Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development

Chapter II

 

SUMMARY

 

P    P    P

 

 

A. Project Under Review

 

This Draft EIR has been prepared to evaluate the environmental impacts of the Draft General Plan. A more detailed description of the proposed project is provided in Chapter III, Project Description.

 

 

B. Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures

 

This summary provides an overview of the analysis contained in Chapter IV, Setting, Impacts and Mitigation Measures. CEQA requires a summary to include discussion of: 1) potential areas of controversy; 2) significant impacts; 3) significant unavoidable impacts; and 4) alternatives to the project:

 

1. Potential Areas of Controversy

 

The potential areas of controversy surrounding the Draft General Plan project that have been identified include: land use; population, employment and housing; community services; transportation; infrastructure; urban design and visual quality; cultural resources; air quality and noise.

 

2. Significant Impacts

 

Under CEQA, a significant impact on the environment is defined as, A...a substantial, or potentially substantial, adverse change in any of the physical conditions within the area affected by the project including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, ambient noise, and objects of historic or aesthetic significance.@

 

Implementation of the Draft General Plan has the potential to generate environmental impacts in several areas. Impacts in the following areas would be significant without the implementation of mitigation measures, but would be reduced to a less-than-significant level if the mitigation measures noted in this report are implemented:

 

  • Land Use;
  • Population, Employment and Housing;
  • Community Services;
  • Transportation;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Urban Design and Visual Quality;
  • Hydrology and Water Quality;
  • Natural Resources; and
  • Hazardous Materials.

 

3. Significant Unavoidable Impacts

 

As discussed in Chapter IV of this EIR, significant unavoidable impacts are anticipated with full buildout of the Draft General Plan in the following topical areas:

 

a. Transportation. Relative to existing conditions, the Draft General Plan would produce significant impacts on ten Berkeley street segments in the year 2005, and would produce significant impacts on 26 Berkeley street segments in the year 2020. Mitigation measures have been identified to reduce the future impacts to Berkeley street segments; however, because congestion levels on these roadway segments are in many cases either already near capacity or are projected to be near capacity under the 1977 Master Plan (the No Project Alternative), the effects of these mitigation measures would not necessarily completely eliminate the impacts. This impact would be considered significant and unavoidable.

 

b. Air Quality. The population and employment projections embodied in the Draft General Plan are not consistent with the latest Association of Bay Area Government (ABAG) projections, which were the source of information on households and employment used in the >97 Bay Area Clean Air Plan. The project is therefore inconsistent with the population and employment assumptions included in the current regional Clean Air Plan (CAP). Because the project does not meet all criteria for consistency with the regional air quality plan, regional air quality impacts of the project would be considered to be significant, even though the Draft General Plan is supportive of regional air quality improvement methods, and even though the type of development envisioned by the plan (in-fill development near local and regional transit nodes) would be beneficial in regional terms. However, this impact would be short-term in nature, since future ABAG Projections would be revised to incorporate the higher population and employment figures projected in the Draft General Plan. Therefore, this impact would be considered a significant unavoidable short-term impact.

 

4. Alternatives to the Project

 

The three alternatives to the project that are analyzed in this Draft EIR are:

 

  • The CEQA-required No Project Alternative, which compares conditions under the Draft General Plan with the continuation of existing policies of the 1977 Master Plan.
  • The No Growth Alternative, which assumes that the City is completely built out and there would be no net increase in residential units, employment or commercial uses.
  • The Increased Development Alternative, which assumes that the allowable floor area ratios (FARs) and building heights would be increased in the Downtown and along the major transit corridors to allow significantly more housing development.

