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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 17

Meeting Date: October 23, 2001

Subject/Title: Certify Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way Realignment EIR and Adopt General Alignment of Fairview Avenue

Submitted by: J. Stevenson, City Engineer

Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION
Approve a Resolution certifying the general Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way realignment Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approve a resolution adopting the general realignment of Fairview Avenue related to the Northwest Quadrant Infrastructure (CIP Project No. 336-3127) and CIFP 2001-1.

BACKGROUND
During preparation of the Citywide Circulation Element for the General Plan, City staff and Fehr and Peers Associates, Inc., traffic consultants for the City of Brentwood, began discussions regarding the necessity of a future grade separation for Lone Tree Way and the railroad tracks. The Circulation Element of the General Plan is indicating the necessity of Lone Tree Way being a 6-lane road and this clearly indicates that if any road in Brentwood is grade separated from the tracks, Lone Tree Way must be. With this as an obvious starting point, the Fairview Avenue intersection needs to be relocated now in order not to cripple the City’s future north/south circulation in the future when Lone Tree Way is reconstructed under the railroad.

This decision seemed obvious, but to confirm staff’s and the consultant’s conclusion, staff reviewed the facts and concurred with the civil engineering firms of Carlson, Barbee & Gibson, Bellecci & Associates, and Mark Thomas & Associates, all three being professional engineering firms designing a majority of the public infrastructure in the City. All three agreed with the obvious nature of the conclusion of moving Fairview Avenue. Staff then held a meeting with the Public Utilities Commission to review the issue with its staff and the result of that meeting was a letter in support of relocating and realigning Fairview Avenue from the PUC (Public Utility Commission) representative, who was very reluctant to write a letter in support of anything. However, when he saw the site and what was being proposed, he prepared the letter in support of the move.

Deciding to relocate the Fairview Avenue intersection is the easy part. Determining the alignment of the road to get from the new intersection back to the existing Fairview Avenue is the hard part. Staff evaluated five (5) alternative alignments before settling on a preferred general alignment. Staff then decided to prepare an EIR in order to more fully evaluate the proposed general realignment and alternatives.

The EIR examined the five alternatives and went on to designate various mitigation measures necessary during the construction of this project. The light and glare, location, length, height and configuration of the soundwall adjacent to the road were the most important aspects coming out of the EIR, and this information will go a long way toward mitigating the impacts of the future Fairview realignment.

The alternative creating the least impact was presented to the Capital Improvement Program Subcommittee for review. Their support for a particular general alignment, alternative no. 5, was unanimous. This alternative is also recommended by staff because it had the least impact on the fewest parcels.

Furthermore, if Lone Tree Way is grade separated from the railroad in the future, Fairview Avenue must be relocated now or it will have to be closed in the future. The elimination of Fairview Avenue as a north/south street would cripple the City’s north/south traffic circulation.

It is staff’s opinion that there is no choice but to move the Fairview Avenue intersection with Lone Tree Way. The only choice involves the general alignment from the new intersection back to the existing road. The preferred or proposed general alignment minimizes the impacts to the neighborhood and the public and therefore is the staff-recommended general alignment.

FISCAL IMPACT
The cost to do this construction and right-of-way acquisition is incorporated in CIFP 2001-1 (Northwest Quadrant). If this work is not done now, or as a part of the Northwest Quadrant Infrastructure (CIP Project No. 336-3127), the affected properties will develop without dedicating the necessary right-of-way and the future possibility of maintaining Fairview Avenue as a north/south transportation route will be permanently lost.

Attachments:
Resolution
Site Map
Final EIR
Draft EIR

RESOLUTION NO.

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD APPROVING CERTIFICATION OF THE EIR FOR THE FAIRVIEW AVENUE/LONE TREE WAY REALIGNMENT AND APPROVING THE GENERAL ALIGNMENT FOR THE RELOCATION OF THIS INTERSECTION AND ASSOCIATED ROAD RELATED TO THE NORTHWEST QUADRANT INFRASTRUCTURE (CIP PROJECT NO. 336-3127) AND CIFP 2001-1.

