Home > Uncategorized > Fallacies, omissions in the Marina Center DEIR

Fallacies, omissions in the Marina Center DEIR

balloon-trackA forum to explore the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Home Depot-anchored “Marina Center” project on Eureka’s Balloon Track drew a crowd to the Wharfinger Monday night.

A panel of seven speakers focused on different aspects of the DEIR and reminded attendees that the public comment period ends Saturday, January 31st.

Former Humboldt County counsel Ralph Faust spoke as a consultant to the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC).  Faust questioned why project proponents call the project “smart growth” when it lacks the live/work “integrated whole” aspects that characterize such development.  Faust noted emphasis on commercial space with only a smattering of residential opportunities.

“Its proposed uses are simply thrown together and are not complementary to one another,” Faust said.

Patty Clary from Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATS) said the DEIR failed to address several air quality issues, despite the “significant and unavoidable” impacts found in that section of the Report.  Among other things, the DEIR omits analysis of impacts to residents of the project, impacts associated with excavation and removal of contaminated soil, and analysis in light of Humboldt County’s high rate of cancer compared to state levels.

Wiyot Tribe Cultural Director Hélène Rouvier said there are two possible village sites in the footprint of the proposed project.  The sites should be clearly identified through subsurface testing before constructions begins, she said.

Other speakers included local attorney Bill Verick, Humboldt Baykeeper attorney Michelle Smith, Kevin Wright of GreenWheels, and Phil Haysmer of Many Hands Gallery in Old Town Eureka.

For more info on the topics covered at the forum download the handout.

  1. January 27, 2009 at 6:47 am

    So, in other words, it was an anti- Marina Center forum. I expected as much.

  2. humboldturtle
    January 27, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Will the Arch-developer have his way, or will the princess in the tower save the day? Stay tuned for the next installment of As the Seaport Churns.

    See every exciting episode of the battle between Corporate Captalism and Community Currency! Watch as extremists divide the community…and the spoils.

    Oh, Hi Fred.

  3. Auntie Mayme
    January 27, 2009 at 7:09 am

    I am glad to hear that there was a representative from the Wiyot Tribe addressing the remains of the two villages.

    Were there folks writing comments on the EIR?

  4. January 27, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Yes, Auntie Mayme, that was the purpose of the forum.

    Comments can be sent to:

    Sidnie L. Olson, Principal Planner
    Community Development Department
    531 K Street
    Eureka, 95501

    Or email comments to DEIRComments@ci.eureka.ca.gov

  5. gulo gordo
    January 27, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Friday is the 30th. I believe comments are due Saturday the 31st.

    and I think Ralph Faust was formerly counsel to the Coastal Commission, not the county.

  6. January 27, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Thanks for the date correction. As for Faust, he was indeed County Counsel.

  7. Greg
    January 27, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Here is an example:

    Dear Sidney,

    Please expand the traffic study for the proposed development on Eureka’s “Balloon Track” to include neighborhood laterals. Personally, I use Herrick to F to downtown, Harrison Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, and Arcata anytime I can avoid travel on Broadway. Many local drivers use 14th Street to West Avenue. Every one of these “shortcuts” to Highway 101 will gain use if this project is approved as submitted. Hopefully, the impact on the traffic through Eureka’s neighborhoods—and the resulting impact on the neighbors—will be thoroughly considered in your studies of this project.

    Earlier in the process I wrote with my concerns about tsunami and liquefaction hazards specific to this parcel of land. These issues are potentially life-and-death. Traffic may also become life-and-death at times but affects everyone on a daily basis. It may simply be that this piece of property is poorly located for this project.

    Truly yours,

  8. Greg
    January 27, 2009 at 8:56 am

    But do spell Ms. Olson’s first name “S-i-d-n-i-e”. (Sorry, Sidnie).

  9. Anonymous
    January 27, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Kevin Wright did a great job summarizing the problems with the transportation impacts section–one that stood out in my mind is the fact that “impacts” are considered slowing traffic, so the increase in traffic in nearby neighborhoods and increase in speed that may result in even more vehicle-pedestrian accidents are not addressed.

    What is odd is the fact that coastal-dependent uses that would actually be appropriate there, and that would reduce the transportation and air quality impacts, were not even considered as an alternative. With no real explanation of why.

  10. January 27, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Who is going to clean up the dioxin and pollution that exists on the track?

    Heraldo, why dont you start raising some funds to clean up the pollution, or to hire an attorney to force the former or current land holder to clean up the zone?

    You have so much Epic potential to do good.

  11. Anonymous
    January 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

    You didn’t go to the forum, did you, Copernicus?

  12. Voter
    January 27, 2009 at 10:14 am

    It was good to see some elected officials at the forum, which was very informative. Too bad the Times Standard didn’t bother to show up. I guess they already did their Marina Center fluff pieces…so why get info from a bunch of intelligent people who’ve thoroughly examined the DEIR?

