Environmental Services Project Experience

Project Experience

Environmental Services

Vineyards at Sand Creek EIR and Planning Services – City of Antioch 

The proposed project is located in the Sandcreek Focus Area of southern Antioch. The project consists of a 650-unit residential development, parks, and associated infrastructure on approximately 130 acres. Requested project entitlements included a General Plan Amendment from Business Park to Residential, Rezone from Study Zone to Planned Development District with a Master Development Plan, Development Agreement, Vesting Tentative Map, Use Permit, and Design Review. Raney was under contract with the City to provide planning assistance in the review and processing of the project application. In addition, Raney was under contract with the City to prepare an EIR for the project. The EIR addressed all CEQA sections, including Aesthetics, Agricultural Resources, Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Geology and Soils, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Hydrology and Water Quality, Land Use and Planning/ Population and Housing, Mineral Resources, Noise, Public Services and Utilities / Recreation, and Transportation and Circulation. Of particular note is how the proposed project interfaced and potentially impacted Sand Creek. In addition, the project required major roadway and infrastructure improvements that required coordination on timing of improvements with each phase of the project. Raney prepared and presented the Planning Commission and City Council staff reports, as well as assisted with preparation of the necessary ordinances and resolution. The EIR has been certified and the project approved.

Cedar Flat Estates Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration – City of Galt 

The proposed Cedar Flat Estates project is located in northeast Galt and consists of a 120-unit Planned Unit Development, gated subdivision with an associated 10-foot wide bicycle/pedestrian trail along an ephemeral drainage. The lots range in size from 6,510 to 9,410 square feet and the project includes the development of an internal road network to provide access to the proposed residences. The project combines three previously-approved residential projects (the Village at Lexington Heights Project and the Four Seasons and Lonnie Estates Project). The required approvals for the project include approval of a rezone and tentative subdivision map.

Raney worked closely with the City throughout the environmental review process and provided the City with input and guidance regarding appropriate environmental findings and mitigation for the environmental issues identified in the IS/MND. Particular areas of concern included biological resources (e.g., wetlands and Swainson’s hawk foraging habitat), and drainage given the site’s proximity to Deadman Gulch. Other primary issues of concern for the proposed project included air quality / greenhouse gases, noise, and transportation and circulation. The project’s Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration has been completed and was approved in December 2015.

Timberline at Auburn EIR – City of Auburn

The proposed gated age-restricted community will include a total of 860 dwelling units, which includes 78 lofts. The project is proposed to include a range of residential products, including Independent Living buildings (three story), Villa Duplexes, detached Villas, and Assisted Living buildings. The approximately 25 acres on the east side of the project will be a commercial center that will satisfy most of the needs of the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) residents as well as area residents and visitors. North of this center will be additional office and commercial uses. Raney prepared a project-level EIR that will provide a comprehensive analysis of the anticipated environmental effects associated with completion of the proposed project. The primary environmental issues of concern for the Timberline at Auburn project are Aesthetics; Air Quality; Biological Resources; Geology and Soils; Hazards and Hazardous Materials; Hydrology and Water Quality; Land Use & Planning; Mineral Resources; Noise; Public Services; Transportation and Circulation; and Utilities & Service Systems. The Draft EIR was prepared and circulated for public review. The Final EIR was completed and certified, and the project was approved. A lawsuit was filed, and the judge ruled in favor of the applicant; however an appeal has been filed.

Newland Homes Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration – City of Morgan Hill

The Curtis Park Village project included obtaining the appropriate entitlements for the infill development of approximately 250 single-family home sites, 310 multi-family housing units, approximately 50,000 square feet of first floor commercial uses with multi-family housing on upper floors, approximately 150,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving commercial uses, and five to six acres of park/open space.

19J Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment – The Hodgson Company 

The 19J Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA) project included removal of two existing commercial buildings totaling 9,780-sf, associated ancillary buildings, and concrete areas for the construction of a mixed use residential and commercial development. The project includes a 173-unit, 11-story, housing complex with approximately 7,000 sf of ground floor commercial and a second floor parking garage on the corner of 19th Street and J Street in the City of Sacramento. The project met the requirements of a Transit Priority Project and qualified for SB 375 Streamlining. Raney, instead of an Initial Study, prepared an SCEA Initial Study. Key environmental issues from the proposed project included air quality, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, noise, public services, and transportation and circulation. For cultural resources, Raney coordinated with the City of Sacramento Community Development Department to create mitigation measures to ensure the quality of neighboring historic buildings would not be degraded during the construction process and that if historical/cultural resources were discovered that construction would be halted for a professional archeologist to examine the resources. Additionally, geology and soils were of concern based on the height of the proposed building. Transportation and Circulation was an issue of concern for the proposed project due to the impacts that would occur during construction. Raney coordinated with the City of Sacramento Community Development Department to formulate mitigation measures to help facilitate traffic / pedestrian flow during construction. Raney prepared the Public Review Draft SCEA Initial Study and the project has since been approved.

