COMMENTS FROM THE 1996 EIR FOR CHIQUITA CANYON HIGH SCHOOL AKA TESORO HIGH SCHOOL
12. Letter from United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Services [EIR page 117 of 1,057] [Comment #6 at page 122]
"Chiquita Canyon is a regionally significant wildlife corridor and although the Oso Parkway has already obstructed and compromised the value of this corridor to wildlife, placement of the high school in the Chiquita Canyon bottom will permanently eliminate much or all of the remaining corridor value. The DEIR does not adequately address this impact or analyze how this loss will be mitigated. The proposed high school would limit wildlife movement to the ridges to the east and west, again emphasizing the importance of eliminating any disturbance (noise and lighting) to this adjacent habitat."
13. Letters from the San Juan Basin Authority and the Santa Margarita Company expressed concerns about the impact that the project would have on creeks within the San Juan Basin due to increased runoff. TCA, Caltrans, the County of Orange, and Rancho Mission Viejo are building the same Toll Road that was denied wastewater discharge permits five times by multiple entities (The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Coastal Commission and the United States Secretary of Commerce) who all cited:
"... impacts would be permanent, irreversible, and, for the most part, unmitigable".
"No other alternative alignment poses the threat of unmitigable and irrevocable impacts of such magnitude".
14. Letter from the San Juan Basin Authority: [EIR page 134 of 1,057]
"The San Juan Basin Authority (SJBA) is interested in improving the ground water quality within the San Juan Basin. After review of your E.LR. it appears you have adequately addressed this issue. I did not see addressed, however, the impact your project may have on creeks within the San Juan Basin due to increased runoff. The increased runoff causes flooding which can damage land and facilities adjacent to the creeks. Your E.I.R. briefly touches on long term implications of the proposed project" but I would like to see the issue of increased runoff directly addressed."
CUSD Response page 85 of 1,057 Response to Comments page 5
"The Draft EIR (pages 59, 60, 63, 64 & 65) evaluates rainfall and runoff. Additionally, depending upon the timing of construction of the Foothill Transportation Corridor, the current flows within the canyon will need to be controlled in the proximity of the school site. An existing drainage control structure under Oso Parkway, including velocity reducing devices, may require relocation with school construction and will have to be replaced downstream of the school site to avoid damage to the downstream creek channel. This is included in the grading shown on the exhibits for the project. It is anticipated that creek flows can be channelized adjacent to the site. Development of the site will require drainage improvements to convey stormwater flows through the site. The Draft EIR (page 40) includes a mitigation measure which requires that final project design plans include design components such as surface drainage devices, subdrains, backdrains and temporary sumps/pumps (during construction)."
"However, more importantly, the high school is an extremely small part of this basin, and largely consists of pervious surfaces, which reduce post-development runoff. Post-development runoff is estimated to be 48.8 cfs for 25 year frequency event (storm) and 62.5 cfs for·100 year frequency event. There are no known San Juan Basin Authority facilities affected by this runoff."
"There are no known San Juan Basin Authority facilities affected by this runoff."
That is a material mis-statement of fact as docuemented below.
L05 El Horno Creek, L06 Canada Chiquita, and L07 Canada Gobernadora are not being monitored as they are listed as "unknown" in grey below.
L06 Canada Chiquita is the stream that runs underneath Tesoro High School and should be under the juridiction of CUSD at a minimum- it should not be "unknown".
All three creeks are part of the San Juan Creek Watershed.
They should be part of the San Juan Basin Authority.
Why are are they listed as unknown? And why are they not being monitored?
15. Letter from the Santa Margarita Company [EIR page 95 of 1,057]
"The Water Resources section does not address any potential impacts to the existing drainage control structure under Oso Parkway. Based upon the site plan in the DEIR it appears that the existing structure, including velocity reducing devices, will be impacted by construction of the high school. Additionally, depending upon the timing of construction relative to that of the Foothill Transportation Corridor, the current flows within the canyon will need to be controlled in the proximity of the school site. Further, should the velocity reducers at Oso Parkway be removed with school construction they will need to be replaced down stream of the school site so as to avoid damage to the down stream creek channel It would seem that if the creek flows were to be channelized adjacent to the high school, that a soft bottom channel treatment could be utilized to help provide any required biological mitigation on site. An assessment of the impact of any increase in runoff due to the creation of impervious surfaces should be discussed in the FEIR, as should any appropriate mitigation measures relative to detention of storm flows.
