I. SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS AND MITIGATION MEASURES
A. Impact 4.1-3 Air Quality
Significant Impact: Future shelter occupants at the project site could be exposed to elevated concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5. Exposure to levels greater than either the annual or 24-hour standards may result in adverse health problems for sensitive receptors.
Partial Mitigation Measures:
Disclose Site Health Hazard. The applicant shall disclose the site health hazard to potential shelter occupants during occupant intake/interview selection process. The disclosure shall include notification of air quality conditions at the site (exceedance of state and federal PM2.5 standards and state PM10 standards) and associated potential medical effects from exposure to air quality conditions. The disclosure shall indicate that PM10 concentrations generally are greatest Monday through Saturday, between 7am and 3pm (as adjusted for most accurate transfer station operating hours).
Direct Future Occupants with Respiratory Problems to Other Locations. The applicant will screen future shelter occupants and direct those with preexisting illnesses (e.g. asthma) who may be adversely affected by air quality problems to BOSS' other transitional houses.
Provide HVAC or Air Filtration System for All New Buildings. The applicant shall equip all new buildings with an HVAC system or a dedicated and filtered outside air system to properly ventilate indoor air. The system shall be designed to treat outdoor air supply prior to being circulated indoors. The treatment shall include the removal of particulate matter with diameter equal to or greater than 0.5 microns; the removal efficiency shall be at least 90 percent. The system shall be designed and constructed in accordance with applicable building design codes (i.e., Uniform Building Code) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. The system shall be maintained and operated in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local requirements. The system shall be operated in a manner that would not worsen indoor air quality conditions.
Notify Occupants of Importance of Effectively Using Air Filtration System. The applicant shall notify future shelter occupants during intake that maintaining closed windows and doors during the air filtration system operation would yield optimum indoor air quality, specifically during hours of operation at the transfer station or other hours if air quality is determined to be below standards. This notification shall also be posted throughout the project site.
Finding: Installation and use of an HVAC or air filtration system will improve indoor air quality, however the impact remains significant because outdoor air will not be treated. Directing occupants with health problems to other sites will lessen the impact for individual persons. The mitigation measures will provide significant improvement to the quality of indoor air; however, there is not feasible way to guarantee that residents will not open doors or windows, or to treat outdoor air.
Rationale: The project will provide new transitional housing for up to 18 families and 8 single adults that would not otherwise be provided. Provision of transitional housing is a goal for the City. The applicant would lose a $500,000 state grant if the project were delayed by relocation to another site, and alternative funding is not available. The Draft EIR identified environmentally superior sites, however, they would not meet project objectives and are not economically feasible.
II. IMPACTS WHICH ARE NOT SIGNIFICANT
The City considered the potential impacts and determined in an Initial Study that the only potential environmental impacts would be impacts on air quality, hazardous materials, hydrology, and noise. No comments received on the Initial Study asserted or provided any evidence to the contrary. Accordingly, potential impacts on the resources in the following categories were determined to be less than significant.
- Agricultural Resources
- Biological Resources
- Cultural Resources
- Geology and Seismicity
- Land Us
- Mineral Resources
- Public Services
- Utilities/Service Systems
- Water Quality
III. POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS THAT ARE FOUND NOT SIGNIFICANT
The EIR considered the following potential impacts and concluded that they would not be significant:
A. Potential Impacts – Air Quality
- Impact 4.1-1: Construction activities would result in short-term PM10 emissions.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.1-16
- Impact 4.1-2: Construction activities during development would result in short-term exhaust emissions from construction equipment.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.1-17
- Impact 4.1-4: Future shelter occupants could be exposed to elevated concentrations of hazardous air pollutant emissions.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.1-24
- Impact 4.1-5: Vehicle traffic generated by the project could result in a minimal increase in carbon monoxide levels at nearby intersections.
Reference: DEIR p. 4.1-25
- Impact 4.1-6: Additional vehicle trips generated by the project could cause a regional, long-term increase in air pollutant emissions.
