What's an EIR?
EIR stands for Environmental Impact Report. By law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires state and local agencies to follow a protocol of analysis and public disclosure of the potential environmental impacts of a development. The purpose of an EIR is to inform decision-makers and the general public of the environmental effects of a proposed project. The EIR process is intended to provide information sufficient to evaluate a project and its potential for significant impacts on the environment; to examine methods of reducing adverse impacts; and to consider alternatives to the project.
Where do I find info on the baseball stadium EIR?
The San Jose Planning Dept. maintains a web page listing all the EIR's for projects in the city.:
For the baseball stadium project, there are actually 2 EIR's.
A full EIR was completed and certified in 2007, when the stadium project was first seriously considered. This EIR contains information and analysis in all of the categories mandated by CEQA:
- LAND USE
- POPULATION, EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING
- TRANSPORTATION, CIRCULATION AND PARKING
- AIR QUALITY
- BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES
- GEOLOGY, SOILS AND SEISMICITY
- HYDROLOGY AND WATER QUALITY
- HAZARDS AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
- CULTURAL AND PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES
- VISUAL AND AESTHETIC RESOURCES
- SHADE/SHADOW AND LIGHT/GLARE
- PUBLIC SERVICES AND FACILITIES
Recently, a Supplemental EIR (SEIR) was done because of some traffic errors in the original EIR, and because the project has been somewhat modified. It contains an updated project description, and basically redoes the traffic, parking, and noise sections.
Public comments on the SEIR (some sharply critical) can be found here, and the First Amendment of the SEIR, with the city's responses to the comments, can be found here.
What are the major impacts predicted by the EIR?
The EIR summarizes the predicted impacts as follows: "significant unavoidable cumulative impacts to transportation and circulation, air quality, noise, visual resources, light and glare, and historic resources."
Specifically, these impacts include:
- Freeways would experience a significant impact from project traffic along 16 segments of I-280, I-680, I-880, SR-87;
- Long-term project-related regional emissions would exceed the BAAQMD thresholds of significance for ozone precursors;
- Traffic noise levels along W. San Fernando Street would exceed the City’s short-range noise standards;
- Stadium events would increase the ambient noise level resulting in impacts to nearby residential land uses;
- Construction activities would result in short-term increases in noise;
- Temporary fireworks displays would result in increases in noise;
- Two structures listed on the City of San Jose Historic Resources Inventory as Structures of Merit, which also appear to be candidates to be City Landmarks and eligible for the California Register, would be demolished;
- The San Jose Diridon Station, a City landmark listed in the National Register, would sustain indirect impacts due to demolition of adjacent buildings and direct impacts due to the alteration of the character of the Station’s setting;
- Nighttime operation of the stadium would increase light and glare in the area and present a nuisance to surrounding land uses;
- The generation of greenhouse gas emissions, which would represent a cumulatively considerable contribution to climate change impacts.
What other impacts can I expect?
Critics of the EIR believe the following impacts are also highly likely:
- widespread downtown parking shortages, particularly for day games and for simultaneous events (e.g. baseball and hockey games);
- significant traffic congestion on local streets, as fans escape clogged freeways to find alternate routes, and look for parking;
- parking shortages for other downtown theaters and businesses within a 1 mile radius of stadium;
- parking permits required within 1 mile radius.