CUSD Response page 95 of 1,057 Response to Comments page 15
"The Soils and Geology Chapter of the EIR (pages 37, 39 & 40) includes a discussion regarding the Oso Parkway embankment and existing drainage control structure. Further, the Biological Resources section field surveys, and particularly the wetland delineation (Exhibit 8), specifically address the total of landform modification necessary to transition and correct existing drainage devices to the proposed drainage facilities for the site. To avoid any future misunderstanding as to the scope of this environmental documentation, however, the findings will specify coverage of the drainage devices. As noted in the response to San Juan Basin Authority, the area of impervious surface on this site is very small in comparison to a typical development site. Given the size of the drainage area and this foregoing fact, increased runoff volumes are not considered significant. The comments raised by the commentor relative to the structure and suggested channeling of flows are noted. The final design plans for the project will include the precise design for site drainage."
The "Minor Amendment" will increase runoff volumes significantly. The impervious surface created by a 6-lane toll road is substantially greater than that of a 2-lane collector road. Caltrans, needs to open a new enviornmental review NEPA prior to any construction of the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 South of Oso Parkway.
16. Letter from the County of Orange Environmental & Project Planning Division [EIR page 96 of 1,057]
"On page 98, it should be noted that the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), and not the County of Orange, is now responsible for administering the Master Plan of Arterial Highways (MPAH) and the Commuter Bikeways Strategic Plan (CBSP) which has superseded the MPCB."
"The Final EIR will identify that the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is now responsible for the Master Plan of Arterial Highways. The discussion on page 98 of the Draft EIR provides a description of the various elements of the County's General Plan which includes a transportation element and the Master Plan of Arterial Highways (MPAH). Although the OCTA is now responsible for the MPAH this information will continue to be provided in the County's Transportation Element. The Final EIR will reflect that the Commuter Bikeways Strategic Plan has superseded the MPCB."
The TCA which has not built a road in 20 years has turned into a second a "planning" entity that competes with OTCA. The TCA needs to be put out of business and repay its debts.
"The project description calls for a high school design capacity of 3,100 students. The traffic study, however, bases future traffic volumes generated from the high school on only 2,200 students. This difference results in approximately 1,300 daily trips that are unaccounted for. The traffic study needs to be revised to reflect the project description. This includes reworking all the appropriate /CU's. Portables: The addition of 900 students (by placement of 30 portables) would result in a maximum 1,242 average daily vehicular trips. The increase is not considered significant in relation to the current and projected traffic conditions within the project area (See Response to Comments from Caltrans, District 12)."
"The traffic study prepared for the project is based on the permanent capacity of 2,200 students which can be accommodated in the permanent school buildings. The design capacity for the proposed project includes placement of 30 potential portable classrooms which is based on the size of and identified uses for the site. The design capacity allows for fluctuations in student population. The Draft EIR identifies the potential for placement of portable classrooms; however, it is not known at this time when the portables would be installed at the site. The addition of 900 students (by placement of30 portables) would result in a maximum 1,242 average daily vehicular trips. The increase is not considered significant in relation to the current and projected traffic conditions within the project area (See Response to Comments from Caltrans, District 12). The project itself does not contribute a significant adverse impact on the transportation network in the area with or without the portables. Also, the project actually will reduce vehicle miles travelled by providing a high school in a location to serve an area where students currently must drive to other portions of the District to attend high school. Additionally, the Draft EIR page 150 states that an assessment of the traffic, circulation and parking conditions will be evaluated by the District prior to the placement of any portable classrooms to confirm that impacts are still not significant in light of the passage of time."
At the time the study was done, Capistrano Unified School district provided busing for students. Enrollment at Tesoro High School has been as high as 3,119 students. In 2007-08, the Capistrano Unified School District eliminated busing due to financial concerns. Busing has never been restored. With only 800 parking spots, most families have to drive to Tesoro and wait in long lines on Tesoro Creek road to drop off and pick up students. The pollution effect of the increase in idling cars on Tesoro Creek Road has never been studied. The City of Mission Viejo threatened to sue CUSD over busing cuts. Prior to any construction of a Toll Road south of Oso Parkway, new health/risk studies must be done to determine the effect that a lack of busing, and the addition of a Toll Road with truck climbing lanes and no protective barriers on Tesoro High Schools property line will have on air, noise and pollution outcomes and their corresponding effect on students and staff and the surrounding enviornment.
