Public Hearing for Large Shopping Center Approval

On Monday, February 27th-2012, the Petaluma City Council will be voting to certify the Environmental Report for another large shopping center in our community. Located along N. McDowell at Rainier Avenue, It’s called “Deer Creek Village”, and it consists of a 343,998 sq. ft. sprawling commercial retail project, that includes a 44,450 sq. ft. fitness center.

The certification of the project’s CEQA document is the most important phase of the approval process -yet, the majority of the City Council members are poised to approve this CEQA document that fails to address the project’s impacts on our community. How can the City Council approve this impact analysis, when they know it does not meet the legal obligations of CEQA Laws? They simply do not have sufficient information to allow it to move forward.

Approval of this shopping center will be one of the most important planning decisions that our city will make – do not let our elected officials side step their legal obligation to our community!

As the City gears up to approve more sprawl and blight in our community, please consider the issues below:

1) The project will have an enormous impact on traffic conditions, adding up to 10,000 more automobiles daily on McDowell and the surrounding streets. The CEQA required analysis grossly neglects the traffic impacts and provides no real means of mitigating these problems. Instead the City consultants have tethered all traffic mitigation to the City’s General Plan. This is a major problem because, the GP traffic mitigation for the cumulative impacts of both projects (including the Target project) relies solely upon infrastructure (e.g. Rainier Crosstown connector) which, since the elimination of RDA funding, the City does not have the means, or funding resources to build. Our city’s main thoroughfares and intersections already have major problems, it is irresponsible to allow these roadways to degrade any further by adding more cars by way of more auto-centric development approvals.

2) The project EIR does not contain a complete water usage assessment. Again they tier water usage and mitigation off the GP’s EIR which cites conservation measures through the use of “recycle water” to off-set future development needs. The problem with this theory is, there is no plan and no funding to build infrastructure to accomplish this goal. At present, it is not been stated how much water the project will use. Based upon the known water use, of 13 million gallons per year for the Target project, we can estimate Deer Creek Village, with its proposed Fitness Center, to use even more than the Kenilworth project.

3) With this weeks announcement that Friedman’s would possibly locate at this site, the City still has not addressed the true economic conditions of blight once both projects are up and running. The economic impact analysis is still an essential componant of the CEQA process. For this very reason, to prevent blight! Yet, the City Council has ignored the findings of the analysis that explicitly states the loss of millions of dollars in sales from existing retailers to absorb the additonal 700,000 sq.ft. of new retail in our community. The Financial & Economic Impact Anaylsis clearly points out the high likelihood of Plaza North’s Kmart and CVS closing. This is exactly what the CEQA Laws were intended to prevent, unnecessary blighted conditions -but, the City Council has ignored this essential element of sustainable growth under the laws.
There are many more problems that need to be raised and addressed in the coming months regarding the cummulative impacts of two very large shopping centers in our community. Please join us in opposition to this project and request that the Council not allow the FEIR to move forward without a comprehensive analysis of the effects on our community, and suffcient means to mitigate the project’s impacts.


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