El Dorado County Public Safety Facility EIR and EA / FONSI

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.

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General Details

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.

The County of El Dorado also sought federal USDA Rural Development grant funding for the construction of the project. As a result, NEPA review of the project was also required. Raney worked with the County Facilities Department and USDA, NEPA lead agency, to prepare an Environmental Assessment / Finding of No Significant Impact for the project, utilizing USDA’s environmental guidance for Class II actions to inform the format and content of the EA analysis. It should be noted that the USDA updated their environmental guidance halfway through the preparation of the NEPA review causing Raney to update the analysis conducted. Raney was the first to implement the USDA’s updated environmental guidance and the EA / FONSI has since been approved by the USDA.