafted to address the need to resolve conflicts between residents, live/work residential units, commercial and office development, and manufacturing in light of changes from manufacturing to light industrial, commercial, and services uses. The West Berkeley Plan (1993) has become the overall guiding document for land use and other City policies in West Berkeley, and incorporates and supersedes the Concept Plan for West Berkeley. The West Berkeley Plan's main goals are to guide development in this area and to maintain manufacturing jobs in the City. The West Berkeley Plan includes recommendations regarding: development application processes; zoning; physical form; economic development; transportation; and environmental management. Because the Draft General Plan is consistent with the West Berkeley Plan, no amendments to West Berkeley Plan policies will be required.
(6) Waterfront Master Plan Amendment/Specific Plan. The Waterfront Master Plan Amendment/Specific Plan (1986) was initiated in response to a proposed 4.25 million square foot development by the Santa Fe Corporation at Berkeley's waterfront. As adopted by the voters in 1986, the Waterfront Master Plan preserves the waterfront primarily for recreation, open space and environmental uses, with limited commercial development. In 1998, the EBRPD purchased the 170 acres between the Berkeley waterfront's southern edge and Virginia Street to become part of the East Bay Regional Shoreline Park.
A new Marina Plan is currently under preparation by City of Berkeley staff and consultants. The Marina Plan is an improvement plan for the marina area, which is currently used for recreational, commercial, and open space. The Marina Plan is expected to be completed in spring 2001.
(7) University of California Long Range Development Plan. In 1990, the University of California adopted a Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) designed to serve as a general plan for the University by setting forth a broad statement of the total amount and general nature of development proposed to occur to the planning horizon of 2005-2006. The Berkeley community has expressed concerns over University purchase, lease or other acquisition in the City for which the City would forego property tax revenues, and has sought a cap on University enrollment. The City and the University have entered into agreements to help minimize potential impacts on the community and to compensate the City for fiscal burdens. The LRDP allows for additional development in the City, in particular for housing and joint development Aopportunity sites@ along the Shattuck corridor. The University is currently working on a New Century Plan, which will inform an update of the LRDP.
c. Major Land Use Element Changes. The Land Use Element of the 1977 Master Plan emphasized a retention of the land use patterns that existed at that time, but did not foresee the following: the growth in neighborhood commercial districts; growth of West Berkeley live/work space and 4th Street commercial; growth in demand for office and high-tech industrial space; additional expansion of the University; and rapidly escalating housing prices in the 1990s. The Draft General Plan Land Use Element emphasizes a retention of the land use patterns that currently exist. A detailed description of land use designations and policy changes from the 1977 Master Plan until the present can be found in Chapter III, Project Description and in the impacts discussion below. The Land Use Map, which establishes the general distribution and location of land uses across the City based upon the policies of the Draft General Plan, is shown in Figure IV.A-2. Land use designations on the Land Use Map are outlined in Table III-1 in Chapter III, Project Description, and described in more detail in Section 2, below.
d. Draft General Plan Policies. Of the many policies in the Draft General Plan, policies related to land use are found in seven of the nine General Plan elements, including: Land Use; Transportation; Housing; Disaster Preparedness and Safety; Open Space and Recreation; Environmental Management; Preservation and Design, and Economic Development and Employment. All 45 policies of the Land Use Element are relevant to land use issues. These policies can be easily referenced in one consolidated location in Appendix B of this EIR. Each relevant policy from the other Draft General Plan elements is restated here to assist the reader. In addition to the policies of the Land Use Element shown in Appendix B, additional Draft General Plan policies related to land use include:
- Policy T-16. Improve access by increasing proximity of residents to services, goods, and employment centers.
- Policy T-36. Explore opportunities to move existing long-term parking supply out of the Downtown, University and Southside areas by creating satellite parking lots with express shuttle service to the Downtown and Southside Areas.
- Policy T-40. Encourage consolidation of surface parking lots into structured parking facilities and redevelopment of surface lots with residential or commercial development where allowed by zoning.
- Policy H-1. Increase the number of housing units affordable to low and moderate income Berkeley residents.
B. Allow increases in density in specific areas of the City solely to promote the production of below market rate housing.
- Policy H-18. Maintain sufficient land zoned for high and medium density residential development to allow sufficient new construction to meet Berkeley's fair share of regional housing needs.
- Policy H-31. Urge the University of California to provide housing for at least 25% of its students at affordable prices and expand housing opportunities for students and staff.
- Policy S-16: Residential Density in High Risk Areas. Consider changes to existing residential zoning density standards in high risk, residential areas, such as the Hill Fire Area (See Evacuation Map) to reduce the vulnerability of these areas to future disasters.
- Policy OS-1. Existing open space and parks shall be maintained and preserved for public park and open space use.
- Policy OS-2. Ensure that land adjacent to parks is sensitively developed to minimize shade, circulation, and negative visual impacts on park users.
- Policy OS-3. Within the context of open space resource allocations, give highest priority to maintaining and improving the city's existing network of open space and recreation facilities.
Figure IV.A-2 Land Use Map 82 x 11
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- Policy OS-7. Within the context of open space resource allocations for new or expanded facilities, give high priority to providing additional facilities in areas of the city and for populations that are currently underserved.
A. Convene a community planning process to determine the final use of the remaining 14 blocks of city-owned land on the Santa Fe Right-of-Way. The community planning process shall consider public open space use (i.e., neighborhood parks, community gardens, and/or bicycle and pedestrian paths) as the highest priority use for the remaining vacant land and new affordable housing development as the next highest priority use.
