Rancho Cordova is writing a CAP, but we’re alarmed.

Ranch Cordova is drafting a City climate action plan (CAP). CAPs allow future development to proceed without GHG-mitigation beyond that specified in the CAP, so can lead to environmental impacts, especially if the CAP’s measures are ineffective (learn more about CAPs). Draft CAPs are subject to State environmental review requirements – potential impacts must be identified in a public process and mitigated to the extent feasible.

However, the City of Rancho Cordova proposes to avoid environmental review by stating that the environmental analysis prepared for a prior decision (presumably adoption of the City’s 2006 general plan) suffices. Such an addendum is legally proper only if changes to a prior plan are minor, conditions are unchanged, and no additional impacts are foreseeable.

We believe adoption of a CAP is more than a minor general plan change, and doubt its impacts were adequately analyzed in the general plan’s review 15 years ago. We have pointed out the legal problems and asked the City (see below email chain) to explain its proposed strategy.

Rancho Cordova Residents: Local activists are mobilizing and invite your involvement. Contact us: capteam@350sacramento.org


From: Oscar Balaguer <oscarbal@hotmail.com>

Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2021 5:16 PM

To: dgoulart@cityofranchocordova.org <dgoulart@cityofranchocordova.org>

Cc: Justin Tweet <justin_tweet@yahoo.com>; Barbara Leary <barbaraleary@comcast.net>; Ralph Propper <rpropper47@icloud.com>

Subject: CRC: CAP Query Follow-up

Darcy Goulart

Planning Manager

City of Rancho Cordova

Dear Darcy,

I am writing to you in my role as CAP Co-Chair with 350 Sacramento.  I hope you can clarify a few things for me relating to Rancho Cordova’s planned Climate Action Plan (CAP).  This is a follow-up to a communication I sent you on May 26, 2021, a copy of which is below.  In particular, I seek your clarification of the statement included in the RFP for the CAP consultant that Rancho Cordova’s intends to present its planned CAP as an EIR addendum.

It is my understanding that “qualified” CAPs are plan-level documents which streamline CEQA-mandated GHG analyses for future development by allowing such development to tier from the CAP’s environmental analysis, and to proceed without mitigation beyond that specified in the CAP.  Because adoption of a CAP is a discretionary agency action which would itself facilitate future development and associated potential GHG emissions, CAPs are commonly subject to full CEQA analysis.   I also understand that if after CAP adoption there is substantial evidence that the GHG effects of a particular project may be cumulatively considerable notwithstanding the project’s compliance with a CAP, that project’s EIR must address the potential effects, thus introducing process uncertainty and obviating the CAP’s streamlining benefits.

It is also my understanding that under CEQA adding an EIR addendum to a previously certified EIR is permissible in lieu of a new or supplementary EIR under limited circumstances if:  (1) there are only minor technical changes or additions to the certified EIR; and (2) there is among other things no significant new information, effect, or change in circumstances from the prior EIR.  It is also my understanding that if an EIR addendum is used, no environmental analyses or public process is required other than a brief explanatory statement.  The RFP for the Rancho Cordova CAP calls for extensive data collection and analysis consistent with the requirements of CEQA Guidelines section 15183.5, as was also specified in staff’s March 1, 2021 presentation to the City Council.   Based on my understanding, a CAP that requires such data and analysis would not normally fit within the narrow circumstances that allow an EIR addendum in lieu of an EIR.

I am not an expert in CEQA and I may misunderstand the City’s intentions or be unaware of other documents that the City is relying upon.  For these reasons, I am hoping you can assist me in better understanding the City’s plan.  Can you confirm for me the prior EIR to which the City intends to add the CAP?  I am aware of the City’s 2006 general plan FEIR, but I am not sure if this is the document the City intends to rely upon.  If so, I would appreciate discussing with you how the 2006 FEIR addresses the potential impact of the proposed CAP, particularly since it was certified some years prior to the 2010 CEQA Guidelines update which mandated analysis of potential GHG impacts.

My organization is interested in discussing with you the proposal to prepare the CAP as an EIR addendum, and to explore possible alternatives.  I believe that such discussions would be extremely fruitful at this early stage in the City’s CAP process.  I appreciate your consideration and hope to hear from you soon.  Please let me know if I can provide further info or assistance.

Sincerely,

Oscar,

350 Sacramento CAP Team Co-Chair


From: Oscar Balaguer <oscarbal@hotmail.com>

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 12:39 PM

To: dgoulart@cityofranchocordova.org <dgoulart@cityofranchocordova.org>

Cc: Justin Tweet <justin_tweet@yahoo.com>

Subject: CRC: CAP Query

Darcy Goulart

Planning Manager

City of Rancho Cordova

Hi Darcy,

350 Sacramento is a grassroots organization advocating for effective climate action in the Sacramento region.  As such, we’re interested in Rancho Cordova’s progress in developing a municipal climate action plan.  Please put us on your interested parties’ list for public notifications about the CAP, at capteam@350sacramento.org.

We understand that the City proposes to present the CAP as an EIR Addendum.  Can you please let us know the identity and date of the prior EIR, whether it is currently posted on a City webpage, and in what section(s) the relevant analysis is presented?

Thank you very much and best wishes for developing a CAP expressing the City’s commitment to effective climate action.  Please don’t hesitate to advise if I can answer any questions or we may be able to help in any way.

Sincerely,

Oscar,

Co-chair, 350 Sac CAP Team

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