WHEREAS, on May 18, 2001, as part of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) process, a Notice of Preparation (NOP) regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way Realignment was distributed to notify interested parties and/or responsible agencies of the intent to prepare a Draft EIR; and

WHEREAS, on August 3, 2001 as part of the CEQA process, the public review and comment period was started on the Draft EIR for the Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way Realignment; and

WHEREAS, on September 17, 2001, as part of the CEQA process, the public review and comment period closed.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,

Section 1. The City Council hereby finds and determines as follows:

A. To promote increased efficiency and safety of the Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way intersection, especially for westbound left-turn movements from Lone Tree Way onto Fairview Avenue, by locating the intersection away from the existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

B. To increase traffic safety, reduce traffic speed and introduce traffic calming measures by adding a horizontal curved element to the Fairview Avenue alignment.

C. To allow for improved railroad operations and safety along the Union Pacific railroad line by relocating the Lone Tree Way/Fairview intersection away from existing railroad tracks.

D. To modify existing property lines near the project site, allowing private property owners maximum use of the their properties.

E. To allow for potential grade separation at Lone Tree Way and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks east of the proposed project.

F. The Circulation Element of the General Plan, as updated by a recent environmental review and approved by the City Planning Commission on September 24, 2001, has a 6 lane width configuration for Lone Tree Way and demonstrates the need for a grade separation at the intersection of Lone Tree Way and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. 

G. The Circulation Element of the General Plan, as updated by a recent environmental review and approved by the City Planning Commission on September 24, 2001, has adopted Fairview Avenue as a critical north/south circulation route to maintain appropriate traffic levels of service at this and related intersections.

H. The California Public Utility Commission has submitted a letter in support of the realignment and grade separation.

I. The City Council has reviewed and assessed the environmental impacts of the proposed project, including the project alternatives, based upon the California Environmental Quality Act, California Public Resources Code Section 21000, et seq. the CEQA guidelines, the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 1500, et seq., the City’s local guidelines and based on the 2001 General Plan Update EIR and planning studies, including a traffic study for planned land uses adjacent to the project.

J. Mitigation measures have been incorporated into the project which are intended to reduce the identified impacts to less than significant levels and no unavoidable significant adverse impacts were identified that cannot be mitigated to a less-than-significant level.

K. A notice of public hearing before the City Council was mailed to all property owners of record within 300 feet of the project and published in the Ledger Dispatch.

L. On October 23, 2001, the City Council conducted a duly noticed public hearing for the above listed items, considered all staff recommendations and public comments.

M. After the close of the public hearing, the City Council considered all public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the presentation by City staff, the staff report, and all other pertinent documents and associated actions regarding the project.

N. The Environmental Impact Report for the project (EIR) has been prepared and circulated in accordance with all applicable provisions of CEQA and represents the independent judgment of the City of Brentwood. Pursuant to Sections 15168(c) and 15162 of the CEQA Guidelines, the City Council finds that the project is within the scope of the development levels evaluated in the Program EIR prepared for the 1993 City of Brentwood General Plan as well as the Program EIR prepared for the 2001 City of Brentwood General Plan Update. The EIR has further evaluated potential project specific impacts to the environment and based upon this evidence, the City Council further finds that any potentially significant adverse environmental impacts generated by this project will be reduced to acceptable levels by implementation of the mitigation measures recommended in the EIR and incorporated as provisions of this project by reference.

O. The City Council further finds that no significant new information within the meaning of Public Resources Code §21092.1 and CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5 has been presented to the City, which would necessitate recirculation of the EIR for further public review.

P. On the basis of the whole record before it, there is no substantial evidence that this project will have a significant effect on the environment, and the EIR reflects the City Council’s independent judgment and analysis.

Q. The proposed project is internally consistent with the 1993 General Plan as well as the proposed 2001 General Plan Update.

R. Approval of the EIR does not constitute in any way approval of the project to construct the intersection improvements, the precise alignment or right-of-way for the realignment, or any modifications to the proposed property lines in the vicinity of the proposed realignment.

Section 2. The City Council of the City of Brentwood acts as follows:

A. Approve and certify the EIR, and Mitigation Monitoring Program and authorize the filing of a Notice of Determination for the project.

B. Approve the general alignment for the relocation of the Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way intersection and associated road as reflected on Exhibit ‘5’ attached to and made a part of this Resolution.

