Project Update & Related News
October 18, 2013
Public Review Summary Report Now Available on Project Website
The Public Review Summary Report has been prepared which summarizes the Draft EIR public review process and provides a detailed account of the public noticing and public meetings conducted, and of the public comments received on the Draft EIR.
403 written and oral comments were submitted during an extended public comment period between May 13, 2013 and August 12, 2013. Approximately 300 separate individuals, organizations, or agencies commented on the Draft EIR.
To access the Public Review Summary Report, click here.
The City of Santa Cruz (City) and Soquel Creek Water District (District) have pre-released these comments in advance of any analysis and response to them. The usual CEQA process entails releasing the comments and questions with accompanying answers and responses at the same time. This allows for citizens to have complete context and a better understanding of the comments/questions posed by them or others. However, due to considerable public interest on the proposed project and at the request of City/District customers, we have deviated from the traditional approach and pre-released the comments.
The City and District have not made decisions about the degree to which comments will be responded to or the scope and timing of further work. We invite those interested in the project to read the Draft EIR(http://www.scwd2desal.org/Page-EIR_Docs.php) which contains answers or directly addresses many of the questions and comments submitted.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions related to the comments within the Summary Report.
Question: How many comments were submitted?
Answer: In total 403 written and oral comments were received on the Draft EIR, including 74 oral comments received at the public meetings and 329 written correspondence. Approximately 300 separate individuals, organizations, or agencies commented on the Draft EIR. Eighteen comment letters were received from agencies, including almost all of the federal, state, regional, and local agencies involved in the project as permitting, trustee, or responsible agencies. Comments were also received from non-profit groups, attorneys, businesses, and individuals.
Many comments request additional information and further study. Information is already in the Draft EIR (an appendix or reference) to respond to a number of these comments but may need to be presented in a more user friendly manner. However, there are comments that may require additional analysis.
Question: Are there responses to the comments submitted?
Answer: No, not yet. The City Council and District Board will be considering options for furthering review of the comments on the Draft EIR.
Question: Why are comments being released without being answered or responded to?
Answer: While many projects that go through a Draft EIR do not post comments before the final EIR is completed, it was a request by City/District customers that we include this in our process.
The typical CEQA process entails release of the public comments and questions with accompanying responses and answers. This allows for citizens to have complete context and a better understanding to the comments/questions posed by them or others. As stated above, the City and District are deviating from this approach and pre-releasing the comments.
Question: How will comments be used in the decision making process?
Answer: The scwd2 partnership appreciates the time taken by community members to review the Draft EIR and provide comments. Depending upon direction from the City Council and District Board, responses would help 1) further vet alternatives to the proposed project; 2) fully inform the public about the project and alternatives; and 3) assist in the eventual decision making on the project by the City, District, and community.
Currently, the City and District are defining the degree to which comments will be responded to and also the scope and timing of further work.