Aspen 1 Environmental Impact Report- City of Sacramento 

The proposed Aspen 1 project includes a mixed use Planned Unit Development with a combination of multiple types of residential project and densities as well as a commercial center and commercial mixed use.  Integrated throughout the PUD are parks and greenways as well as an urban farm. A 30+ acre strip along South Watt Avenue is located within the unincorporated area of the County of Sacramento and requires reorganization (annexation and related detachments) into the City of Sacramento.  In order to develop the 232+ acre site, the necessary entitlements include a General Plan Amendment for the portion of the site to be annexed, a Pre-zoning for the portion of the site to be annexed, a Rezone to PUD and adoption of a Schematic Plan and PUD Guidelines, Large Lot Map, Tentative Subdivision Map with Subdivision Modifications, a Development Agreement, and an Inclusionary Housing Plan. Raney prepared the Draft EIR; addressing all CEQA topics, including traffic, air quality and climate change, hazards, flooding, and geology due to the former mining of the site, as well as the issues necessary for Sacramento County LAFCo to utilize the EIR as a Responsible Agency. For Aspen-1 EIR, Raney included a separate Reorganization Chapter in the EIR to facilitate LAFCo’s use of the EIR for just a small portion of the proposed project. Because of the site’s history as a former mining site, Raney coordinated with the City Engineer to create mitigation measures to address the potential geological hazards associated with unstable soil conditions including expansive soils and subsidence that could potentially expose people to hazards. Raney coordinated with SMAQMD, City of Sacramento Engineer, and the Community Development Department to develop mitigation measures to address the impacts related to increases in health risks and increases in PM10 and PM2.5 emissions from diesel-exhaust during construction. Additionally, mitigation measures were created to address the impacts related to the loss of Swainson’s hawk and other raptor habitats due to on-site construction.  The environmental document was certified and the project was approved.

Johnson Rancho Environmental Impact Report and Planning Services – City of Wheatland

The proposed Johnson Rancho EIR project was primarily composed of three separate properties – the Johnson Rancho property, the Bear River Hop Farm property, and the Dave Browne property.  Requested entitlements included annexation, General Plan amendment, and pre-zone.  The proposed project includes the development of up to approximately 13,141 residential lots, varying from Very Low Density Residential to High Density Residential, on approximately 4,069 acres located within Yuba County.  In addition, development of the project includes other land uses, such as Employment / Office, Commercial, Civic Center, Elementary and Middle Schools, Parks and Open Space, and a potential hospital.

During the course of the project, Raney served as both the environmental consultant and planning consultant for the City of Wheatland.  As the planning consultant, Raney worked with the project applicant to design preliminary standards and guidelines for future on-site development, as well as assisting with the annexation process.  As the environmental consultant, Raney ensured all CEQA related issues were resolved and thoroughly evaluated.  The Johnson Rancho project had significant historical and biological resources on the site, which required Raney to provide comprehensive and intricate analyses to mitigate CEQA issues that could potentially arise.  Additionally, given the project’s close proximity to Beale Air Force Base, the EIR included analysis of the proposed project’s compatibility with the Beale Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan.

The EIR also included components necessary for Yuba County LAFCo action as a responsible agency.  Raney prepared the Draft and Final EIRs, the staff reports for the Planning Commission and City Council, and negotiated a Development Agreement on behalf of the City.  The EIR has since been certified and the project approved.  Upon certification, Raney additionally prepared the application to LAFCo, including the Plan for Services, on behalf of the City, and negotiated a Master Tax Sharing Agreement with Yuba County to facilitate the LAFCo review.  Both the Tax Sharing Agreement and LAFCo annexation have been approved.

Eastview Specific Plan Environmental Impact Report – City of Galt 

The Eastview Specific Plan project consists of a mixed residential development, including parks, open space, schools, minor commercial and public facilities, and associated infrastructure on approximately 337 acres.  Requested entitlements included Annexation, Pre-zoning, General Plan Amendment, Specific Plan Approval, Vesting Tentative Map(s), and creation of a Mello-Roos or other special financing district.  Raney, under contract with the City of Galt, prepared an EIR to address the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed project and provide associated planning services.  Potential environmental impacts analyzed in the EIR include aesthetics, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, agricultural and forestry resources, noise, population and housing, public services and utilities, and transportation and circulation. Raney needed to analyze possible hazard issues from the project site’s history of being used as agriculture land with possible soil contamination. The Specific Plan and Annexation area included both participating and non-participating properties. The EIR addressed the non-participating properties at a program-level while a project-level analysis was prepared for the Liberty Ranch portion of the project. The EIR was further prepared to serve Sacramento County LAFCo at the time of processing the annexation.  Raney and staff had been in close coordination with LAFCo staff regarding the annexation boundaries, process and EIR.  In addition, Raney assisted City staff with application routing, agency coordination, public outreach, preparation of staff reports, and project management. Both the project has been approved and the EIR has been certified. It should be noted that Raney is currently under contract to prepare and process the annexation application for submittal to LAFCo.

