By Elaine De Man
I think the people who prepared the Draft EIR are assuming that no one is going to really read it very carefully. But I just took a closer look at the so-called traffic impacts and mitigations they are using to justify this deforestation proposal and am somewhat shocked by some of the presumptions. Below is my opinion on traffic issues and I would urge anyone who lives or works in Angwin to take note.
If you agree with any or all of it you should make your voice heard by writing to Brian Bordona, Supervising Planner Napa County Planning, Building, and Environmental Services Department 1195 Third Street, 2nd Floor Napa, CA 94559 Or you can email him at Brian.Bordona@countyofnapa.org Your comments must be sent or postmarked by February 25 if they are to be considered.
The information I am citing can all be found in Table 1 of the DraftEIR, linked here. Remember, your comments will have more impact if you cite the report, but speak from a personal point of view.
Identified impacts concerning traffic and circulation patterns (Impacts 4.12-1 and 4.12-3) and the proposed mitigations only deal with activities occurring during the actual timber harvest operations. There is no mention of the increased traffic on Cold Springs Road that will be generated once planting, maintaining, and harvesting operations begin.
There are three schools along Cold Springs Road! To suggest that advising drivers of large vehicles to “use caution” is sufficient (Mitigation Measure 4.12-1) to protect the well-being of the children or their families is ludicrous.
Large trucks will be “advised” not to exceed 15 miles per hour, ostensibly for safety reasons. But this “mitigation” will create major impacts to all of the residents on Cold Springs Road AND to parents dropping off their children at school. The impact of the mitigation is not addressed in the Draft EIR.
“All construction activities are restricted to Monday through Saturday 7 am to 7 pm. No activities shall take place on Sundays and holidays.” (Mitigation Measure 4.12-1) That’s 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, that the residents of Angwin can be expected to be impacted by the “construction” activities (which will include timber harvest activities and “ripping” of the soil) of this particular project. Don’t you think this “mitigation” will have an impact on the local residents? Nor does the mitigation take into account that Angwin is, by and large, a Seventh Day Adventist Community that honors Saturday as their Sabbath.
To state that “Construction and operational traffic generated by the Proposed Project will not result in inadequate emergency access” (Impact 4.12-4) is simply false, by the very nature of the proposed mitigation (discussed above) suggesting that large trucks, which could occupy the entire roadway, not exceed 15 mph. This would create a virtual roadblock for ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles trying to access Cold Springs and Las Posadas Roads and the 4-H Camp in Las Posadas State Forest that hosts hundreds of children each summer, all summer long, and their adult counselors and supervisors.
I would make the same conclusion about Impact 4.12-6: “Traffic generated by construction and operation of the Proposed Project does not have the potential to impact pedestrian, bicycle, and public transport in the vicinity of the project.” It is simply not true. Neither pedestrians, bicyclists, or school buses transporting children to 4-H Camp in Las Posadas will want to navigate along a road shared with the types of trucks and other heavy equipment that will be used during the deforestation phase of this project.
I just don’t understand why the residents of this small rural community should be subject to the inconveniences and dangers being imposed on them by one man’s commercial enterprise, which is basically a “hobby” and offers no benefit at all to the local community. The community doesn’t need it. The county doesn’t need it. And it is unnecessary and damaging projects such as this that puts the whole concept of the Ag Preserve in jeopardy from the voters.