Section 3. The foregoing sections, findings, and staff report statements are found and determined to be true and correct and incorporated herein by this reference.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 23rd day of October 2001 by the following vote:

______________________________________________________________


Final

Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way
Re-alignment EIR

Lead Agency
City of Brentwood
Engineering Department

SCH#2001082002

October 2001

______________________________________________________ 
Introduction 
A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed project was prepared and distributed in July and August, 2001. The proposed project involves the realignment of the Fairview Avenue/Lone Tree Way intersection approximately 550 feet west of the current intersection location to improve intersection operations and traffic safety.

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and implementing CEQA Guidelines, after completion of the Draft EIR, lead agencies are required to consult with and obtain comments from public agencies and organizations having jurisdiction by law over elements of the project and to provide the general public with an opportunity to comment on the Draft EIR. Lead agencies are also required to respond to substantive comments on environmental issues raised during the EIR review period. 

As the lead agency for this project, the City of Brentwood held a 45-day public review period between August 3 and September 17, 2001. 

This document contains all public comments received during the 45-day public review process regarding the DEIR and responses to those comments. Included within the document is an annotated copy of the comment letter, identifying specific comments, followed by a response to that comment. 

Summary of Comment Letters
Comment letters were received by the City of Brentwood during the 45-day public comment period on the DEIR from the following agencies, organizations and other interested parties.

Letter No. Commenter Date
Federal Agencies 
None __

State Agencies 
1 Office of Planning and Research/State Clearinghouse 9/17/01
2 Cal Trans 9/17/01

Individuals 
3 Donald and Karen Hardee 9/11/01


Annotated Comment Letters and Responses 

Office of Planning and Research

OPR, page 2

Letter 1: Office of Planning and Research

• Response 1: Comment is acknowledged that the Office of Planning and Research circulated the Draft EIR for 45 days to State agencies and none responded. No further action is required.

Caltrans Letter

Letter 2: Caltrans 

• Response 2: Caltrans requests that a copy of the DEIR be provided to staff of the State Route 4 Bypass Authority for review. The City of Brentwood Engineering Department has sent a copy of the DEIR to the Bypass Authority.

Hardee Letter

Letter 3: Donald and Karen Hardee

• Response 3.1: Regarding concerns of the commenter with regard to increased traffic volume and traffic safety along Fairview Avenue, the intent of the proposed project is to slow down traffic along that portion of Fairview immediately south of Lone Tree Way. This is proposed to be accomplished by reducing overall traffic speeds with traffic calming devices and adding curves to the design of the roadway. The project itself is not considered a “traffic generating” type of use, such as a residential subdivision or commercial establishment.

• Response 3.2: In regard to concerns about the ability of the commenter to enter and exit their property, this impact has been identified in the DEIR (Impact 4.10-1, property access impacts). Mitigation Measure 10.4-1 has been proposed to minimize property access impacts to residents in the area of the proposed realignment. This mitigation measure would require the Brentwood Engineering Department to ensure that any new driveways would be placed to minimize sight line hazards. Also, any new noise barrier walls within the project area must be placed in a location to minimize traffic conflicts.

• Response 3.3: Regarding current heavy traffic on Fairview Avenue that has resulted in noise impacts especially in the front yard, potential noise impacts of the proposed project have been addressed in Section 4.9 of the DEIR. The DEIR concludes that the proposed re-routing of Fairview Avenue may result in significant noise impacts to local residents (see Impact 4.9-1, operational noise). Mitigation Measure 4.9-1 has been proposed to reduce noise to City of Brentwood exterior noise exposure limits by a requirement to construct a 6-ft. noise barrier wall along portions of the realigned right-of-way. Although the northerly property area of the lot in question is not identified as being significantly impacted by increased vehicle noise, the final design of the noise barrier wall could be adjusted to protect the northerly portion of the lot at 2295 Fairview Avenue. This could be investigated by the Brentwood Engineering Department as part of final engineering documentation for the project.

• Response 3.4: Regarding concerns with increased traffic and the planned construction of the State Route 4 Bypass, please reference Letter 2 from Caltrans, indicating that the Bypass Authority is currently constructing Segment 2 of the Bypass from Lone Tree Way to Balfour Road.

• Response 3.5: Regarding comments on increased growth in the City of Brentwood, this comment is beyond the scope of the proposed project and no response is required.

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