The local process for reviewing projects is twofold; environmental review and land use review. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires local jurisdictions to assess potential environmental impacts of land use decisions while the land use review process is guided by requirements of the San Francisco Planning Code.
The Planning Department has determined that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must be prepared for this project. The purpose of the EIR is to provide information about potential significant physical environmental effects of the proposed project, to identify possible ways to minimize any significant effects, and to describe and analyze possible alternatives to the proposed project. Prior to making a decision as to whether to approve or disapprove a project, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors must review and consider the information contained in the EIR.
The EIR is analyzing the issues listed below:
- Agriculture and Forest Resources
- Air Quality
- Biological Resources
- Cultural and Paleontological Resources
- Geology, Soils, and Mineral Resources
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Hazards and Hazardous Materials
- Hydrology and Water Quality
- Land Use
- Population and Housing
- Public Services
- Transportation and Circulation
- Utilities and Service Systems
- Wind and Shadow
The draft EIR is underway and is expected to be available for public review in Summer, 2012 at which time the public will have a minimum of 45 days to comment on the draft document. The public review period will culminate in a public hearing after which the draft EIR will be finalized including a response to public comments.
Land Use Review
The primary land use approval required for the project is a Conditional Use for a Planned Unit Development (PUD). This application was submitted in January 2012. The requirements for approval of a PUD can be found in Sections 303 and 304 of the Planning Code. Attached to the PUD will be a Design for Development document that will define design controls for the project. These controls will ensure that the master plan is implemented as approved as it is built out over time.
Planning Department staff will make a recommendation to the Planning Commission as to whether or not to approve the project. The Planning Commission will consider this recommendation but is not bound by it. After action by the Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors must approve a Special Use District that will implement required changes to the Planning Code for the project.
There are many more approvals that will be required to implement the project but they are of a much more technical nature involving streets, mapping and utilities. Moreover, we anticipate that the project will be considered at a public hearing of the Planning Commission in Fall 2012.