VACAVILLE — The Vacaville Planning Commission took nearly an hour’s worth of public comments Tuesday on the draft environmental document attached to the city’s General Plan update.
The input came with less than a day remaining for local residents to comment on the document. The 45-day public comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Report ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday, but the General Plan update continues and there will be plenty of time to comment on the General Plan.
Written comments can be submitted to the city’s Community Development Department at City Hall, 650 Merchant St.
Comments on the draft environmental document covered a range of topics, although the biggest theme was concerns over increased traffic in the areas of planned future development.
Prior to opening the public hearing, the commission heard an update from Joanna Jansen, of consulting firm DC&E.
The Environmental Impact Report, as required by state law, explores the potential impact of the land uses outlined in the draft General Plan. Jansen said that according to the environmental document, there will be some significant environmental impacts to areas including the city’s aesthetics, agriculture, air quality, noise and population, and housing.
Some comments addressed the General Plan, with several members of Vacaville Reach Coalition asking for the Rocky Hill trail to be added to the plan to be upgraded and made safer for those who use it.
A representative of the Jepson Ranch Landowners Group expressed his group’s appreciation and satisfaction with the environmental document and the draft General Plan.
However, not all the comments were positive. Some questioned the method of projections when it came to air quality compliance and the fact that the environmental document doesn’t assume full build-out to what development the General Plan allows in the next 20 years, but rather what the city expects will actually be built.
Ellen Fall of the Solano Orderly Growth Committee criticized the methodology used in the report. She also took issue with the potential traffic issues.
“Basically it says traffic is going to be horrible and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Fall said. “Either don’t build or find ways for the traffic to work.”
Former public works employee Tony smith expressed his concern with shrinking maintenance staffs and impending city growth stretching those people even thinner. Resident Ellie Bush was concerned with the phrase, “Significant, unavoidable impact,” which she said appears several times in the report.
“Perhaps we should rethink some of this growth,” she said.
After comments were done, commission Chairman Joe Niccoli thanked the commenters and reminded the audience that the report is just a draft and changes will be made. In addition, every written and verbal comment taken must be answered in writing, according to state law.
City Planner Fred Buderi said the full list of comments will be presented to the commission in early 2014 and the final environmental document should be ready in the spring with the hopes the General Plan will be ready for adoption by summer.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.