Reasons for Exemption
CEQA Guidelines Section 15301 (c) Existing Facilities. This Project meets Section 15301 Existing Facilities Class 1 (c) categorical exemption, because the repair and maintenance of the existing pedestrian and bicycle pathway does not result in an expansion of use or capacity.
Geology. High landslide potential, high to very high erosion potential, varying expansive soils (low to high), and moderately shallow to potentially shallow groundwater is present within the Project site. Ground disturbing activities are expected to be at a maximum of 8 to 10 feet deep to remove three existing unknown species tree stumps. The intent of the Project is to stabilize the soil from sluffing onto the pathway by adding K-Rails, jute netting and ground cover plantings to aid in securing the sloped areas adjacent to the path, therefore the geologic effects are considered beneficial.
Noise. The removal and grading of the existing conditions will generate noise and vibration due to tree stump removal, grading, and site preparation of the existing condition. The replacement method will also create noise and vibration due to the trimming of tree branches, tree and stump removal using an excavator, installation of temporary K-Rails, temporary dust control, and hydroseeding. However, the exact equipment will be determined closer to the time of construction by the contractor. A letter will be sent out to residences and businesses in the area and the construction will be limited to business hours consistent with the City’s Noise Ordinance. Given the temporary nature of the noise impacts and consistency with the City’s Noise Ordinance, the noise effects are considered less than significant.
Trees. One unknown species tree and three unknown species tree stumps are proposed for removal to stabilize the soil and accommodate new plantings and jute netting installation. Four Blue Gum Eucalyptus trees are proposed to be trimmed to prevent growth and branch development. Coordination with the Street Tree Advisory Committee will occur throughout the tree and stump removal and tree trimming process.
Compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is required and would address potential impacts associated with nesting birds. Applicable standard tree protection measures pursuant to City General Plan policies and Municipal Code provisions would be implemented as part of the proposed Project through contractor specifications and with advice of the City Arborist for application with specific species. These include temporary fencing and no equipment or materials storage or vehicle parking within driplines, grading controls, tree root protection, and replacement if any healthy mature tree is inadvertently lost or substantially damaged. Pre-construction nesting bird surveys are to be conducted before construction as nesting bird season falls between February 1 and September 30 each year.
Visual. The Project includes removal of one unspecified tree and three unspecified tree stumps, placement of jute netting and ground cover plants to stabilize slopes adjacent to a public path. The visual character of the path is currently disturbed by the soils running onto the pathway, upon implementation of the Project components the visual character of the path will be moderately enhanced by the increased vegetation, removal of stumps and stability of the soils.
In conclusion, the repair and maintenance Project will address the current hillside sloughing and prevent future erosion along the hillside at the bottom of Coronel Path. The Project is not anticipated to result in any significant impacts towards the environmental resources, therefore, the Public Works Department recommends that the Case Planner consider this Project as exempt, as defined in the CEQA review process classified under the 15301 (c) Existing Facilities Class 1 categorical exemption of the CEQA Guidelines.