Galt Walmart Environmental Impact Report – City of Galt 

The Galt Walmart EIR project is another project that faced a great deal of public scrutiny, thus requiring extensive public facilitation on behalf of and in coordination with the City. The project included the development of 11.26 acres of vacant land zoned Highway Commercial (HC) into a retail building and consisted of one (1) 132,295-square-foot building. Consistent with the City’s Big Box Ordinance, a Conditional Use Permit was required for approval. Because the proposed tenant is a Walmart, the EIR was prepared to address the basic CEQA issues as well as impacts related to urban decay. Given the proximity to residential uses, noise was an additional concern. Raney prepared the Draft EIR and Final EIR as well as responded to numerous comments received at the public hearings. The EIR was certified and the project approved; however, a lawsuit was subsequently filed. The judge rejected many of the petitioner’s claims with one exception; the judge required additional information and analysis related to forklift back-up beeper noise. Raney subsequently conducted additional analysis and a revised noise chapter was prepared. The City Council has since re-certified the EIR and the project has been approved and built.

Mace Ranch Innovation Center Environmental Impact Report – City of Davis 

The Mace Ranch Innovation Center project consists of the proposed development of 2,654,000 square feet of research/office/R&D uses on a 212-acre agricultural site within unincorporated Yolo County, adjacent to the City of Davis city limits. The applicant is seeking to develop the project within the City of Davis; therefore, the project site would need to be annexed to the City. The applicant is seeking approval of the following entitlements from the City of Davis: Annexation, General Plan Amendment, prezone, preliminary planned development, site plan and architectural review, and development agreement. If the project is approved by Davis City Council, the project would then go to the voters for ultimate approval, pursuant to the City’s Measure R process. If approved by the voters, the applicant will seek Yolo County LAFCO’s approval of a Sphere of Influence (SOI) amendment, to include the project site within the City’s SOI, and subsequently annexation of the project site to the City of Davis. Raney prepared a comprehensive Draft EIR for the proposed Mace Ranch Innovation Center project, which has been released to the public for review and comment. The Draft EIR includes all analyses required by CEQA, an equal-weight analysis of a mixed-use alternative, two equal-weight cumulative scenarios, as well as a full urban decay analysis. All environmental topics within Appendix G of the CEQA Guidelines have been evaluated within the Draft EIR, in addition to Appendix F of the CEQA Guidelines, concerning energy impacts.  Due to the size and complexity of the project and Draft EIR, the public comment period was 90 days.  Raney has prepared the Final EIR, including responses to the extensive comments received.  The project has since been placed on hold by the project applicants.

Plumpjack Squaw Valley Inn Environmental Impact Report – County of Placer

The PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn project includes the demolition of the existing on-site hospitality structures (e.g., 60-room hotel and conference center) to construct a new, 61-room multi-level hotel, two residential condominium buildings totaling 34 units, and an underground parking garage. The project is located on a 3.2-acre parcel two miles west of State route (SR) 89 at 1920 Squaw Valley Road. The project entitlements include approval of a Tentative Map, Conditional Use Permit, Variance(s) and a Design Review. Raney prepared a detailed Initial Study to determine whether an EIR would be required for the proposed project. While many environmental topics were fully addressed in the Initial Study, it was determined in consultation with the County that several issues warranted further analysis in an EIR.

The PlumpJack Inn site is located in close proximity to fault lines. As a result, for the PlumpJack Inn analysis, two fault evaluation reports were prepared by Holdrege & Kull to evaluate the level of risk to project structures and occupants associated with these fault traces. A total of seven faults are located in Squaw Valley, and while none of the faults cross the PlumpJack Inn project site, three of the seven faults are located in close proximity. The PlumpJack Inn project was subject to Wildland Urban Interface standards in accordance with Chapter 7A of the California Building Code. Raney addressed the risk of wildland fire in a detailed Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Plan (EPEP), which was incorporated into the Hazards Chapter of the EIR. Raney reviewed defensible space requirements, ignition-resistant materials standards, and evacuation routes to determine the level of risk that a wildfire in the Valley might pose to the proposed project structures and residents/guests. The EPEP included several recommendations for the project’s design and operation to ensure that the risk of wildfire is adequately addressed. Hydrology and Water Quality was an additional issue of concern due to the proposed subterranean parking garage being located partially within an underground aquifer when groundwater levels are high. Raney conducted extensive coordination with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to ensure that the mitigation for the project’s construction dewatering operations met the rigorous requirements of the Lahontan Board. Additionally, the project site is located near Squaw Creek, which is on the State’s 303 D list of impaired water bodies, necessitating mitigation to ensure further sedimentation of the creek would not occur.  The Draft EIR has circulated for public review and Raney is in the process of completing the Final EIR in advance of the public hearings on the project.

