Reasons for Exemption
(1) The site is consistent with the applicable General Plan and zoning designation and regulations. The project site has a General Plan Zoning Designation of Downtown Mixed-Use, which allows office and retail uses. The zoning designation for the site is P(19) Downtown Precise Plan, Area H. The site allows up to 2.75 FAR office FAR. The project proposes 2.72 FAR, which is consistent with the intensities outlined in the Precise Plan;
(2) The proposed development occurs within City limits on a project site of no more than five acres and is substantially surrounded by urban uses. The proposed project is 0.26 acre and is located on all sides by urban uses, such as commercial development and public parking lots;
(3) The project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare, or threatened species. The project site is currently completely covered with buildings and paving. There are no nearby known bird habitats or other species as the site is located within an urban area and surrounded by pavement and existing commercial development with limited vegetation. The project includes three Heritage trees intended for removal, but standard conditions of approval are included requiring that a preconstruction nesting bird survey be conducted prior to the start of any construction to ensure no bird species exist on-site that may be impacted by construction;
(4) Approval would not result in any significant impacts relating to traffic, noise, air quality, or water quality. The proposed project is screened out from impacts related to vehicle miles traveled (VMT) under the City’s VMT policy implementing Senate Bill (SB) 743 as the site is located within one-half mile of a major transit stop and is greater than 0.75 FAR. Conditions of approval are included to ensure construction-related noise is limited by best practices and operational noise associated with the project shall not exceed 55 db(A). Additionally, the project size is less than Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) screening criteria for operations and construction and conditions of approval require conformance with BAAQMD requirements for demolition and construction to reduce fugitive dust emissions that may be a result of construction. Lastly, conditions of approval require conformance with applicable stormwater treatment requirements; and
(5) The project site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services as a utility study was conducted in September 2019, which found that, with construction of previously planned sewer improvements, the system has adequate capacity for this project.