Category Archives: City Council

Courts Rule Against McKinley Village on Traffic—Action Needed by Neighborhood

Slide5The neighborhood has an opportunity to redress McKinley Village traffic concerns. Please read the below message and documents and reach out to city officials.

Friends and Neighbors––
We already know that more and more traffic from more and more development will continue to flood our neighborhood streets.
Traffic––like water––will flow wherever it can go.
California’s highest courts have ruled on traffic in favor of East Sacramento Partnerships for a Livable City (ESPLC) in its legal challenge to the City and the developers of the McKinley Village Project.
Essentially, the landmark ruling means that FAILING TRAFFIC considered OK under the City’s general plan alone is NOT OK!
             “. . . The general plan alone does not constitute substantial evidence that there is no significant impact. . . .”
But, before the Court’s ruling could be implemented, the City and the developers first tried blocking its publication. 
Failing that, they now are attempting to rush through a “Revised Draft EIR for McKinley Village,” which does NOT COMPLY with either state law under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), or the published ruling of the Court of Appeal of the State of California––upheld by the California State Supreme Court.
Join neighbors in support of ACTION before 4:00 PM this FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2017.
     • PLEASE READ the attached files.
     • VOICE YOUR CONCERNS to the City Council.
     • SUBMIT A LETTER requiring the City to comply with the Court of Appeal’s ruling.
                
     • DELIVER to:  Dana Mahaffey, Associate Planner
                              City of Sacramento, Community Development Department
                              Environmental Planning Services
                              300 Richards Boulevard, Third Floor
                              Sacramento, CA  95811
                              E-MAIL: dmahaffey@cityofsacramento.org
     • DEADLINE:   March 3, 2017 at 4:00 PM.
 
Following is a detailed letter explaining the case.
A chart containing key dates and events in McKinley Village litigation, including requests for depublication, along with two of ESPLC’s representative Letters filed in the California State Supreme Court is forthcoming.

February 26, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On November 7, 2016, the Court of Appeal of the State of California for the Third Appellate District, ruled in favor of East Sacramento Partnerships for a Livable City (ESPLC) in its lawsuit challenging the City of Sacramento and the developers of the McKinley Village project in connection with certain traffic impacts.  The Court of Appeal ruled that the City of Sacramento’s failure to properly analyze these traffic impacts violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The Court of Appeal has directed the Superior Court to issue an Order to the City requiring that it:

  • decertify the existing Environmental Impact Report (EIR);
  • correct deficiencies in the existing EIR;
  • recirculate a CEQA-compliant EIR before recertification.

It appears that the City is attempting to circumvent the Court of Appeal’s ruling by adopting a “Revised Draft EIR for McKinley Village” before the Superior Court can issue the Order.  The Revised EIR does not contain the traffic analysis required by the Court of Appeal.

We encourage residents throughout the City who are concerned about unmitigated traffic from intensifying development flooding our neighborhoods to submit a letter or email to the City urging the City to reject the inadequate Revised EIR, and requiring that the City comply with the Court of Appeals decision.  Please see the end of this update for guidelines on communicating your concerns to the City, on the record, before the March 3rd deadline.

Court of Appeals Ruling on Traffic

The Court of Appeal’s decision was certified for publication, meaning that it can be cited in other cases as legal precedent.  Only about 10% of California Court of Appeal decisions are published.  Although the relevant traffic-related portion of the decision addresses a narrow issue, the ruling has implications far beyond the McKinley Village Project.  As written:

“. . . The general plan alone does not constitute substantial evidence that there is

no significant impact. . . .

. . . a threshold of significance cannot be applied in a way that would foreclose

the consideration of other substantial evidence tending to show the environmental

effect to which the threshold relates might be significant. . . .”

The Court of Appeal went on to prescribe the remedy:

“Because the EIR fails to explain or provide substantial evidence to support the finding of no significant traffic impact at these intersections, we must reverse the trial court’s denial of ESPLC’s petition for a writ of mandate and remand [return] the case for issuance of a writ directing the City to set aside its certification of the final EIR and to take the action necessary to bring the transportation and circulation section of the EIR into compliance with CEQA. . . .

. . . The City need only correct the deficiency in the EIR that we have just described before considering recertification of the EIR.”  (Emphasis added.)

The developer of the project first called the Appellate Court’s ruling a minor technicality, easily remedied.  Then, together with the City, the developer petitioned the Appellate Court for a rehearing on this issue.