Galt Utilities Master Plan Initial Study – City of Galt 

Raney, under contract with the City of Galt, prepared an Initial Study for the City’s Utilities Master Plan, comprised of a Wastewater Collection System Master Plan, Water Distribution System Master Plan, and Storm Drainage System Master Plan.  The City prepared and adopted the Utilities Master Plan in order to meet the anticipated new demand associated with the 2030 General Plan update.  According to the General Plan, the service area will increase from approximately 3,763 acres to approximately 8,817 acres at full build-out of the General Plan boundaries.  The Initial Study was prepared to provide program-level mitigation addressing what each future project would need to comply with in order to minimize the need for future environmental documents. The Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration was approved along with the Utilities Master Plan.

Curtis Park Village Combined Sewer and Regional Storage Project Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration – CEQA Plus – Domus Development 

The Curtis Park Village Combined Sewer project consists of the construction of various sewer segments and a pumping station, as well as the construction of a large underground storage facility within a proposed residential community known as Curtis Park Village. The project stores approximately 300,000 cubic feet of storm water during heavy rainfall periods in an effort to lower the hydraulic grade line and thus reducing the potential for flooding in the Curtis Park neighborhood and other surrounding areas. Because of the potential to utilize the Sacramento Revolving Loan Fund, Raney prepared an Initial Study and CEQA Plus document for the City. The Initial Study, prepared by Raney, analyzed three options for the proposed project to determine the best available option for the City with the least amount of environmental impacts. The Initial Study was prepared concurrently with the preparation the Curtis Park Valley EIRs, necessitating thorough coordination between Raney and the City to ensure that the Initial Study adequately complimented the EIR. Additionally, Raney coordinated with the Department of Toxic Substances to prepare a CEQA analysis of the updated remedial action plan for the project site while concurrently preparing the EIR for the associated Curtis Park Village project.

El Dorado County Public Safety Facility Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment – County of El Dorado 

The Public Safety Facility Project in El Dorado County involves the development of a new facility to consolidate the operations of the El Dorado Sheriff’s Department. The County Facilities Department served as the CEQA lead agency and NEPA responsible agency for the project on behalf of the Sheriff’s Department. The 30.34-acre project site is within the Diamond Springs area of unincorporated El Dorado County, with access from Missouri Flat Road. The proposed development area for the public safety facility is limited to approximately 18 acres of the total site area. The major project components include approximately 106,000 square feet of building space, allocated amongst four buildings, including buildings for the following major divisions: administration, training, morgue, and search and rescue/maintenance. In addition, the County is proposing to develop a 7-acre solar farm on the western portion of the project site, which will provide power to other County facilities.

Raney prepared a Draft EIR for the project, working closely with the County Facilities Department. Generally, the Draft EIR evaluates the following CEQA topics: aesthetics, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, noise, public services, traffic and circulation, utilities, and alternatives. One area of key concern during the environmental review was the sites previous use as a lumber storage area. The project EIR was certified by the Board of Supervisors.

South of Highway 50 Backbone Infrastructure Project Initial Study – City of Folsom

The South of Highway 50 Backbone Infrastructure project consists of the construction of the backbone infrastructure to support the Folsom Plan Area, south of Highway 50 (US 50) in the City of Folsom, CA. The backbone infrastructure is located within the Folsom Plan Area Specific Plan (FPASP) boundaries with some infrastructure improvements and connections north of and crossing US 50. The project consists of two main components: 1) updates to the Storm Drainage Master Plan, Water Infrastructure Master Plan, and Sewer Master Plan prepared for the implementation of the FPASP; and 2) South of US 50 backbone infrastructure buildout. The project infrastructure also included Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) substations as well as at-grade rail crossings.

Raney, under contract with the City of Folsom, prepared an Initial Study to address the key environmental issues of aesthetics, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, noise, and transportation and circulation. The Initial Study included a project-level analysis of the proposed infrastructure improvements, relying on information from the existing FPASP EIR where feasible. In order to provide an adequate CEQA review, Raney coordinated with the development community to determine the likely phases of development that would impact the need for infrastructure improvements as well as coordinating closely with City staff, particularly Public Works as a key stakeholder, to ensure adequacy in addressing City infrastructure needs and consistency with pertinent City planning documents.

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