  13. January 27, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Too bad the Times Standard didn’t bother to show up.

    Are you really that surprised?

  14. Mr. Nice
    January 27, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Development of this land should be stalled indefinitely. Stalling is the what city government does, after all.

    If a store goes in there, that will suck. Just put up some more barbed wire fence and pretend as if the land is not there.

  15. January 27, 2009 at 10:58 am

    So the forum featured arguments for the Marina Center to show both sides of the issue, right? Right?

  16. Anonymous
    January 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

    One side of the issue has already been presented. It’s the application for development.

  17. anonymous
    January 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Sending reporters to cover the state of the local breweries in the current economic climate is far more pressing than the Marina Center issue. Perhaps the T-S did attend and will write an article whenever they feel like now that they don’t have any competition.

    But then again, Brian Morrissey was said to have told someone at the ER that he tended to break news to the T-S because they did a better job at reporting the news.

  18. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    January 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    A cardinal no-no is intermixing residential with commercial and industrial uses because it creates public and private nuisances. This concept is basic planning 101 as established within California Real-estate laws.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  19. Da Man
    January 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Boy I sure hope Rob Arkley is paying attention to all of this great advice.

  20. Listened last night
    January 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    It might have appeared the presentations were biased, but then as many of the speakers pointed out so is the EIR as submitted, crafted to only tell one side of the story. The information presented was quite enlightening and showed quite clearly the EIR bias (alternatives particularly), and how incredibly deficient the Air Quality, Urban Decay, and Transportation sections are to this point.

    Amazing how they worked so long to produce so inferior a document, but then it appears they are trying to turn a sows ear into a silk purse. It seems quite apparent this project is too big for this site, with too many parking places. It seems to me the only mitigation for Air Quality, Urban Decay, and Transportation is to downsize the large retail so the number of vehicles and impact on nearby local businesses can be reduced to a reasonable level.

  21. January 27, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    No one should expect the hosts of this forum, three watchdog organizations, to try to include the developer’s perspective. That is not their purpose; they are fulfilling their role as normal under CEQA, which is to scrutinize EIRs and poke holes wherever there is a weakness in the documents. A forum hosted by the Lead Agency for the project — in this case, the City — could be expected to present all sides’ perspective, but then again not necessarily. That’s how the CEQA process works: proponents and watchdogs have to look out for their own interests or mandates.

    I too attended the meeting and posted my notes this morning.

  22. January 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Got another Marina Center mailer today.

    Restores Wetlands
    Revitalizes Clark Slough
    Enhances Water Quality
    1,092 New Eureka Jobs
    Tax Revenue for City and Schools
    Affordable Housing
    New Recreational Pathways
    Safer Streets

    Oh… and SLightly Higher Travel Time.

  23. 06em
    January 27, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    So the DEIR features arguments against the Marina Center to show both sides of the issue, right? Right?

    Just wanted to fairly balance Chris Crawford’s earlier comment.

  24. Dave
    January 27, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Rob Arkley was the guest on KINS Talk Shop yesterday and explained to their listeners that Baykeeper is an “extortion group” and “jobs killer”. Also said he wanted to ask what Larry Glass pays his employees and dismissed The Works as meaning nothing to the community, which I guess by extension would apply to all small businesses in his view. After dissing Linda Adkins too, guess he’s pretty confident he’s got the other 3 votes.

  25. Mr. Nice
    January 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    A cardinal no-no is intermixing residential with commercial and industrial uses because it creates public and private nuisances. This concept is basic planning 101 as established within California Real-estate laws.

    Not to trivialize the knowledge behind the rationale for not mixing commercial zones with residential, but someone should just fire up their Macintosh languishing in their garage in oredr to run SimCity for Balloon Track analysis. The results of building a railroad, letting the railroad go and zoning the adjacent land as residential, and then after the virtual houses are all built up dropping the dark blue heavy commercial square would be interesting.

    Except for runs in which Godzilla saves the day by smashing this area, I’d wager that the residents become unhappy.

  26. Anonymous
    January 27, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Rob Arkley has some serious cards up his sleeve this year. Balloon Tract, Bayshore Mall, …

  27. The Monitor
    January 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Remember, you must submit questions about particular concerns you might have on the EIR. (by Jan 31) to Sidnie Olson. It has to be in the form of a question! Attach supporting evidence, if you have it, pretaining to your question. By law your question must be considered in the process.

    Mr. Arkley on KINS, just told us how he feels, exactly, about local business. He agin it. He is particularly agin Larry Glass.

  28. An observer
    January 27, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Does Rob have three city councilpersons in his pocket?

    Maybe, maybe not.

