Downtown Construction

Construction of this residential building at Ocean Boulevard and Pacific Avenue is just one of nearly 80 projects underway or in the pipeline.

Notice was sent out Friday, June 21, that the city is ready with a new Draft Environmental Impact statement about a revamped document governing development citywide.

Called the Land Use Element (LUE) of the General Plan, the zoning guidelines developed in the document over 2017 and 2018 proved very controversial, with public meetings characterized by shouting, standing on tables and more. The City Council finally approved a modified LUE on March 6, 2018. Modifications included lowering maximum building heights and land use classifications in some parts of the city.

It has taken the last 15 months to prepare a new EIR, required when there is significant change in the covered project and/or more information is added. According to the notice of recirculation, the new report follows the 2016 version in saying impacts related to air quality, global climate change and transportation could not be mitigated to a less than significant level.

However, another impact is in the new report — noise from construction. A more conservative approach, plus the fact construction timing and extent is unknown, drove the conclusion that noise impacts could be significant, the notice said.

This draft EIR will be in circulation for public comment until Aug. 16. While comments made about the 2016 EIR will be included in the report, only new comments will be answered.

After the comment period ends, all new comments will be reviewed and answered in writing. Finally, the new EIR will return to the City Council for final approval. That hearing is expected to take place in October.

No public meetings are planned about the new EIR. To review the document and find out how to submit comments, go to

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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