 

 

C. Summary Table

 

Information in Table II-1, Summary of Impacts and Mitigation Measures, has been organized to correspond with environmental issues discussed in Chapter IV. The table is arranged in four columns: 1) impacts; 2) level of significance prior to mitigation measures; 3) mitigation measures; and 4) level of significance after mitigation. Levels of significance are categorized as follows: SU ' Significant and Unavoidable; S ' Significant; PS ' Potentially Significant; and LTS ' Less Than Significant. A series of mitigation measures is noted where more than one mitigation measure is required to achieve a less-than-significant impact, and alternative mitigation measures are identified when available. For a complete description of potential impacts and recommended mitigation measures, please refer to the specific discussions in Chapter IV.

 

Table II-1

BERKELEY DRAFT GENERAL PLAN EIR

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES

Environmental Impacts

Level of Significance

Without Mitigation

Mitigation Measures

Level of Significance

With Mitigation

A. LAND USE

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

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

B. POPULATION, EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING

POP-1: Policies H-15, H-16, H-31, LU-18, LU-30 are designed to meet ABAG's required fair share projections, and may also result in an increase in density in some areas of the City.

LTS

POP-1: No mitigation required.

LTS

C. COMMUNITY SERVICES

SVC-1: Policies encouraging increased commercial development and residential population in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts and along transit corridors (Policy H-15) could result in increased demand for library services, especially at Branch libraries.

LTS

SVC-1: None required.

LTS

SVC-2: Policies encouraging increased commercial development and residential population in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts and along transit corridors (Policy H-15) could result in increased solid waste generation.

LTS

SVC-2: None required.

LTS

SVC-3: The construction of an additional hill area fire station (Policy S-21) may result in indirect or direct environmental impacts.

PS

SVC-3: Prior to approval of any new fire stations, the City shall conduct an environmental review of the proposed project to determine whether the proposed project would cause any significant adverse environmental impacts

LTS

SVC-4: Policies encouraging increased residential development in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts and along transit corridors (Policy H-15), and additional University housing (Policy H-31) could result in increased demand for police services.

PS

SVC-4: The City shall annually review police staffing development trends and crime trends to determine whether additional police staffing is needed.

LTS

SVC-5: Policies encouraging increased residential development in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts and along transit corridors (Policy H-15) could result in increased demand for school facilities and educational services in some areas of the City.

PS

SVC-5: The City and the BUSD will continue to work in concert to evaluate the impacts of new development on BUSD facilities.

LTS

SVC-6: Policies encouraging increased commercial development and residential population in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts and along transit corridors (Policy H-15), and additional University housing (Policy H-31) could result in an increased demand for fire services.

PS

SVC-6a: The BFD shall continue to review new development for potential increases in fire safety hazards to ensure that new development does not adversely impact fire services.

LTS

SVC-6b: The City shall annually review BFD staffing levels and development trends to determine whether additional staffing or impact fees are warranted to support fire services.

D. TRANSPORTATION

TRN-1: The Draft General Plan's policies calling for Atransit first@ (T-4), promoting light rail or surface rapid transit on City streets (T-5), promoting a multi-modal transportation impact evaluation methodology wherein traffic impacts can be deemed mitigated through improvements to other modes (T-19) and promoting traffic calming on neighborhood streets (T-21), may result in significant traffic congestion impacts.

PS

TRN-1a: Revise Policies T-4 and T-5 to clarify that transit corridors would not be modified to reduce traffic capacity unless it can be demonstrated that either: (1) the modification would not cause an over-capacity condition; (2) sufficient capacity exists on acceptable parallel routes to absorb the over-capacity volume on the affected street; or (3) it is determined that the benefits of the project outweigh potential impacts on LOS.

LTS

 

 

 

 

TRN-1b: Revise Policy T-19 to ensure that such CEQA findings are supported by analysis which demonstrates that the transportation level of service in a given project's study area does not significantly deteriorate. This mitigation, in effect, requires the development and definition of a Atransportation level of service@ which measures the level of service on all modes of travel in an aggregate, equitable way.

 

 

TRN-1 continued

 

 

TRN-1c: Add an action to Policy T-21 which requires the City to set traffic volume guidelines for all streets, to ensure that traffic calming strategies do not result in a significant deterioration of service on adjacent streets.