Reference: DEIR p. 4.1-27
B. Potential Impacts – Hazardous Materials
- Impact 4.2-1: Development of the project could expose construction workers and/or the public to hazardous materials from existing soil and groundwater contamination during construction activities.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.2-11
- Impact 4.2-2: Historic releases from underground petroleum storage tanks at the project site, if they have occurred, could potentially affect human health and the environment.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.2-12
- Impact 4.2-3: Improper use or transport of hazardous materials during construction activities could result in releases affecting construction workers and the general public.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.2-13
- Impact 4.2-4: Demolition or renovation of buildings potentially containing lead-based paint and asbestos-containing building materials could release airborne lead and asbestos particles, which may affect construction workers and the public.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.2-13
- Impact 4.2-5: Maintenance workers, future shelter occupants, and the public could be exposed to contaminants in soil and groundwater following development of the project site.
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.2-14
C. Potential Impacts – Hydrology and Storm Drainage
1. Impact 4.3-1: The project site is susceptible to occasional flooding
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.3-4
D. Potential Impacts – Noise
- Impact 4.4-1: Construction noise
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.4-10
- Impact 4.4-2: Vehicular noise from additional project-generated traffic
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.4-11
- Impact 7.4: Exposure of site occupants to existing noise sources
Reference: DEIR, p. 4.4-11
As required by CEQA, discussion of possible alternatives to the Project, including a No Action Alternative, was contained in the Draft EIR. With the adoption of the Project, the City of Berkeley makes the following findings regarding the rejection of the other alternatives in favor of the Project.
A. Off-Site Location Alternatives
Description: Several off-site locations within the City are potential alternatives to the proposed project. The alternative locations have been chosen as potentially feasible for construction of new transitional housing and/or relocation of support services from the project site at Harrison Street to other locations. The Off-site Alternative locations are: U.S. Post Office (6th and Harrison Streets), City Corporation Yard (2208 Acton Street), Flamingo Motel (1761 University Avenue), 926 Murray Street, and Scattered-site, Transit-access Housing (1719-25 University and/or 2612 San Pablo Avenue. The size of the sites vary and some could only partially accommodate the proposed project and programs.
Findings: The environmental conditions at the off-site alternatives are better than at the project site; however, all of the alternative sites would be considered infeasible if control of the properties was not funded by the applicant or the City. The applicant does not have additional funding to purchase or lease properties not owned by the City, and would lose a $500,000 state grant if the project were delayed by relocation. The City does not have funding to replace this grant or to purchase an alternative site for the project. One of the alternative sites is owned by the City; however, there are no plans or funding to move the City’s Corporation Yard. The majority of the sites (Flamingo Motel, 926 Murray Street, 1719-25 University, and 2612 San Pablo) would not meet the basic objectives of the project because they are too small to accommodate a “village-type” project. The U.S. Post Office site was considered the environmentally superior alternative; however, funding is not available to purchase or lease the property.
B. CEQA-Mandated No Project Alternative
Description: Under the No Project Alternative the site would remain as it is today. The existing Use Permit would allow up to 100 residents; however, no significant amount of construction would take place. The facility would remain an emergency homeless shelter and programs would continue to operate as they do today. Transitional housing would not be provided.
Findings: The No Project Alternative would not result any new adverse environmental consequences. Maintaining the facility for shorter-term emergency housing would create fewer impacts on future residents than longer-term transitional housing. However, this alternative meets none of the Project objectives, and does not provide additional needed transitional housing and programs.
V. STATEMENT OF OVERRIDING CONSIDERATIONS
The Ursula Sherman Village proposes many benefits to homeless families and individuals. In addition to providing transitional housing, support services including counseling, meeting space, a laundry, case management offices, adult and teen education, a village supplies store, and childcare program will be provided. Homeless families and single adults are among the most discriminated-against populations in our society. The City’s General Plan recognizes that the housing shortage is particularly acute at the lowest levels of affordability. The Housing Element calls for provision of emergency shelter and transitional housing and for coordination of housing with supportive services for people with special needs. The Berkeley Homeless Continuum of Care Plan states that, “there is a significant shortage of transitional housing, especially for families”.
The only significant impact identified is that future shelter occupants at the project site could be exposed to elevated concentrations of PM10 and PM 2.5 and that this may result in adverse health problems for people with respiratory problems. Mitigation measures will minimize, but not eliminate this potential impact. The City finds that the benefits of the project, as outlined above, are a significant public contribution and that these benefits outweigh the potential adverse impacts.
FINDINGS FOR PERMIT APPROVAL
General Non-Detriment Finding