The City’s request for rehearing was denied.  However, before the Appellate Court could deliver its decision to the Sacramento Superior Court (which is responsible for issuing the order directly to the City), the City and the McKinley Village developer launched a statewide campaign to delay issuance of the order––and to diminish the significance of the Court of Appeal decision––by petitioning the California State Supreme Court to “depublish” the Court of Appeal decision.  The City and legal counsel for McKinley Village were among the first groups of developers, state and local agencies, and building industry associations pressing for depublication.

After receiving multiple requests, the Supreme Court asked to see the record of the Appellate Court hearing, including the Administrative Record, which spans tens of thousands of pages.  In opposition to these depublication requests, ESPLC pointed out that the rule being advocated by the groups seeking depublication would:

“. . . enable California cities to circumvent CEQA by adopting LOS F (i.e., “failing”) traffic conditions as thresholds of significance in their general plans, and to thereby avoid any responsibility for analyzing a project’s impacts on traffic, to avoid requiring feasible mitigation measures to address such impacts, or to avoid adopting statements of overriding considerations where mitigation is infeasible.  Such a rule would undermine the fundamental goals of CEQA.”

After two months evaluating more than a dozen letters, the California Supreme Court denied all of the requests for depublication.  On its own motion, it declined to review the matter and declared that the opinion of the Court of Appeal “is now final.”

The Court of Appeal’s published opinion on traffic in favor of ESPLC is now the law of the land.

Revised Draft EIR 

During the months taken by the Supreme Court to reach its decision, the opinion of the Court of Appeal could not be delivered to the Superior Court for implementation.

During the delay, the City of Sacramento issued its “Revised Draft EIR for McKinley Village.”  Yet, the Revised EIR contains no new traffic analysis.  The lack of analysis in the Revised EIR does not address the Court’s direction to properly analyze traffic impacts, and does not reduce those impacts in any way in our neighborhoods and in the central core.

ESPLC believes that the City’s latest action violates not only the letter and spirit of CEQA, but also the express directions given by the Court of Appeal in its published decision.

The Court of Appeal’s decision––as confirmed by the Supreme Court––is significant and, quite literally, precedent setting.  It requires cities and developers state-wide to respect the health and well-being of the People by properly evaluating the environmental impacts of new developments before they are approved.  The decision confirms that which should have been obvious: the developers––and the government at the behest of the developers––cannot paper over significant environmental impacts by simply declaring those impacts to be “acceptable” without proper study and disclosure to the people who will be impacted.  Here, however, the decision will be meaningless if the City is allowed to circumvent the Court of Appeal’s ruling before it takes effect.  To avoid that, we need your help.

Voice your concerns to the City Council!

ESPLC encourages all who are impacted negatively in any way by unmitigated traffic to voice your concerns to the City Council in a letter or e-mail, which must be received by the City on or before 

March 3, 2017.

Letters and e-mails should be focused on the issues currently before the City Council which conflict with the Court of Appeal’s decision.  Specifically:

  • Express opposition to the “Revised EIR for the McKinley Village Project,” noting that it does not contain a new traffic analysis, and no new mitigation that would lessen the significant traffic impacts of the project on the area neighborhoods and roadways.
  • Significant traffic impacts continue to be unmitigated.  Describe how you, your family, and neighbors are experiencing traffic issues even now, during construction of the Village project.
  • Urge the City to comply with the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of East Sacramento Partnerships for a Livable City (ESPLC) v. City of Sacramento, et al. by decertifying the current EIR, conducting a full, independent traffic analysis, and recirculating the EIR for additional public comment.
  • Failure to follow the law will lead to further unnecessary taxpayer expense if the City must again be compelled to comply with state laws governing the environment.

Deadline:March 3, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Deliver Letter to:Dana Mahaffey, Associate Planner

City of Sacramento, Community Development Department

Environmental Planning Services

300 Richards Boulevard, Third Floor

Sacramento, CA 95811

-or-

E-mail Letter to:dmahaffey@cityofsacramento.org

 

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East Sacramento Preservation—Year End Photo Gallery and Annual Report

East Sacramento Preservation wishes all our members and friends a Happy New Year. After more than two years working to help the neighborhood oppose McKinley Village, 2015 was a time to return to our roots. Below is a brief summary of what we’ve been up to this year and some plans for next year.

Our popular Speaker Series hosted three outstanding presenters with unique talents and deep historical understanding of Sacramento.