 

 

TRN-2: The Draft General Plan growth, along with transportation policies relating to transit service accessibility and use (Policies T-1 through T-9, and T-19), and the land use policies supporting transit (Policies LU-17 through LU-21, LU26, LU-31 through LU-33, and LU-39) could increase transit demand above the capacity currently being planned by transit agencies.

PS

TRN-2a: The City will work with AC Transit staff to monitor ridership levels and develop mutually beneficial route and service changes when necessary to maintain adequate service levels.

LTS

 

 

TRN-2b: The City will pursue adoption of a transportation Impact Fee (Policy T-6) after Draft General Plan adoption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRN-2c: The City will work with AC Transit to pursue an eco-pass program (Policy T-3) that will support additional ridership and be financially feasible for both the City and AC Transit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRN-2d: The City will work with BART to monitor BART ridership at the three Berkeley BART stations and advocate for additional County, State and Federal funding to support increased service.

 

 

TRN-3: Implementation of Draft General Plan policies relating to parking provision, parking demand management, and parking impact evaluation may result in parking demand exceeding the available supply in one or more areas of the City and could impact transit services and surrounding residential neighborhoods.

PS

TRN-3: Prior to approval of any new development or zoning amendment that would allow car-free development, the City shall analyze the proposed project or zoning amendment to evaluate whether it would have an adverse impact on transit services or parking.

LTS

TRN-4: Year 2005: Relative to existing conditions, the Draft General Plan would produce significant impacts on five Berkeley streets (10 street segments) in the year 2005, including sections of Gilman Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Ashby Avenue, and Dwight Way (refer to Table IV.D-9). When measured relative to the 2005 Without Plan case, only two street segments would be significantly impacted (refer to Table IV.D-10).

PS

TRN-4a: The City shall monitor potentially affected roadways and when, or if, those roadways reach LOS E or worse, the City shall prepare an action plan to improve the LOS through trip reduction, signal modifications, and other means consistent with the objectives and policies of the Berkeley Draft General Plan.

SU

TRN-4 continued

 

Year 2020: Relative to existing conditions, the Draft General Plan would produce significant impacts on 11 Berkeley streets (26 street segments) in the year 2020, including sections of Adeline Street, Alcatraz Avenue, Ashby Avenue, Bancroft Way, Cedar Street, Dwight Way, Gilman Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, and Oxford Street (refer to Table IV.D-11). When measured relative to the 2020 Without Plan case, 11 of the street segments would be significantly impacted (refer to Table IV.D-12.)

 

 

TRN-4b: The City of Berkeley shall prepare a Deficiency Plan for CMP routes when, or if, the deficient conditions predicted in the traffic analysis occur. The Deficiency Plan will conform to the CMA's requirements at the time of Plan preparation. In keeping with the Draft General Plan's emphasis on providing a balanced transportation system and reducing auto congestion through trip reduction, the Deficiency Plan will incorporate transit, bicycle, and pedestrian considerations in addition to strategic capacity-enhancing improvements.

 

 

E. INFRASTRUCTURE

INF-1: Establishing pre-event planning for post-disaster recovery (Policy S-9) could result in direct or indirect environmental impacts.

LTS

INF-1: None required.

LTS

INF-2: Improving the City-wide sewer system (Policy EM-24) could result in indirect or direct environmental impacts.

LTS

INF-2: None required.

LTS

INF-3: Policies encouraging increased commercial development and residential population in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts, and along transit corridors (Policy H-15), would require the treatment, storage, and disposal of additional wastewater.

LTS

INF-3: None required.

LTS

INF-4: Policies encouraging increased commercial development and residential population in areas in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed use districts, and along transit corridors (Policy H-15), and additional University housing (Policy H-31) could significantly degrade the City's streets.

LTS

INF-4: None required.

