Reasons for Exemption
CEQA Guidelines Section 15269 (a), Emergency Projects. The Project meets this section’s requirements as the Project was constructed to maintain facilities damaged as a result of the January 9, 2023, storm, in which a state of emergency was proclaimed by the Governor pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act, commencing with Section 8550 of the Government Code.
CEQA Guidelines Section 15301 Class 1, Existing Facilities. The Project meets this section’s requirements as permanently permitting the Project is consistent with the repair and maintenance exemption as there is no expansion of use.
Archaeology. The Project site was evaluated for archaeological sensitivity. The 2023 Rincon Environmental (Rincon) Confidential Cultural Resources Letter Report for the Rock Revetment Project did not identify any archaeological materials or deposits within the project site. The lack of surficial evidence of archaeological materials, as well as the extensive historical disturbance and placement of fill soil within the project site, does not preclude the potential existence of subsurface archaeological materials. Therefore, for any future work within the project site, Rincon recommends the following conditions consistent with the City MEA guidelines, including:
1. Worker’s Environmental Awareness Program: A City-qualified archaeologist should be retained to conduct a WEAP training on archaeological sensitivity for all construction personnel prior to the commencement of ground disturbing activities. The training should be conducted by an archaeologist who meets the Secretary of the
Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards for archaeology (National Park Service 1983). Archaeological sensitivity training should include a description of the types of cultural material that may be encountered, cultural sensitivity issues, the regulatory environment, and the proper protocol for treatment of the materials in the event of a find.
2. Archaeological and Native American Monitoring: Standard discovery measures shall be implemented per the City Master Environmental Assessment through grading and construction. Prior to project initiation, a City-qualified archaeologist from the most current City Qualified Archaeologists List, along with a Native American
representative from the City Qualified Native American Site Monitors List, should be retained to provide archaeological and Native American monitoring for monitoring during all ground-disturbing activities associated with the project, including, but not limited to, grading, excavation, trenching, vegetation or paving removal and
ground clearance. The contract shall be subject to the review and approval of the City’s Environmental Analyst. The Archaeologist’s monitoring contract will include the following provision:
a. If archaeological resources are encountered or suspected, work shall be halted or redirected immediately, and the City Environmental Analyst shall be notified. The archaeologist shall assess the nature, extend and significance of any discovered and develop appropriate management recommendations for archaeological resource treatment which may include, but are not limited to, redirection of grading and/or
excavation activities, consultation with a Barbareño Chumash representative from the most current City Qualified Barbareño Chumash Site Monitors List, etc.
If a discovery consists of possible human remains, see the human remains protocol below. A final report on the results of the archaeological monitoring will be submitted to the Environmental Analyst within 180 days of completion of monitoring.
3. Human Remains: No human remains are known to be present within the project site. However, the discovery of human remains is always a possibility during ground disturbing activities. If human remains are unexpectedly found, the State of California Health and Safety Code Section 7050.5 states that no further disturbance should occur until the County Coroner has made a determination of origin and disposition pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 5097.98. In the event of an unanticipated discovery of human remains, the County Coroner must be notified immediately. If the human remains are determined to be of Native American origin, the Coroner will
notify the NAHC, which will determine and notify a most likely descendant (MLD). The MLD has 48 hours from being granted site access to make recommendations for the disposition of the remains. If the MLD does not make recommendations within 48 hours, the landowner should reinter the remains in an area of the property secure
from subsequent disturbance.
Biology. The City adhered to general avoidance and minimization measures compiled as recommendations under its authorizations, to the degree possible, while alleviating the emergency situation. General avoidance and minimization measures were implemented during Project execution. The Project was executed in such a manner as to limit impacts to biological resources to the minimum amount necessary. The following measures were implemented: All staging and fueling of equipment occurred outside of jurisdictional areas or beach and drip pans were employed. Disturbance was confined to the limits of the Project boundary and no native vegetation was removed. All trash and debris were properly contained and disposed of from the Project site on a daily basis. Work activities occurred with tidal cycles (low tide) to
prevent in-water activities. The Project was completed and was conducted outside the nesting bird season (generally February 15 to September 1) and grunion spawning season (March 1 to September 1) and did not result in the removal of any special status species or their habitat. No compensatory mitigation is currently proposed for the Project, given the minimal impact from temporary construction and the placement of rock project activities. The Project site only intermittently receives tidal influence and no significant loss of biological resource value occurred from the Project.
Therefore, mitigation is not warranted. The Project did not result in any significant impacts under the CEQA Guidelines Appendix G Questions 4a through f.
Coastal Zone. The Project is in the Coastal Zone, on the dividing line between the City’s jurisdiction and the CCC retained jurisdiction area. City of Santa Barbara’s Community Development Department granted consolidation of the Emergency Coastal Development Permit actions required for the Project, allowing the California Coastal Commission to act upon one consolidated emergency Coastal Development Permit for the entire Project per a letter dated January 10, 2020. An Emergency CDP was obtained to perform the construction work. A CDP is currently being applied for.
Floodway. The Project is in the FEMA VE flood zone: coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over a period of 30 years. The project aims to ameliorate the threat to Waterfront facilities posed by this risk. Parks and Recreation. The project is partially within Leadbetter Beach. It is expected that the revetment will be largely covered by sand for much of the year, similar to the existing rock revetment east of the Project. It is assumed that overall park square footage will not be significantly impacted as sand is anticipated to largely cover the revetment most of the year.
Noise. Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is within 200 feet of APN 045-250-013. The SBCC structures closest to the property include a stadium and parking facilities. Noise during construction was unlikely to have impacted classrooms and other noise-sensitive spaces on the campus which are more than 200 feet away, therefore, the effect on noise resources is considered to be less than significant.
Visual. The rock revetment was partially buried in sand and partially above ground when first constructed. It is gradually being covered with sand through wave action and deposition. The site is within the coastal zone and does include a shoreline visual resource. The revetment was designed to preserve ocean views from the harbor commercial area. Given that the revetment will largely be covered with sand most of the year, the effect on visual resources is considered to be less than significant.
In conclusion, the Project prevented the potential loss of life or property as a result of the severe tidal flooding that occurred during January 9 and 10, 2023. The Project is not anticipated to result in any significant impacts towards the environmental resources, therefore, the Case Planner recommends that this Project be considered exempt, as defined in the CEQA review process classified under the Section 15269 (a) Emergency Projects Statutory Exemption, and the Section 15301 Existing Facilities Categorical Exemption of the CEQA Guidelines.