Reasons for Exemption
CEQA Guidelines Section 15301 (c) Existing Facilities, Class 1. This Project meets Section 15301 Existing Facilities Class 1 (c) categorical exemption, because the repair and maintenance of the existing streets and pedestrian facilities to improve public safety does not result in an expansion of use or capacity.
CEQA Guidelines Section 15304 (f) Minor Alterations to Land, Class 4. This Project meets Section 15304 Existing Facilities Class 4 (f) categorical exemption, because the minor trenching and backfilling where surface is restored will not result in the removal of healthy, mature, scenic trees.
Archaeology. Portions of the project area are proposed within the Prehistoric Watercourse Buffer Area and Early 20th Century Archaeological Sensitivity Areas. All work is proposed within the City’s existing ROW that has been previously disturbed. Additional Archaeological analysis is recommended as the proposed depth of disturbance could be potentially deeper than previously disturbed for installation of the streetlights.
A Phase I Archaeology Resources Report was prepared for the Project. The Phase I Report recommends the following avoidance and minimization measures, implemented by a City-qualified archaeologist/principal investigator meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards, to ensure proper treatment of any unknown cultural resources that may be encountered as a result of proposed Project construction. For purposes of implementing mitigation of impacts to cultural resources for this project, the following definitions have been provided:
- City-qualified Archaeologist
- Archaeologically sensitive area monitoring
- Conditional cultural monitoring
- Cultural Resource Monitoring and Inadvertent Discovery Plan
- Workers Environmental Awareness Program (WEAP) Training
- On-Call Response/Inadvertent Discovery of Archaeological Resources
With incorporation of the above recommended avoidance and minimization measures, any potential residual impacts to cultural resources resulting from project implementation should be less than significant.
Biology. The Mission Street project improvements west of the US 101 Freeway are proposed within 100 feet of the top of bank of Mission Creek. All proposed improvements are within the existing ROW and no tree or vegetation removal is proposed at this location. Impacts to the riparian corridor of Mission Creek are anticipated to be minimal and avoided with a pre-construction survey for resources of concern and a Nesting Bird Survey as work should occur during nesting bird season. Median vegetation removal at State Street and Mission Street shall be coordinated with the City Historian and Arborist to avoid historical and street tree related impacts. The effect on biological resources is considered to be less than significant.
Creeks. As stated above, portions of the proposed project are located within 100 feet of the top of Mission Creek along Mission Street. The Mission Creek Channel at this location is clearly defined as a hard bottom channel and any work near the creek channel can be managed with City standard Stormwater BMPs, therefore no impacts to the creek are anticipated.
Hazardous Materials. There are seven known Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Cleanup Sites with the California State Water Resources Control Board between US 101 at Mission and Mission and State Street, as indicated in Attachment 6 – GeoTracker (6/9/2022). All seven of the LUST Cases are closed, therefore, the potential risk of a hazardous materials exposure at the depths of ground disturbance proposed is minimal. Furthermore, work will be limited to the ROW and not on any private property where the cases are located. Therefore, the effect of hazardous materials is considered less than significant.
Historic Structures. There are historic Structures along both Mission Street and State Street within 50 feet of the proposed project improvements. All project improvements are proposed with the existing ROW and no impacts to existing historic structures are proposed. The proposed street lights are City Standard Detail for the district.
A Historic Landmark's Commission (HLC), Historic Significance Report (HSR) dated July 28, 2022, prepared by Nicole Hernandez MFA, Architectural Historian, evaluated the State Street Parkway, a median strip landscape feature located on the 3000 block of State Street between Mission Street and Constance Street for listing as a City of Santa Barbara Landmark. The study concluded the landscape feature was eligible for listing as a City of Santa Barbara Landmark under Criteria 3 & 5. The HSR was reviewed and accepted by the City of Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission. The HLC passed a motion recommending the Santa Barbara City Council designate the Parkway as a City of Santa Barbara Landmark. The City Council approved the nomination, with certain revisions, per Resolution 23-021 at their March 1, 2023, meeting.
A Phase 2 Historic Structures/Sites Report was prepared for the Project which evaluated two alternatives involving modifications to the historic median for safety and visibility improvements. Alternative 2 was selected, which involves removal of 20 feet of the median to provide space for one vehicle to queue plus minimal entry space into the left turn pocket. This Phase 2 Historic Structures/Sites Report prepared by Post/Hazeltine Associates has concluded the proposed project meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Therefore, project impacts on significant historic resources are less than significant.
Noise. All proposed construction will occur during normal working hours, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday and not on holidays or weekends. No noise impacts to sensitive resources are anticipated as the excavation method can include hand excavation to avoid use of an auger as warranted. The short term construction related noise impacts are considered less than significant.
Visual. The project includes placement of Street Lights along Mission Street and State Street to improve nighttime use of these streets. These two streets currently have numerous overhead utilities located along the City’s ROW, therefore, the addition of well-placed and spaced Street Lights meeting the City’s Design Standards will improve the visual character of the area along Mission Street and within the El Pueblo Viejo District. Additionally, a number of existing Edison streetlight poles will be removed as part of the project. Therefore, the effect on visual resources is considered less than significant.
In conclusion, the Project will include minor alterations and safety enhancements to existing facilities to improve pedestrian crossings and connections by providing light during nighttime as a countermeasure to nighttime collisions. Project is not anticipated to result in any significant impacts towards the environmental resources with minimization measures described above, 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 Categorical Exemption Section 15301 Existing Facilities Class 1 (c) and 15304 Minor Alterations to Land Class 4 (f) of the CEQA Guidelines.