Saratoga to Host Element EIR Housing Public Meeting – The Mercury News

Now that Saratoga has finalized its Housing Element Opportunity Sites, the city is giving residents a chance to identify topics they want to address in the project’s environmental impact report.

A public scoping meeting, scheduled for March 21 at 6 p.m., is the last time residents can give their in-person input on the process before the end of the year, when the housing element will be submitted to the state. for approval.

Saratoga staff are seeking information on the scope of environmental topics to be covered in the EIR and the range of “practical alternatives” to be evaluated.

“Many of the concerns expressed by community members relate to the environmental impacts of building additional housing in Saratoga, such as traffic, schools and utilities,” Saratoga Mayor Tina Walia said in a statement. E-mail. “This is an important step in the process of determining what those impacts may be and how they can be mitigated. If there are specific environmental impacts that you would like to see addressed in the report, I encourage you to send your comments to the City by March 30 or attend the public scoping meeting on March 21.

The EIR will likely include analysis and consideration of aesthetics, biological and cultural resources, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, land use and planning , noise, utilities, transportation, wildfires and tribal cultural resources.

Community members can submit comments at the March 21 meeting or by email to dpedro@saratoga.ca.us by March 30.

After the public comment period closes, the city will add “relevant information” to the draft RIE, according to the notice. The RIE will be available for a 45-day public review period before being finalized.

The EIR will apply to the Housing Element Update, Security Element Update, 2040 General Plan Update and other proposed rezonings.

Every eight years, all California cities are required to update their housing element to plan for future housing developments at varying levels of affordability.

The state has calculated that Saratoga needs to plan more than 1,700 new homes to be built between 2023 and 2031, or face consequences that limit local control over future development or litigation from developers.

The housing element is part of the Update of the General Plan 2040the city’s long-term future plan that serves as the basis for its development and growth.

Several North Saratoga residents have expressed frustration with the current slate of opportunity sites in the housing element update, which they say is disproportionately impacting their neighborhoods.

“We think it’s very skewed toward a small area of ​​Saratoga, north of 85. People have been asking for a more equitable plan,” said Saratoga resident Karthick Iyer. “We feel the council seems to favor one part of the city over another.”

For the link to the March 21 Zoom meeting, visit https://www.saratoga.ca.us/calendar.aspx.

James C. Tibbs