LTS

INF-5: Policies encouraging increased commercial development and residential population in the Downtown (Policy LU-18), as well as higher-density housing and commercial development in commercial and mixed-use districts, and along transit corridors (Policy H-15), and additional University housing (Policy H-31) could create demand for water beyond the planned EBMUD water supply.

PS

INF-5: According to the provisions of SB 2095, the City shall adopt a recycled water ordinance upon notification by EBMUD of the availability of recycled water to serve new development in the City.

LTS

F. URBAN DESIGN AND VISUAL QUALITY

VIS-1: Policy OS-3H calls for the addition of lights where appropriate to existing sports fields, which could create significant glare in residential neighborhoods.

PS

VIS-1: Any potential sports field lighting project shall be subject to site-specific project environmental review, with a particular emphasis on potential intrusive light and glare impacts.

LTS

G. CULTURAL RESOURCES

CUL-1: The Draft General Plan does not contain adequate policies to minimize potential impacts to buried cultural resources in areas currently known to contain sensitive cultural resources.

PS

CUL-1: The City shall establish standard conditions of approval and criteria for determining which discretionary projects are likely to contain significant archaeological materials to warrant further site-specific investigation, or archaeological assessment, intensive surface surveys, and/or subsurface testing as part of the project development process.

LTS

CUL-2: The Draft General Plan proposes increased residential development in the Downtown, in association with the University, and along transit corridors which could have the potential to encourage demolition of historic resources located in these neighborhoods.

LTS

CUL-2: None required.

LTS

H. OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION

No significant impacts.

I. GEOLOGIC AND SEISMIC HAZARDS

GEO-1: Construction of new medium- and high-density housing (Policies H-15 and H-18) and additional student housing at UC Berkeley (Policy H-31) would result in an increase in the number of people potentially exposed to severe seismic ground shaking hazards.

PS

GEO-1: The City shall prioritize and make implementation of the programs identified in Policies LU-7, H-14, PD-9, PD-16 and S-1 through S-20 part of the Action Agenda to respond to the need to protect residents and development from seismic hazards.

LTS

J. HYDROLOGY AND WATER QUALITY

HYD-1: Construction of new medium- and high-density housing (Policies H-15 and H-18) and additional student housing at UC Berkeley (Policy H-31), could result in localized flooding problems by increasing impervious surfaces.

LTS

HYD-1: None required.

LTS

HYD-2: Removing culverts and underground pipes that convey storm water to restore creeks to natural conditions, as described in Policy EM-27, may result in increased flooding and erosion hazards.

PS

HYD-2: The Department of Public Works staff or qualified consultant retained by the City shall review and approve the hydraulic design and proposed maintenance program of creek restoration projects that include significant alterations to the storm water conveyance system prior to final City approval.

LTS

K. NATURAL RESOURCES

NAT-1: Implementation of Policy T-9 calls for the establishment of a ferry terminal in Berkeley, which could result in direct environmental impacts.

S

NAT-1: Prior to initiation of ferry service, any new ferry terminal facility project shall undergo complete environmental review. The effects of the boats' wake, increased noise and potential water pollution on sensitive natural resources and habitats at the Berkeley waterfront and consistency with BCDC's Bay Plan shall be given special focus in the environmental review.

LTS

NAT-2: Implementation of Policy OS-8 calls for the development and maintenance of a citywide pedestrian and bicycle network, which could potentially lead to degradation of sensitive riparian habitat.

S

NAT-2: Prior to the development of bicycle or walking paths along creeks, any new bicycle or walking paths shall undergo complete environmental review. The presence of biologically sensitive species or erosion-prone soils in riparian zones shall be evaluated in the environmental review.

LTS

NAT-3: Implementation of Policy EM-35 encourages efforts to restore historic coastal grasslands in the hills, which could result in impacts to local habitat.

S

NAT-3: Before conversion of any natural area into historic coastal grasslands is initiated by the City, City staff shall consult with natural resource regulatory agencies (e.g., United States Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game) to ensure that such conversion would not result in any take of any special status species, and to ensure that critical wildlife breeding or foraging habitat would not be lost.

