SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze the potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects associated with the No Action alternative and three large-scale, mixed-use development alternatives in the Elverta Specific Plan area, Sacramento County, California. This notice is to inform interested parties of the availability of the DEIS and to solicit comments.
DEIS LOCATION: The DEIS is available for review in the following formats:
o Corps website at: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permitting/EnvironmentalImpactStatements.aspx,
o Compact Disks are available per request from the Corps by contacting Marc Fugler at (916)-557-5255, firstname.lastname@example.org; 1325 J Street, Room 1350, Sacramento, California 95864
• Hard Copy is available for review at:
o Sacramento County Public Library, Rio Linda Branch, 902 Oak Lane, Rio Linda, California 95673
AUTHORITY: The three build alternatives analyzed in the DEIS would require authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
LOCATION: The Elverta Specific Plan area is located on approximately 1,744.6 acres in north-central Sacramento County, California. The Plan area is bounded by U Street to the south, Gibson Ranch Park to the east, the Sacramento County/Placer County line to the north and rural residential properties to the west. Within the Plan area, 563 acres (referred to as the participating parcels) are owned by several individual landowners (see Figure 1).
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Elverta Owners Group (Applicant) is seeking authorization from the Corps for the placement of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to develop the participating parcels within the Elverta Specific Plan area. The overall project purpose is a large scale, mixed use, mixed density master planned community within the north-central Sacramento County area. All of the action alternatives include the following land uses: residential, commercial/office, schools, parks, drainage/riparian corridor, detention, open space and infrastructure, including roadways.
The alternatives considered in detail are: (A) Applicant’s Preferred Alternative; (B) Reduced Impact Alternative; (C) Approved Specific Plan with 25% Density Bonus Alternative; and (D) No USACE Permit/No Action Alternative.
Alternative A, the Applicant’s Preferred Alternative, proposes the development of a mixed-use, mixed-density, master planned community within the Elverta Specific Plan area. The Applicant’s Preferred Alternative requires Section 404 permits from the Corps for proposed fill of 27.57 acres of waters of the U.S within the participating parcels, including seasonal wetlands, vernal pools and swales, ponds, channels and drainage ditches. At the project-level, Alternative A includes urban and agricultural residential development; commercial uses; parks and open space; as well as areas allocated for drainage/riparian corridors and major roads. For the program-level analysis, these land uses/areas would be developed further, as well as the development of schools and detention areas. This alternative is largely residential in nature, with 422.6 acres of the total 563.6 acres within the participating parcels proposed for residential uses at the project-level; 1,340.2 acres of the total 1,744.6 acres within the whole Specific Plan area are proposed for residential uses at the program level (buildout).
Alternative B, the Reduced Impact Alternative, would also include the development of a large-master planned community within the Elverta Specific Plan area. The geographic locations and types of planned land uses for Alternative B are similar to those of Alternative A. However, Alternative B has larger drainage corridors and incorporates areas that would avoid development to reduce impacts to waters of the U.S. This alternative requires Section 404 permits from the Corps for the proposed fill of 22.98 acres of waters of the U.S. This alternative is also largely residential in nature, with 331.4 acres of the total 563.6 acres within the participating parcels proposed for residential uses at the project-level; 1,069.9 acres of the total 1,744.6 acres within the whole Specific Plan area are proposed for residential uses at the program level (buildout).
Alternative C, the Approved Specific Plan with 25% Density Bonus Alternative, would develop the project site with the same land use layout as the Approved Specific Plan analyzed in the previously prepared Sacramento County Department of Environmental Review and Assessment Environmental Impact Report (2007). However, the residential density would be increased from 4,950 units to 6,190 units. The 25% density bonus is consistent with County policies for projects which incorporate energy savings and energy efficiency measures. The geographic location of planned land use types is similar to Alternative A and B. However, the drainage/riparian corridors are substantially different than those proposed for Alternatives A and B. This alternative requires Section 404 permits from the Corps for the proposed fill of 27.57 acres of waters of the U.S. This alternative is also largely residential in nature, with 470.3 acres of the total 563.6 acres within the participating parcels proposed for residential uses at the project-level; 1,432.1 acres of the total 1,744.6 acres within the whole Specific Plan area are proposed for residential uses at the program level (buildout).
Alternative D avoids all jurisdictional wetlands and other waters of the U.S., with a 25-foot buffer surrounding all jurisdictional wetland swales, and a 10-foot buffer surrounding all other jurisdictional wetlands. In order to avoid these wetland features, approximately 70% of the land proposed for development under Alternatives A, B and C would remain undeveloped. Therefore, this alternative proposes lower intensity land uses for the project site and only low-density agricultural residential development would occur. This alternative would not require a Corps Section 404 permit, and is therefore considered the No Action alternative under NEPA.
Comments on the DEIS must be submitted to the Corps by February 4, 2013. The public and affected federal, state and local agencies, Native American tribes, and other organizations and individuals are invited to comment. An electronic copy of the DEIS may be found on the Corps’ website at: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permitting/EnvironmentalImpactStatements.aspx.
A hard copy of the DEIS is available for review at the Corps office during normal business hours. To schedule a time to view the hard copy, please contact Marc Fugler (contact information below).
The Corps will conduct a public meeting for the DEIS on January 16, 2013 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Rio Linda Elverta Community Center, 810 Oak Lane, Rio Linda, CA 95673.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The purpose of the DEIS is to provide decision-makers and the public with information pertaining to the four alternatives, disclose environmental impacts and identify mitigation measures to reduce impacts. The DEIS was prepared in accordance with NEPA, as amended, and the Corps’ regulations for NEPA implementation at 33 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 230 and 325, Appendix B. The Corps is the lead federal agency responsible for complying with NEPA and information contained in the EIS serves as the basis for decisions regarding issuance of Department of the Army permits.
EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the Applicant’s Preferred and other alternatives on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. All factors which may be relevant will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The alternatives’ impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).
The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the Applicant’s Preferred and other alternatives. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for the Applicant’s Preferred Alternative. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed work.
SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2004-00323 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before February 4, 2013.
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814
The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact Marc Fugler, 916-557-5255, Marc.A.Fugler@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 5 drawings