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No Green Light for McKinley Village
this project and the DEIR are flawed and here are some of the reasons it does not deserve a “go”
Over 660 pages of comments were submitted to the McKinley Village DEIR. Comments were submitted from state and local government agencies, environmental advocacy groups, neighborhood groups and 99 individuals. To call the DEIR “favorable” is quite a stretch as this shoddy and incomplete document offered more confusion than clarity for the community as to the true impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods of Midtown and East Sac.
DEIR & Press indicate:
McKinley Village is a great example of a smart growth and in-fill project. The project reduces “sprawl”.
FACT: McKinley Village Project does not meet any of the City of Sacramento’s criteria for smart growth nor in-fill projects. The sprawl issue exists in the Sacramento region, and this DEIR does not include any measurable impact on reducing sprawl. It does not meet in-fill criteria because it is an undeveloped piece of land which is not served by existing infrastructure such as roads, public transit and neighborhood services.
DEIR & Press indicate: The project has available new access points: 40th Street, A Street, and the Alhambra vehicular tunnel.
FACT: According to the DEIR, the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) has not and may never approve the 40th Street tunnel or the Alhambra tunnel. At this time, there is no information in the DEIR as to when either tunnel will be built. At present, A Street does not exist, and there is nothing in the DEIR in regards to the possible impacts of the Alhambra tunnel and on retrofitting the bridge over Capital City Freeway. According to the DEIR, “the A Street Bridge would be upgraded” – but there is no indication of who will pay for that expensive upgrade. “The (A Street) bridge is structurally sound” - there is no indication of what type of use the bridge will structurally accommodate. “The Alhambra pedestrian and bike underpass would be constructed under the existing UPRR embankment at the northerly end of Alhambra Boulevard, if approved by UPRR. A new bridge structure/roadway underpass at Alhambra Boulevard was determined to be infeasible and not preferred compared to 40th Street for a number of reasons”. According to the DEIR, Alhambra pedestrian/bike tunnel does not have UPRR approval, and the tunnel would not accommodate vehicular traffic. One or two way vehicular traffic is not shown on the land use plan nor is it included in the project description or addressed in the DEIR – it cannot be considered an impact mitigation measure. The EIR would have to address this vehicular impact which would require further study and possible re-circulation.
DEIR indicates: The Combined Sewer Storage System will reduce high flows to the McKinley Park combined sewer system (CSS)
FACT: According to the DEIR, “the project would include an on-site sewer storage tank to meter wastewater during high flow events in the combined sewer system. The project would also include a separated wastewater and storm drain system on site”. This system is not going to be designed to reduce the existing high flows in the McKinley Park CSS. A drainage cistern is not shown in the land use plan nor included in the project description – therefore, it cannot be fully analyzed by the DEIR and cannot be considered an impact mitigation measure. In addition, recent information indicates that the developer plans to drop this project commitment in exchange for funding improvements to McKinley Park.
DEIR & Press indicate: The additional 3500 daily car trips will have a less than significant impact.
FACT: This fact isn’t related to the project’s impact on our neighborhood, but rather for the experience of the driver!!
Neighbors are concerned about the added vehicular impact through our narrow streets – our livability and for the safety of our neighbors walking and children riding bikes!
DEIR does not analyze the Impact on Theodore Judah School:
FACT: Adding more students to an already impacted school, due to the closure of Washington Elementary in midtown, exacerbate the challenges Theodore Judah is already facing. The additional estimation of 95 students expected from McKinley Village would cause the school to cut student enrichment programs as well as compromise classroom size as the Sac City Unified School Board member for East Sacramento, points out.
Press indicates: East SAC neighbors oppose change
FACT: Many real estate development projects such as “The Alexan” – a high density, mixed use project at Alhambra & S Sts. – have been built in and around East Sac. In the planning is Stonebridge’s in-fill project replacing Sutter Memorial Hospital. Neighbors have welcomed these and other well planned additions to our neighborhood. East Sac residents are committed to preserving the livability of their neighborhood – now and for future generations. The City of Sacramento should be grateful the residents of East Sac take pride in their community and are active participants.
This document was prepared by McKinley Park residents who are members of MENA, ESIA, & ESP on March 5, 2014
by Pat Lynch
In an open hearing on McKinley Village Midtown councilman Steve Hansen spoke dismissively of the sometimes heated nature of East Sacramento public discussions. “That’s not us,” he said sternly to the Midtowners. It reminded me of the way I used to talk to fourth graders. “We’re not like those noisy third-graders,” I’d say in yet another futile effort to establish dominance. Oddly, the audience made no objection to Hansen’s condescending manner. Maybe they were used to it. Maybe some of them liked it. Six or seven East Sacramentans attended but none of us jumped up and launched into any tirades. There were outbursts from others however. A couple of men blurted loud, hostile remarks about McKinley Village and one woman, when it was her turn to speak, tried to wrest the microphone from Hansen’s hand. He wouldn’t let go. “I hold the mike,” he said. “A control freak,” she answered, refusing to relinquish it. Both of them clutched it throughout her comment.
Later I asked a Midtown woman why Hansen spoke disparagingly, and wrongly, of East Sacramentans. We are indeed a free speech zone but he mischaracterized our public gatherings. She said it was Divide and Conquer. She maintained that developers and the city officials who collude with them don’t want neighboring groups to form effective coalitions. “It’s just politics,” she said.
Politics. And politics, of course, is about power and people’s relationship to power. The perceived power of even a city council office can make some citizens embarrassingly deferential. Worse, it can give the minor elected functionary an inflated regard for his significance and encourage him to publicly speak ill of other neighborhoods.
It’s worthwhile to note that nobody accused East Sacramentans, (East Sacramento Preservation members in particular) of inappropriate outspokenness when we had many conversations with Stonebridge developers about the project that will replace Sutter Hospital. Stonebridge solicited our input and received it. We forged a productive relationship, and on March 7th East Sacramento Preservation president, Ellen Cochrane, spoke to the Planning Commission in support of the project. Now Stonebridge will bring new and welcome residents to our community, won’t increase our traffic problems, will give new families a chance to thrive in a livable environment. We’re glad to have played a part in something that actually is good infill.
But when we opposed the McKinley Village proposal because it’s traffic invasion will ruin our streets and its other multiple hazards degrade the environment, the false judgments arrived. A few claimed we were “anti-growth.” This, after our productive commnication with and endorsement of Stonebridge, was mystifying, but we have learned not to expect high caliber reasoning from everyone. Then we have “radical,” the tag that we are supposed to refute by timidly allowing dangerous development. But if it’s radical to follow our charter, which tasks us with defending our neighborhood, then so be it. If it’s radical to stand with the Environmental Council of Sacramento and Physicians for Social Responsibility, both of which have serious misgivings about McKinley Village, so be it.
We will be certainly be subjected to even more imaginative misnomers in the future, but that’s the price of advocacy. We’ll survive. We’ll continue to try our best. And while some have attempted to dismiss or marginalize us, we have seen this: since we took a stand critical of McKinley Village our blog following has increased. Public meetings got larger. Our Save East Sac signs began popping up everywhere. An influx of new memberships filled the P.O. box. The phone keeps ringing. People show up. Now this is smart growth.