February 7, 2014
Board of Directors, SLO Coastal Unified School District
City Council Members & Community Planners
RE: Environmental Impact Report for the Johnson Avenue Housing Project
State Clearing House #2012051022 & City Files 56-08
We are property owners at 1650 Woodland Court in Bowden Ranch in close proximity to the proposed site in the Fixlini neighborhood and request that the City disallow rezoning of the proposed site.
We have read the EIR above and find it too narrow in scope to adequately address problems which not only negatively impact our right of way to our property but will negatively impact city services which have so far made our property desirable. The impact of adding 454 new residents making 585 trips to and from this site each day through already overloaded thoroughfares should cause great alarm to city planners.
We find the selective wording of the EIR along with manipulated numbers to be an attempt to make this project sound like it will benefit this city, whereas the reality is a project of this nature would hobble a great portion of it at enormous tax payer expense and from which it might not recover. In some cases conclusions in this study are outright false and represent only the opinions of those involved in the study. In particular, we take exception to terms indicating the impact of this project as less than significant or significant but mitigatable.
The problems NOT addressed adequately in this report are:
- Traffic concerns of adjacent neighborhoods including San Luis Drive, Buchon and Pismo Streets, French Hospital and Medical facilities along Johnson Avenue and connecting streets have not been addressed in this study except in a marginal way, and commuters who use Johnson Avenue as a main artery to and from schools, churches and businesses as well as to the 101 Freeway have not been notified or given a voice in how this project could affect them either during construction or for the long term.
- The allocation of 190 parking spaces to serve 454 new residents and only 18 spaces for guests is wishful thinking. Undoubtedly guest spaces will be taken by the residents themselves, leaving guests to park on adjacent streets. Mail Service, delivery services, maintenance vehicles and trash pick up may also impact the arrival and departure of residents.
- Maps illustrating adjacent neighborhoods are incomplete and do not reflect the number of homes or businesses dependent on Johnson Avenue and the most heavily impacted intersections. Photographs presented are misleading as they were taken at moments when cars are not present.
- 47 residences exist on Lizzie, Wilding, Woodland Drive, Woodland Court and Skylark as well as 19 residences on Fixlini immediately adjacent to Lizzie. All 66 of these residences depend entirely on the Lizzie/Johnson intersection to access and egress their homes. Assuming each residence has two vehicles each of which make two trips a day through this intersection any traffic study should conclude that the proposed project of 585 trips a day must also include the existing traffic of 264 trips a day bringing a total of 849 trips a day not including traffic to the adult school or that of visitors or service vehicles or that of traffic from French Hospital on the opposite side of Johnson.
- French Hospital has 606 parking spaces and 10 motorcycle spaces for medical staff, patients and visitors. It must be assumed that traffic in and out of the French Hospital parking lot continues 24/7 and that access to this facility must not be delayed.
- Emergency Services of Police, Fire, Ambulance and Rescue will be interrupted and impeded by increased traffic especially when attempting to access French Hospital during construction and for the long term. Emergencies do not happen only at off peak hours.
- School Buses, US Postal Service, Fed Ex, UPS, Transit Buses and Trash collection trucks all make frequent stops on Johnson, Lizzie and streets noted above and should be taken into consideration.
- An existing impact on Bowden Ranch and the Fixlini neighborhood which is not fully appreciated is the increased use of the public trails accessed from Lizzie Street and for which no parking is specifically designated.
- One idea advanced by the EIR to mitigate traffic would be to cut off parent/student drop offs at the High School. What then? Many of the high school students travel a number of miles to school. How would they arrive and depart otherwise?
The EIR does not include input from the high school faculty or facilities personnel on the numbers of vehicles accessing the high school on a daily basis but it is safe to note that gridlock routinely occurs in front of the high school and drivers in their frustration routinely resort to bypassing the left turn lane at California and enter the San Luis Drive neighborhood where they then execute U turns at Cazadero then make their turn on to California. Students and faculty trying to negotiate a left turn out of the High School parking lot face this gridlock. Visibility for the left turn in this situation is limited.
- The San Luis Drive neighborhood has 119 Residences. If each residence has 2 vehicles each making two vehicle trips a day through the San Luis Drive/California intersection it can be assumed that 476 vehicle trips can be added to the numbers from the high school. One solution offered is a “round about” however no logical explanation is given on how this might improve existing traffic. The existing 3 way stop works reasonably well. It’s just the NUMBER of vehicles which are the problem.
- The congestion at California and San Luis Drive is compounded by student foot traffic where students tend to stream across the street one after another halting traffic longer than necessary. There is no mitigation offered to solve this problem in the way of a pedestrian overpass or tunnel.
- Of lesser importance is the description of the style of the buildings proposed. We appreciate that the proposed profile of the building has been kept to a minimum but style will not matter if the increased traffic to and from these buildings and existing residences is such that people cannot reasonably access their property without traffic congestion.
The logic advanced in this section of the EIR is such that because Johnson Avenue already has a hodge podge of residential and commercial styles, this new rather unimpressive generic style of the proposed project will “fit right in”. Many wrongs do not make a right.
We do not object, in principle, to a development proposal within the parameters of R-2 and PF zoning.
and Saeed Davar, PE