"The proposed access to the site off of Oso Parkway is approximately 370 feet west of the south bound ramps at the Foothill Transportation Corridor. This access is also proposed to be signalized. County policy requires approximately 1,200 foot spacing between adjacent signalized intersections. If the access cannot be relocated, its proposed intersection with Oso Parkway would have to be without a signal and designed for "right in/right out" only."
"See response to comment # 1 of the letter submitted by Department of Transportation, District 12, dated January 26, 1996. This is only an access road for a high school, carrying approximately 3,000 ADT far less than a Collector street. Further, the demand for the signal is only periodic during the day; for example, the demand will be quite low when school is in session, and virtually non-existent on weekends, holidays, and summer months. Therefore, the potential conflicts with traffic movements, that the policy is intended to address, are not anticipated to occur here."
This comment is not valid due to the number of staff and students on campus and the lack of bussing and inadequate parking spaces.
"The proposed high school site is located within the existing Chiquita Canyon stream bed, and within a FEMA floodplain. The drainage areas tributary to this reach is approximately 1200 acres, and the canyon bed slope is steep (about 2%). Given the flooding risks associated with the site, hydrologic and hydraulic studies should be performed of the waters/zed to assure that all proposed improvements are appropriately protected from discharges that could result from precipitation from a 100-year storm over the fully developed tributary waters/zed of Chiquita Canyon."
"Construction of significant flood control improvements appears to be required for public safety purposes. Yet,the report does not describe flood control improvements. Therefore, the report should be revised to include· a more detailed analysis of the flood control issues associated with the site, along with a description of the planned flood control improvements required to protect the school site and mitigate problems associated with it."
"Construction of flood control improvements to protect the high school could result in greater erosion to adjacent properties both upstream and downstream of the school site. For this reason, the hydrologic/hydraulic analysis should study these potential adverse impacts and propose appropriate mitigation."
"The main Chiquita Canyon channel through the high school has a tributary area large enough to be considered of regional significance by the Orange County Flood Control District (OCFCD). For these reasons the channel should be designed and constructed to OCFCD standards and criteria."
A high school should never have been built in this location. Why would anyone allow a school to be built in a streambed and FEMA floodplain?
Soils in this area are subject to liquifaction. Could an earthquake, or vibration from a toll road with trucking lanes less than 100 feet from a school cause the liquifaction of soils, sinking the school?
19. Letter from the TCA Environmental Services [EIR page 91 of 1,057]
"Thank you for providing the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) with the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft EIR for Chiquita Canyon High School. Staff has reviewed the DEIR and has the foilowing comment. The TCA would like to highlight that the FTCN project does not include construction of noise barriers adjacent to the proposed high school. As noted on page 178 and Exhibit 38 of the DEIR, the proposed educational facilities are located outside the 65 CNEL, therefore no noise attenuation measures will be required. As noted on page 179, CUSD will verify that school uses within the 70 CNEL are provided sound attenuation features prior to occupancy (mitigation measure 15)."
"Comment noted. The commentor correctly observes that the Draft EIR (exhibit 38) shows that school buildings are outside of the 65 CNEL for the Foothill Transportation Corridor. Further, mitigation measure #15 insures that this assumption will be verified as to the 70 CNEL prior to occupancy of the high school."
The 10% shift in the alignement of the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 invalidates the finding that school buildings are outside of the 65 CNEL for the Toll Road. In addition, all four parcels of land under Tesoro High School were transferred into the right-of-way for the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 by entities that did not own them, and had no right to encumber them. Of particular importance is Parcel 125-096-82. All of the Wastewater Discharge for the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 has been designed to drain onto Parcel 82 and underneath Tesoro High School into the Chiquita Canyon streambed.
20. California Water Quality Control Board San Diego Region Tentative Order R9-2013-007 Waste Discharge for the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency Tesoro Extension of (SR 241) Project Orange County showed a planned wildlife crossing at Tesoro High School.
A January 30, 2015 letter from Ms. Laura Coley Eisenberg, Vice President, Open Space and Resource Management with Rancho Mission Viejo to the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service re: Concurrence with Minor Amendment to the Orange County Southern Subregion Habitat Conversation Plan for the Modified F Street Project, Orange County California stated:
"A minor amendment to the SSHCP is needed because F Street will be realigned outside the approved infrastructure zone to accommodate a direct connection with Oso Parkway; a trail will be included as part of the roadway design to make F Street a multi-modal facility; and impacts from F-Street will increase within the Habitat Reserve by more than 10 percent relative to what was anticipated for the conceptual alignment."
