On Monday night, the Lafayette Planning Commission met to discuss the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of the Terraces of Lafayette Project. At least 40 members of the public were present at the meeting, and many shared their opinions about both the report and the project.
The project, which has been strongly opposed by the public in the past, involves a 315-unit multi-family development on the corner of Pleasant Hill Road and Deer Hill Road. The purpose of the EIR, compiled by city staff, is to provide information to decision makers and the public about the potential environmental impacts and effects of the project.
Allan Moore, an attorney for the O'Brian Land Company who was representing the developer, began the meeting by stating his disappointment with the report. He said that the EIR failed to provide the commission with the information that they needed, including extensive consulting information and reports.
"We believe, respectfully, that the report violates our constitutional rights and our due process rights," Moore said.
Other members of the development team commented on the report, stating that key documents were missing, including work done by the development team.
Many members of the public stated their disagreement with the project. Traffic issues were a main point of concern.
"I’m not against affordable housing. I’m not against in-fill. What I am against is guaranteed gridlock," said Linda Riebel, a Lafayette resident.
James Wilson, also from Lafayette, said that both the visual impacts and the traffic impacts of the project would be horrendous.
"I’ve been commuting that road for 32 years..." Wilson said. "I can tell you it's gonna have a heck of an impact."
While some members of the public focused on the project itself, others pointed out issues within the EIR.
Vali Frank, a Shangri La Road resident and former attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, expressed her concern about the air quality section of the report, along with the issue of public transportation, which was discussed in the report.
"The agency which is specifically responsible for public transportation in this area has identified this as a poor project," Frank said.
A few members of the public, however, disagreed with these view points, and showed their support for the project.
Charles Clark, a former Lafayette resident, said that he felt Lafayette is anti-growth, anti-development and anti-residential housing, and that the city should follow through with this project.
Bruce Peterson, a Lafayette resident, referred to the land in question as an “ugly old quarry,” and supported the project.
The Circulation Committee meeting scheduled before Monday's Planning Commission hearing was cancelled due to lack of quorum. The committee had been set to discuss traffic issues regarding this project, but it is unclear if another meeting will be scheduled between now and June 28, when the public review period of the EIR closes.
All comments submitted to the city before June 28 will be included in the Final EIR. Chair Jeanne Ateljevich ended the discussion of the Terraces with a clarification that the approval of the EIR does not constitute the approval of the project.