    For sure he has Mike (Doofus) Jones and Jeff (Blabbermouth) Leonard neatly tucked away, but Frank Jager is still a wild card.

    True, Arkley had a Jager campaign sign in his yard, but Frank did not have an Arkley sign in his.

    Maybe Frank will surprise us all and show some courage and vote for what is best for Eureka. Only time will tell.

  29. January 27, 2009 at 9:18 pm
  30. Voter
    January 28, 2009 at 12:11 am

    it’s pretty ironic how many lefty enviro elected officials Rob Arkley has encouraged with his tactics. Keep it up Mr. Crazy Billionaire!

  31. average Eurekan
    January 28, 2009 at 9:51 am

    To An observer (8:38):

    “Does Arkley have Frank Jager in his pocket?” Well, Frank was overheard during his campaign expressing vigorous verbal support for the Marina Center project. He is as good ol’ boy, Old Eureka in his own (quieter) way as Mike Jones is. I would characterize him as “Mike Jones with a Boy Scout uniform on.”

    I find more interesting the question of whether Jeff “I’m Really an Intellectual Policy Wonk” Leonard will actually cast his vote for the project after all the holes are poked into the DEIR. Jeff, with his aspirations for Bonnie Neely’s supervisorial seat (and salary), has much to lose by so alienating the thinking part of Eureka’s electorate.

    Stay tuned, folks.

  32. January 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Frank told me that he wants to see the site cleaned up.

  33. January 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

    That’s a safe thing to say. Who doesn’t want to see it cleaned up?

    But what does he want to see regarding the Marina Center?

  34. oldphart
    January 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Clean it up and leave a chain link fence around it. Highest and best use.

  35. Eurekev
    January 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Here’s a little information for all the folks on here that think it’s unfair to hold a meeting to explain the DEIR review: you can comment that you love the project, that it is the equivalent of a sweet cupcake with cherry frosting in the harm it could cause, that you’re tired of driving to the valley to look at the awesome malls, “traffic shmaffic”, “Piersons Shmiersons”, “Shafers Shmafers”, well you get the idea. One person, one vote, sortof. One person, one opinion for the council to worry about.

  36. Appalled
    January 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    This thread is getting a little quiet, but did everyone see Sidnie Olson explain that the reason the comments are all coming in at the “last minute” is an attempt to stall the EiR, and make her job more difficult. The fact the public was given just 60 days during the holidays to make their way through a 2000 page document seems lost on her.

  37. The Monitor
    January 29, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Is this really what Sidnie Olson said? I can’t believe she would complain about the public getting a say on what happens in their city. Say it isn’t so. I am sure it does make her job harder as the EIR becomes more balanced. Tough job, but someone has to do it. It is truly hard being in between the developer and the public good. Will she rise to the occasion?

  38. Setting the Record Straight
    January 30, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Actually this is what Sidnie said (Times-Standard – Jan 29th)

    Hypothetically, Olson said, “if someone were opposed to the project, it would make sense for them to wait until the last minute to comment, expanding the city’s workload and extending the process.”

    ”It is a perfectly appropriate use of the CEQA doctrine to kind of extend the length of processing an EIR,” Olson said. “It’s not at all surprising. I’m totally expecting it.”

    But as pointed out, this is nonsense. The reason comments come in during the last few days is that people making comments want to make them as good as possible, and this WAS a nearly 2000 page monster.

  39. average Eurekan
    January 30, 2009 at 11:08 am

    It is nonsense, indeed; typical, unfortunately, of Ms. Olson’s work in general. Take her Background and Project Description for the proposed Henderson Center Cell Tower, for instance, which conveniently omits the decibel level of the backup diesel generator and cooling fan for the 60 foot Verizon Wireless tower they’re trying to put in there on the corner of Harris and Williams. Do you think she thinks about the poor working folks trying to sleep across the street when that thing is going all night?

  40. Anonymous
    February 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Wear your Tin foil Hat in bed or just move back to where you came from which was probably the nuthouse.

  41. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    For Monitor @ 7:34pm,

    Comments or questions ARE LEGAL.

    ******************************

    Notice of Availability of
    Draft Environmental Impact Report
    MARINA CENTER

    Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines Sections 15087 and 15105, the City of Eureka is providing Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) SCH# 2006042024 for the Marina Center Project as described below. All interested persons are invited to comment on the DEIR pursuant to the provisions of CEQA. The comment period is 60 days starting on December 1, 2008, and ending on January 31, 2009. Comments must be in writing, including submittal by email, and must be submitted prior to the close of the comment period to the Community Development Department at the address and email noted below.

    The comment period is 60 days starting on December 1, 2008, and ending on January 31, 2009. Comments must be in writing, including submittal by email, and must be submitted prior to the close of the comment period to the Community Development Department at the address and email noted below.

    ***********************

    End of message.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

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