"According to the biological analysis accompanying the minor amendment request, the conceptual alignment for F Street (herein after "Original F Street) was projected to impact 77.9 acres within the Habitat Reserve. Realignment of this facility (herein after "Modified F Street) will impact an area of about 165.7 acres, resulting in a net increase of 87.8 acres in anticipated impacts within the Habitat Reserve from this roadway. Because detailed engineering of Modified F Street will be provided to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife (CFWO) prior to project-related impacts to ensure that the actual impacts are consistent with those described in the minor amendment."
"To offset the increased habitat impacts and change in Habitat Reserve configurationfrom the realignment of F Street, RMV will implement the following measures as part of the Modified F Street project:
"RMV will construct two wildlife under crossings to facilitate wildlife movement underneath Modified F Street. The Chiquita Narrows crossing will be 300 feet in length with a minimum 15 height by 15 -foot width. The Santa Margarita Water District Crossing will be 325 feet in lenth with a minimum 17-foot height by 32 -foot width."
Sample of a "Wildlife Undercrossing"
3.3.5 WILDLIFE MOVEMENT CROSSINGS
Two wildlife undercrossings are currently planned—one approximately 1,400 feet north of the Planning Area 2 South northern boundary (Station 149+00) and one approximately 440 feet south of Planning Subarea 2.5 (Station 181+00)—to serve mule deer and mountain lions. Precise locations will be determined as part of the final design process. Both undercrossings are expected to be either corrugated structural steel plate (CSSP) or precast concrete arch-type culverts, under approximately 30 feet and 340 feet of fill, respectively. Each culvert will have a minimum width at the base of 20 feet and a minimum vertical clearance of 10 feet. Culverts will have a line of sight through the structure allowing views of natural vegetation and/or the horizon from the entry points at either end. The bottom of the culvert will be of a natural substrate. A dry pathway at least three feet wide will be provided through the length of any structure if it is determined that significant water flows will routinely occur in the wildlife crossings. Vegetation at both ends of the crossing will be a mix of plant types in order to provide suitable cover for mountain lions and other animals as well as more open vegetation suitable for mule deer. Appropriate fencing will be installed to deter deer, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, and other wildlife entry to the roadway in order to minimize wildlife and vehicle collisions.
This design funnels deer, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, and other wildlife onto Tesoro High School property to acess drinking water. While there is fencing to prevent animals from entering the Toll Road, there is no fencing to keep animals off school district property. In fact, if protective barriers were put into place to protect students and staff from noise, air and pollution, the wildlife would be denied access to their major source of water in the region. In the Inventory of Official Mitigation Measures the only specified fencing requirements were to keep people off the western slopes, not keep wildlife away from people. Non of the basins on the Ranch are fenced.
EIR at page 51 of 1,057 Chiquita Canyon High School Inventory of Official Mitigation Measures
"6. Prior to the commencement of any construction activities, final design plans shall include the following project components:
b. The western periphery of the campus will be fenced to prevent access into the western slopes."
21. Letter from the Orange County Fire Authority [EIR page 86 of 1,057]
"Proposed mitigation measures numbers 6d and 9, wildland/urban interface issues, are of concern to the Orange County Fire Authority. Measure 6d requires ''Fire Clearance at the base of the western hills will be done selectively to leave at least 30 percent of the native shrub vegetation and so not to disturb the native soil profile. "The Fire Authority would like to add to the condition, a statement that the project will provide a fuel modification zone to provide a defensible space around the project. The thinning zone referred to in the document should be a portion of this Fuel modification zone. The Fuel modification program approval for the project should be assigned to the Fire Authority."
Comment noted. The mitigation measure will be modified to identify that the project will provide a fuel modification zone which will include the area to be thinned as identified in mitigation measures 6d and 9.
In CUSD's response CUSD failed to assign the approval of the Fuel Modification Program to the Fire Authority. The Western slopes next to Tesoro High School were of great environmental concern because of fragile species that lived in that area. As such, CUSD allowed protection of these species to be more important than a defensible fire perimeter around the school.