Paula Peper–Historian and author of several books about our beautiful park neighborhoods and trees

Bill Burg–State Historian, author and Sacramento trolley history expert

Wes Green–design genius and owner of Twigs Floral Design

When ESP’s Judy McClaver started to volunteer at McKinley Pond three years ago she never imagined that she would become an award winning neighborhood icon. Her efforts have forced the city to address the issues at the pond. ESP supports her and the cadre of pond volunteers’ incredible dedication and hard work. She serves on the city pond committee and worked daily to clean and preserve the pond. (City Parks denied her use of the boat, so her garbage patrol and island work are curtailed.) However, park maintenance has stepped up and is now keeping trash cans empty on regular basis and the City reportedly has hired a pond maintenance company starting Jan 2016. We’ve set aside a portion of funds to donate to the rehab effort, once the city is able to create a workable plan. (At the end of this article is Judy’s “pondlife” list. Amazing what we have in the city!)

This year’s National Night Out was a packed bonanza. SWAT, canine, car patrol, bike patrol, fire, politicals—they all came, as did the neighborhood. It was a party.

Essays, provocative and informative, tackled East Sac issues with humor and insight. Our most popular essays were Airbnb, Pond Update, Exact Spot, Insist on TreesNo Permit, Illegal Building Draws East Sac Neighbors’ Ire.

ESP has joined multiple neighborhood associations in the effort to preserve Sacramento’s tree canopy. We are cosigners on numerous comments and letters to the city and support the healthy preservation of our canopy. We also promoted the retention of snag habitats, whenever it is safe to do so.

When the city sends us information, we share it. From parking, palm pruning, to events and meetings, we send it your way. When neighbors ask for help with city issues, we step up.

ESP supported the Ethics and Transparency movement led by the League of Women Voters and Eye on Sacramento. We stand firm with Eye on Sacramento and know there is much more to be done. However, we offer kudos to both groups for their work.

ESP featured Nextdoor in an article on the web site. The fun of this was that we drove to San Francisco and visited the start up. What a great group of innovators.

For more than seven years East Sacramento Preservation has been the pour and clean up team at Pops in the Park at East Portal. In 2016 we’re helping out at East Portal and Bertha Henschel Parks. If you’d like to pour with the team, send us an email!

Supporting SCUSD and school events is a pleasure. We post and spread the word about fundraisers, events and surveys.

Locals send us information about community events, farmers’ market, volunteer days, health and safety, river danger issues and individual efforts. We post all that come our way.

Traffic is an on-going concern in East Sacramento and our flag program on 33th and H is in its third year. Although flag theft makes the effort a little tricky, we know this is a great safety benefit to the community. ESP also distributes the Drive Like Your Kids Live Here Signs.

33rd and H Streets

33rd and H Streets

 

 

 

 

 

East Sacramento Preservation, Inc. is proud to support the designation of the Maple Avenue/38th Street Historical District that has been presented to the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director. We should hear soon how the city will act on the application. These two blocks of 38th Street between J Street and Folsom Boulevard are a showcase of early 20th Century residential structures and the history of their occupants is long and important to the development of Sacramento. Many of the original occupants were captains of industry that have left a legacy of contributions to the city.

We are hopeful that this first historical district in East Sacramento will lead to other deserving portions and individual structures in the neighborhood being similarly designated. This is essential so that these resources are not lost to the speculative fever that is currently resulting in the wanton destruction of the residential fabric and character that helps make this community special.

News for 2016

An ESP High School Scholarship is under discussion. Our student board member, Emiliano Gómez, will be leading the study.

In the coming year we will work to improve the web site set up and delivery system. We love all feedback, positive and negative, and have read all your comments.

Our popular speaker series will continue with new and exciting speakers.

Please consider year-end donations to ESP. We’re an East Sacramento charity that works in your neighborhood. We spend money in no other place. All donations or membership will go to our established programs and is 100% tax deductible. All ESP community workers, writers, project organizers, forum and speaker series participants are non-paid volunteers.

Judy’s Pondlife List

Birds

Black-crowned night herons

Wood ducks

Mallards/mixes

Canada geese

Greater White fronted geese

Cackling geese

Coots

Cormorants

Egrets

Hawks

Barn owls

Swallows

Bush tits

Robins and other common Sacramento birds

Miscellaneous migrating birds

All the domestic ducks and geese were relocated by Judy to help preserve the pond and protect wildlife’s health.

Reptiles

Turtles—99% are red-eared sliders

Fish

Koi

Goldfish

Carp

Bluegills

Catfish

Mammals

Bats

Raccoons

Opossum

And, of course, the ubiquitous, squirrel (most are Fox Squirrels with a few Grays)

Posted in City Council, District 3, Elected Officials, Ellen Cochrane, Essays, Events, Pat Lynch, Speaker Series, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on East Sacramento Preservation—Year End Photo Gallery and Annual Report