LTS

L. AIR QUALITY

AIR-1: The Draft General Plan is not consistent with BAAQMD significance criteria with respect to odors and toxic air contaminants.

LTS

AIR-1: Adopt the West Berkeley Plan as an amendment to the Draft General Plan and ensure that any new development in the City would be protected from odors or toxic air pollutants through environmental review.

LTS

AIR-2: Traffic changes would modify levels of carbon monoxide along streets and intersections in Berkeley.

LTS

AIR-2: None required.

LTS

AIR-3: The Draft General Plan would allow employment and population growth that would generate additional air emissions, and that would not be consistent with the population and vehicle miles traveled assumptions in the regional Clean Air Plan.

S

AIR-3: No mitigation would mitigate this impact related to the Draft General Plan's inconsistency with the CAP. This impact would constitute a significant and unavoidable short-term impact.

SU

M. NOISE

NOI-1: New development, particularly residential uses on and adjacent to major transit corridors and in the Southside and Downtown areas, could be exposed to excessive noise levels.

LTS

NOI-1: To further ensure that all new noise sensitive proposals are carefully reviewed with respect to potential noise impacts, the City should review new development using the following guidelines in combination with the Land Use Compatibility Standards:

LTS

 

 

 

 

$ All new residential developments should conform to a noise exposure standard of 60 Ldn (day/night average noise level) for outdoor noise in noise-sensitive outdoor activity areas (such as tot lots) and 45 Ldn for indoor noise. New residential development which does not and cannot be made to conform to this standard should not be permitted. 

 

 

NOI-1 continued

 

 

$ Acoustical studies, describing how the exterior and interior noise standards will be met, should be required for all new residential developments with an outdoor noise exposure greater than 60 Ldn. The studies should satisfy the requirements set forth in Title 24, part 2 of the California Administrative Code, Noise Insulation Standards, for multiple-family attached, hotels, motels, etc., regulated by Title 24. The noise exposure diagram (Figure IV.M-2) should be used as the basis to initially identify areas with excessive noise exposure. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$ Acoustical studies should be required for all new noise-sensitive projects which may be affected by existing noise from stationary sources. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$ To permit new development of residential and noise-sensitive land uses where existing stationary noise sources exceed the Noise Ordinance limits, effective mitigation measures shall be implemented to reduce noise exposure to or below the allowable levels of the Noise Ordinance. 

 

 

NOI-2: Policy EM-46 appears to exempt transportation-related noise from being controlled by enforcement of the Noise Ordinance which could result in impacts to adjacent residential neighborhoods.

LTS

NOI-2: Revise Policy EM-46A to read AContinue to enforce the noise ordinance to control non-transportation noise impacts.@

LTS

NOI-3: Policy EM-49 exempts institutional and recreational uses that might generate significant noise from operational limitations and feasible noise buffering which could result in impacts on adjacent residential uses.

LTS

NOI-3: Revise Policy EM-49 to read, ARequire operational limitations and all feasible noise buffering for new commercial, industrial, institutional or recreational uses that generate significant noise impacts near residential , institutional, or recreational uses.

LTS

NOI-4: New development associated with implementation of the Draft General Plan could expose existing residences to noise from non-traffic noise sources, but this noise exposure would not be excessive, and would not be considered significant.

LTS

NOI-4: None required.

LTS

NOI-5: Full implementation of the Draft General Plan would increase traffic noise levels along some roadway segments, potentially exposing residences along those roadway segments to excessive noise levels.

LTS

NOI-5: None required.

LTS

N. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

HAZ-1: The effectiveness of certain policies addressing hazardous materials incidents (Policy T-24, EM-12, EM-14 and EM-16) would be enhanced and their implementation ensured if they were also incorporated into the City's Hazardous Materials Area Plan (HMAP).

LTS

HAZ-1: These policies shall be incorporated directly into the HMAP.

LTS


 

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