Reasons for Exemption
The project is consistent with General Plan Land Use policy for Community Commercial and is permitted by-right by the applicable chapter of the zoning code CMC Chapter 17.22.
The 1.6-acre project site lies entirely within the City of Calistoga city limits and is surrounded on all sides by urban uses – commercial and residential.
The historically disturbed and fully developed site – auto repair / towing yard / single family residence – supports no significant natural habitat, pursuant to Environmental Site Assessment and Geotechnical Study.
The potential for the project to conflict or be inconsistent with CEQA Guidelines § 15064.3, subdivision (b) was evaluated based the project’s anticipated Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Trips generated by the project are mitigated to less than significant levels by project conditions of approval including multi-modal roadway capacity improvements pursuant to the City’s master plan for this intersection.
A retail project resulting in an increase to the region’s total VMT may reflect a significant impact. Research has shown that local-serving commercial uses, typically those under 50,000 square feet in size, and infill retail developments tend to shift where vehicle trips occur rather than generate wholly new trips (and corresponding vehicle miles traveled). This premise is supported by the California Office of Planning and Research (OPR) in its publication Technical Advisory on Evaluation Transportation Impacts in CEQA, December 2018. Because the project is less than 50,000 square feet and would be expected to shift where people get banking and retail services rather than increase the demand for banking and retail services in the Calistoga area, it is reasonable to presume that total regional VMT would not increase as a result of the project. The project would be expected to have a less-than-significant transportation impact on vehicle miles traveled due to being local-serving retail uses.
Noise, air quality and water quality impacts would be mitigated to less than significant levels by conditions of approval requiring compliance with applicable CMC provisions.
All required utilities serve the existing use and will be conditioned by approval to be upgraded as necessary to accommodate the proposed use. Public services impacts will be offset by requirements for Development Impact Fees.