- Policy OS-10: Waterfront Open Space and Recreational Facilities. Implement the 1986 Waterfront Plan policies to establish the waterfront as an area primarily for recreational, open space, and environmental uses, with preservation and enhancement of beaches, marshes, and other natural habitats.
- Policy OS-11. Coordinate with regional open space agencies such as the East Bay Regional Park District, neighboring cities, and private sector and nonprofit institutions to maintain, improve, and expand the region's open space network.
- Policy ED-3.C: Locally-Owned Business. Promote policies, programs and services that enhance existing locally owned business and that encourage new, independent business ventures.
- Policy ED-4. Provide programs and services to assist neighborhood commercial districts.
- Policy EM-50. All new noise-sensitive development proposals should be reviewed with respect to the Land Use Compatibility Guidelines below.
Figure 1 Draft Noise Contour Map presents noise contours throughout the City. Figure 2 Land Use Compatibility Standards presents the ranges of exterior noise exposure which are considered to be appropriate for different land uses.
The Noise Contour Map and the Land Use Compatibility Standards may be used to determine compatibility of certain land uses in certain areas of the City and guide local decision making regarding the types of noise analysis and mitigations that might be necessary before making a final decision on a project or plan to ensure compatibility between land uses and the noise environments.
- Policy PD-21. Use City incentives and zoning provisions to direct new development toward locations where replacement of significant historic structures or structures contributing to the character of the area will not need to be removed.
- Policy PD-23. Regulate new construction and alterations, to ensure that they are individually well designed and that they are so designed and located as to duly respect, and where possible enhance, the existing built environment.
e. General Plan Land Use Designations. The Draft General Plan Land Use Map outlines land use designations that specify allowable uses and intensities of uses in specific areas of the City. As noted in Chapter III, Project Description, the names of most of the land use classifications contained in the Draft General Plan are different than those that appear in the 1977 Master Plan. However, although the classification names have changed, most of the land uses shown on the Land Use Map are generally unchanged.
2. Impacts and Mitigation Measures
a. Criteria of Significance. The Draft General Plan would have a significant effect on land use if it would:
- Physically divide an established community;
- Introduce new land uses that would conflict with established uses; or
- Conflict with applicable environmental plans or policies adopted by agencies with jurisdiction over the project.
b. Impacts and Mitigation Measures. The impact analysis in this section examines potential impacts of the land use policies and Land Use Map designations proposed to implement the land use policies of the Draft General Plan. The Draft General Plan's consistency with regional policies from agencies with jurisdiction over resources or urban systems in Berkeley, such as the Regional Air Quality Program of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Congestion Management Program of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency are addressed in those topical areas of this EIR. Policy LU-19, Alternative Policy LU-19, Policy LU-20, Alternative Policies LU-20A and LU-20B, and LU-23 address the concept of parking-free new development and potentially eliminating parking requirements in the Downtown and Southside areas. Potential impacts associated with these policies are addressed in the Transportation section of this EIR. Some proposed land use policies and designations could conflict with applicable policies previously adopted by the City of Berkeley.
1a Less-than-Significant Land Use Impacts. Implementation of certain of policies from the Draft General Plan (Policy LU-1 through Policy LU-14, Policy LU-16 through LU-18, Policy LU-21 through LU-32, Policy LU-34 through LU-45 ) are not expected to result in adverse physical environmental impacts.
The Draft General Plan proposes a number of changes in land use classifications, which are summarized in Table III-2 in Chapter III, Project Description. The proposed Land Use Map for the Draft General Plan generally reflects existing land uses (shown in Figure IV.A-1) with commercial development located along major arterials, high-density residential clustered mainly around the University and Downtown and manufacturing concentrated in West Berkeley. These land use classification changes would not be expected to disrupt or divide an established community. Additionally, the densities identified in the Draft General Plan Land Use Map maintain the existing zoning densities and land uses.
Policy LU-15 calls for distributing community service centers throughout the City. This integration could create direct environmental impacts, as well as land use conflicts. For example, a senior center in a residential neighborhood could create impacts related to traffic, or a large child care center could create concern among residents related to noise and traffic. Prior to establishment of any facility for residents with special needs in a residential neighborhood or establishment of commercial and community services in a residential neighborhood, site-specific environmental documentation will be required under CEQA to determine the potential extent of such impacts and, where possible, to mitigate potential environmental impacts. Therefore, adoption of this policy would not result in a significant impact.
Policy LU-33 calls for encouraging mixed-use development at the Ashby BART station parking lot, which is adjacent to residential uses on three sides. Depending on the types of uses proposed in the development, this action could create some land use conflicts or could disrupt the local community. Any specific projects proposed in this location would be subject to independent environmental review. Therefore, adoption of this policy would not result in a significant impact.
2a Significant Land Use Impacts. Implementation of some Draft General Plan policies could create one potentially significant impact related to land use. This potentially significant impact is addressed in the following text.
Impact LU-1: Policy T-36 calls for exploring opportunities to move existing long-term parking out of the Downtown, University and Southside areas to newly created satellite parking facilities served by express shuttle service but does not define where satellite parking facilities may be located. (PS)
This policy does not designate any specific neighborhoods where satellite parking lots may be created or discuss potential implications for adjacent uses. Due to the facts that a satellite parking area and shuttle service could only be supported by heavy use, and that the City of Berkeley is generally built out with little available land left to supply the parking needs for the Downtown, University and Southside areas, satellite parking facilities could cause significant adverse impacts for any neighborhood where they were located. The following mitigation measure would reduce this impact to a less-than-significant level.
Mitigation Measure LU-1: Prior to approval of any new satellite parking lots and associated shuttle services within the City limits, the City shall conduct an environmental review of the proposed project to determine whether the project would cause any significant adverse impacts. (LTS)