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Old 06-17-2004, 04:37 PM
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Default Arana Gulch threatened again!

From: Michael Lewis hayduke@rattlebrain.com
Date: 03/11/03
Time: 06:12 PM


This noon, Ron Marquez submitted a revised recommendation to be presented at tonight's Santa Cruz City Council meeting, Item 28, the last item on tonight's agenda. The new recommendation advises the CC to identify the preferred alternative for the Broadway to Brommer Bicycle Path EIR, rather than certifying the EIR tonight. The memo further asks the CC to hold a hearing to certify the EIR on March 25, or other date. Marquez recommends a "modified mitigated D2" as the preferred alternative with no specifications as to the modification and mitigation. He suggests that the CC adopt this alternative, or "the Frederick Street park" option or the no project alternative. The memo also asks that the CC directs the Parks and Recreation Department, Planning Department, Redevelopment Department and Public Works Department to develop a plan to amend the General Plan, and go about the process of obtaining necessary permits for the D2 Alternative. There is no "Frederick Street park" alternative in the EIR, so that suggestion is bogus. We can only assume that the "modified mitigated D2" is Marquez's "interpretive pathway," with "soil stabilization," a divided path (2 4-8 foot pathways rather than one) and no "initial" lighting. Unless the modified mitigated D2 alternative is specified and we can see a coherent plan, there is no way to determine whether or not it represents a significant difference from the D2 as studied in the EIR that has yet to be certified. If Marquez presents this "modified mitigated alternative" at tonight's CC meeting, it cannot be acted on without a public hearing! This "plan" has never received any public scrutiny and it must not be allowed to be jammed through the process without public input! City Council, Parks and Rec, EPA and the Coastal Commission have all expressed grave concerns with the D1 and D2 alternatives, due to threats to the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat for the Santa Cruz tar plant, as well as proposed encroachments on the Arana Gulch riparian habitat. The D2 option is no longer valid, since the Harbor has built its dry storage facility encroaching on the 100 foot setback into the riparian zone, eliminating any possibility for the D2 route between the Harbor and the riparian zone. Therefore, Alternative D2 has been eliminated by default. Any new alternative for building a bike road across Arana Gulch has not been examined in the EIR. The only Alternative remaining is No Project. If the CC adopts any other plan for Arana Gulch, the EIR will be appealed and challenged in court, supported by a variety of local, state and federal agencies. Furthermore, the City of Santa Cruz General Plan specifically prohibits consideration of any project in the absence of the Arana Gulch Master Plan, under the Local Coastal Plan, a project mandated by the Coastal Commission and at least two years overdue. The City cannot go about obtaining permits for a project in the absence of a Master Plan, without violating its own and Coastal Commission regulations.
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