Measure 9 requires 'The Capistrano Unified School District, in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game, shall be responsible for approval of said landscape plan... "The Fire Authority request that it also be included in the coordination and approval process of the landscape plan. Vegetation identified for use in the landscape plan are on the list of undesirable plants in the Fuel Modification Guidelines from the Wildland/Urban Interface Task Force Report approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in August of 1994. The vegetation in question include Salvia apiana (White Sage) and Eriogonum (Buckwheat). The transition zone identifies oaks to be planted at the edge of the coastal sage scrub. The oaks need to be identified as to which oak species is to be used and incorporated into the Ju.el modification plan to be approved.
Comment noted. The mitigation measure will be modified to include in consultation with the Orange County Fire Authority the landscape plan will be reviewed as it relates to fuel modification to be provided for the site. Although important to the Fire Authority, these comments are only minor non-environmentally substantive modifications to the existing mitigation measures.
CUSD's response shows callous disregard for the increased risks associated with any fire near Tesoro High School. There is only one road in and out- a two lane collector road that dead ends at Oso Parkway. There is no defensible fuel modification zone around the school. Landscaping will include the best plants for native species, not for prevent a fire engulfing a school with 4,000 people in attendance.
On page 3, under Section 1.3, Brief Project Description, the document addresses additional temporary classrooms that will be brought on sight [sic] as needed. The Fire Authority does not dispute the jurisdiction of the Division of the State Architect for review o f the project to meet State of California requirements, under which schools are constructed. This reference occurs on page 186 under Fire Protection. However, the State requirements clearly state that access to and around structures and location of fire hydrants and related fire protection devices shall be approved by the local fire authority.
The planning of fire protection access and fire protection water systems (fire hydrant locations) for the school shall be subject to review by the local fire authority. However, if County Fire ordinance requirements are more restrictive than the regulations of the State Fire Marshall, state law exempts school districts from such local ordinances as stated on page 186 of the Draft EIR.
CUSD's response shows callous disregard for the increased risks associated with any fire near Tesoro High School. The location of portables could make it immpossible for the fire department to defend these structures if fire hydrant placement is not planned for.
Temporary classrooms are designated to be "placed within the project site in areas identified as physical education tuiffields. " The Fire Authority request that the proposed final arraignment [sic] of the temporary classrooms be shown on the site plan. This will allow for planning of fire protection access and fire protection water systems (fire hydrant locations) for the school.
The Draft EIR identifies that the portable classrooms will be located within the areas depicted as physical education turf fields as shown on the site plan. The placement of the portable classrooms will be subject to fire protection requirements and regulations of the State Fire Marshall.
CUSD's response shows callous disregard for the increased risks associated with any fire near Tesoro High School. The location of portables could make it immpossible for the fire department to defend these structures if fire hydrant placement is not planned for.
22. Letter from the Department of Transportation District 12 [EIR page 89 of 1,057]
Section 5.8.2h (page149) the distance of 370 feet between the freeway on ramp and the access road is unacceptable. The minimum distance should be 500 feet and the design shall be coordinated with the design of the Foothill Transportation Corridor. Please submit the detailed engineering/site plans for review and comment.
In consultation with Caltrans, District 12 staff subsequent to the receipt of their comments, it was determined that the reference to 500 feet is cited from the Highway Design Manual (dated February 13, 1995). Page 500-14 of the Highway Design Manual states "for new construction or major reconstruction of interchanges, the minimum distance between ramp intersections and local road intersections shall be 400 feet. The preferred minimum distance should be 500 feet." The standard appears to apply to locational criteria for Caltrans. The actual distance between the project access road and the on-ramp to the Foothill Transportation Corridor (FTC) is approximately 381.11 feet. Therefore, the distance is currently approximately 19 feet short of the minimum requirement as cited in the Highway Design Manual. It is important to recognize that the south segment of the Foothill Transportation Corridor (segment between Oso Parkway to San Clemente) is not yet at the final design stage and the environmental documentation for this segment is not yet available. The District will closely coordinate final design plans for the high school with the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) to coordinate right-of-way issues and design issues such as those raised by the commentor. This is a technical comment as opposed to one raising significant environmental issues, and can be resolved during final design.
