ABSTRACT: Herewith is the RDEIR's Summary (2.0) in its entirety, including INTRODUCTION (2.1), SUMMARY OF PROJECT DESCRIPTION (2.2), ALTERNATIVES EVALUATED IN THIS RDEIR (2.3), ENVIRONMENTALLY SUPERIOR ALTERNATIVE (2.4) and SUMMARY OF PROJECT IMPACTS (2.5). An excerpt of the two "significant and unavoidable" environmental impacts from TABLE 2-1 SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND MITIGATION is presented.
This summary provides a description of the proposed project, project alternatives, significant impacts, and mitigation measures identified during the environmental analysis. Responsibility for implementation of mitigation measures lies with the project applicant unless otherwise noted. This summary is intended as an overview and should be used in conjunction with a thorough reading of the EIR. The text of this report, including figures, tables, and appendices, serves as the basis for this summary.
2.2 SUMMARY OF PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The proposed project consists of the sale of the Flanders Mansion Property, a 1.252 acre parcel located in the Mission Trails Nature Preserve. No specific land use has been identified as part of the project. The project site is considered parkland and is zoned P-2 (Improved Parkland). Surrounding the property is an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA) zoned P-1. This area plus the project site are all part of the City’s largest park, the Mission Trails Nature Preserve. The building on the property (the Flanders Mansion) is recognized as a historic resource and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A full project description is provided in Section 3.0 of this RDEIR.
An EIR was prepared in August 2005 for the sale of the Flanders Mansion Property project. The EIR was adopted and certified by the City Council on September 22, 2005. This action was successfully challenged in Superior Court by the Flanders Foundation (Flanders Foundation vs. City of Carmel-by-the-Sea and the City Council of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea (Mont. Co. Super. Ct. Case No. M76728)). The City was ordered to de-certify the EIR and rescind all associated resolutions related to the EIR. In response to the Court’s decision, this RDEIR has been prepared to include updates and revisions to the 2005 DEIR, as modified in the 2005 FEIR. This RDEIR has also been updated to provide an expanded impact analysis under CEQA, identify revised mitigation measures specific to project-related impacts, and provide additional information for clarification. A summary of the revisions is provided in each of the respective topical section as part of the introduction.
2.3 ALTERNATIVES EVALUTED IN THIS RDEIR
In compliance with CEQA, this RDEIR evaluates the comparative advantages and disadvantages of a range of project alternatives. The alternatives considered in the RDEIR are summarized below:
No Project: The No Project Alternative consists of retaining the site in its present condition. This would avoid all of the environmental impacts of the proposed project but would fail to meet the primary project objective of divestment of the Flanders Mansion property by the City.
Lease for Single-Family Residential Use: This alternative would consist of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea retaining ownership of the Flanders Mansion property and leasing the property as a single-family residence. This alternative assumes that the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea would implement some facility upgrades and maintenance requirements in order to comply with the Superior Court’s ruling. In additional, this alternative also assumes that the City, prior to the lease of the building, would implement additional facility upgrades to ensure that the Flanders Mansion is leasable. This alternative also assumes that exterior features, such as fencing, hedges, walls, gates, circulation patterns, and landscaping patterns may be made on the property to provide privacy to the future lessee and/or exclude the public from the property. Future terms of the lease agreement would be determined at the time a lessee was identified. This alternative assumes that the various conditions and mitigation measures identified in this RDEIR would be applicable to the future use of the property.
Lease for Public/Quasi-Public Use: This alternative would consist of the City retaining ownership of the Flanders Mansion property and subsequently leasing the facility to a low-intensity public/quasi-public use. The City of Carmel-by-the-Sea would still be responsible for implementing necessary facility upgrades and maintenance requirements in accordance with the findings of the Superior Court. Moreover, this alternative assumes that the City would be required to implement additional facility upgrades in order for the building to be leasable. Similar to the single-family lease alternative, this analysis assumes that some exterior improvements may be made depending on the type of public/quasi-public use. As a result, this alternative assumes that public access to and through the site could be restricted or significantly restricted. This alternative assumes that exterior changes, such as fencing or other exterior elements may be made as part of this alternative to accommodate the needs of a future lessee. While some limited public access may be permitted as part of daily operations or on a more limited basis such as special events, this analysis assumes access would be restricted under this alternative. Future terms of the lease agreement would be determined at the time a lessee was identified. A number of the mitigation measures that would be applied to the single-family residential use lease alternative would be applicable.
Sale with Conservation Easements and Mitigations: This alternative would consist of recording conservation easements on certain portions of the Flanders Mansion Property in order to minimize potential impacts to the Lester Rowntree Arboretum and a number of existing trails that would need to be reconfigured as a result of the proposed project. Specifically, this alternative consists of applying a conservation easement (or reducing the parcel size) over portions of the Lester Rowntree Arboretum that are located within the boundaries of the Flanders Mansion parcel. This alternative would also consist of recording an easement or reducing the parcel size along the eastern portion of the driveway to preserve existing trail access to the Mission Trail Nature Preserve (Serra Trail) and the Lester Rowntree Arboretum. A scenic/conservation easement covering the westerly/southwesterly boundary of the site to include areas bordering ESHA would be recorded to minimize potential biological impacts. The purpose of these easements would be to prevent a future property owner from erecting exterior elements or causing changes to the property within areas that are particularly sensitive, provide access to the Lester Rowntree Arboretum, and feasibly retain park benefits. These easements are intended to reduce and/or avoid significant impacts due to the permanent loss of parkland, ensure that park benefits associated with the Property are preserved, provide continued public use of certain portions of the property and protect environmental resources. The total land area covered by the easements would be approximately 0.5 acres. The total remaining area of the property under this alternative would be 0.752 acres and it is assumed that all conditions and mitigation identified in this RDEIR would be applicable. Figure 6.1-1 provides a graphical representation of the alternative parcel configuration and easements. Implementation of this alternative would retain existing park benefits associated with the Flanders Mansion Property to the maximum extent feasible, while still allowing the City to divest itself of the property. This alternative is not use-specific and therefore it is assumed that either a single-family or low-intensity public/quasi-public use could occupy the property.
2.4 ENVIRONMENTALLY SUPERIOR ALTERNATIVE
CEQA requires that an environmentally superior alternative to the proposed project be specified, if one is identified. In general, the environmentally superior alternative is intended to minimize adverse impacts to the project site and surrounding environment while achieving the basis objectives of the project. The “No Project” alternative could be considered the environmentally superior alternative because adverse impacts associated with project construction and operation would be avoided. Both the lease alternatives and the sale with easements and mitigation alternative would significantly reduce potential environmental impacts as compared to the proposed project. Although both lease alternatives and the sale with conservation easements and mitigation alternative would significantly reduce the extent of impacts as compared to the proposed project, the lease alternatives would avoid significant impacts to 1) park and recreation and 2) land use and planning by retaining the property. Consistent with the findings of the 2005 DEIR, as modified, the Lease Alternatives identified in this RDEIR are considered environmentally superior. If the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea determines that the lease alternatives are considered infeasible for specific economic, legal, social, technical, or other considerations, the sale with conservation easements and mitigations would therefore be considered the environmentally superior alternative that also meets the primary project objectives.
2.5 SUMMARY OF PROJECT IMPACTS
A summary of significant project impacts and mitigation measures are provided in Table 2-1. Mitigation measures have been identified to either avoid the impact or reduce the level of significance. The significance after mitigation implementation is also stated.
SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND MITIGATION
Excerpt of “Significant and Unavoidable” Environmental Impacts