"More importantly, however, the standard appears to apply to "local roads". The access to the high school is not a local road, but rather a driveway. So far as is known at this time, there is no plan to cause this driveway to act as a local collector or arterial. The principal periods of activity at that driveway intersection will be in the morning and in the mid-afternoon. The mid-afternoon traffic movements are not significant (a total of 170 trips out of 17,000 ADT on the roadway), and even morning trips are similarly only a small part of the background trips on Oso Parkway (900 trips out of 17,000; total trip generation is 3,000 ADT for the project, or 17.6% of total ADT). Since Oso Parkway is built to secondary arterial highway status, and since Exhibit 27 (of the Draft EIR) shows a volume to capacity ratio of .25, or Level of Service, there is no opportunity for adverse effect."
"So far as is known at this time, there is no plan to cause this driveway to act as a local collector or arterial."
That is a material mis-statement of fact. "F" Street, a 2 -two lane local collector road was suppose to connect to Tesoro Creek Road and terminate at Oso Parkway providing two ways in and out of Tesoro High School.
"In addition, we would like to see bike lanes on the Access Road to accommodate non· motorized travel (Exhibit 3). There should be also sidewalks going along Oso Parkway as well as, bicycle parking for students and staff."
"Comment noted. Bicycle parking will be provided on site for students and staff. Additionally, the width of the access road can accommodate striped bicycle lanes and specific details in this regard will be considered during preparation of final design plans for the school site. However, since the access road is only for the high school at this time, specific bike lanes are actually unnecessary to transition students from the Oso Parkway bike trail to the school."
"However, since the access road is only for the high school at this time, specific bike lanes are actually unnecessary to transition students from the Oso Parkway bike trail to the school."
That is a material mis-statement of fact. "F" Street, a 2 two lane local collector road was suppose to connect to Tesoro Creek Road and terminate at Oso Parkway providing two ways in and out of Tesoro High School.
23. EIR page 106 of 1,057 Letter from the National Audubon Society highlighted the following:
"While I recognize that this is not the appropriate forum to discuss the production of EIRs in abstract terms, I would like to point out that I found that the manner in which this DEIR was produced was contrary to the intent of CEQA. It is clear from the document that the project plan was fixed prior to initiation of environmental evaluation, and investigation was tailored to reflect the attributes of this particular plan. Important environmental and habitat issues, including wetland impacts and the NCCP, received insufficient treatment to this report. It is clear that the evaluation process has not been treated as an opportunity to systematically examine impacts and alternatives, but as an obstacle to be hurdled."
"Although the commentor states that "the project plan was fixed prior to initiation of environmental evaluation, and investigation was tailored to reflect the attributes of this particular plan" this is not the case with the subject project."
In hind site, it has become quiet obvious that RMV provides CUSD with school site options that are not suitable for school sites, but rather to profit from land that is not suitable for the construction of homes, and to accomodate Toll Roads as they are built. The problems with the Tesoro High School site are now obvious.
The San Juan Hills High School site is located next to a dump, between two major electrical power transmission lines and next to a high powered gas line. It is also next to Ave. La Pata and will soon have the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 with truck climbing lanes adjacent to it."
One of TCA's current plans is to Utilize San Clemente High School's lower ball fields to accomodate an elevated toll lanes that merge onto the I-5 South and will cut the middle of San Clemente into four pieces destroying the views and property values of homes and businesses throughout San Clemente.
"Wetland impacts identified in the DEIR are viewed as excessive, with filled areas comprising approximately 45% of the developed tract. Additionally, with the current site design, 100% of wetlands on the property will be impacted."
"The EIR clearly states impacts to wetlands, including a wetland delineation. As stated in the response to comment #1, the District has made every effort to respond to significant environmental issues raised in addition to making modifications to the site plan to further protect biological resources. In fact, substantial coordination between the Department of Fish & Game and the District resulted in many of the improvements to the plan. It is important to note that impacts to wetlands will depend upon the timing of the Foothill Transportation Corridor (page 82 of the DEIR). Wetland impacts associated with the construction of the FTC adjacent to the subject site were mitigated in 1991 in the Canada Gobernadora habitat restoration area. The impacts to wetlands are addressed directly in the DEIR (page 75 to 84). Also, the DEIR includes mitigation (#7 and #8, page 84) which requires that prior to any grading activities, the District with comply with permitting requirements of the regulatory agencies. Mitigation #8 identifies that impacts to wetlands will be mitigated within the Canada Gobernadora wetlands mitigation area. Impacts associated with runoff have been evaluated and discussed in the Water Resources section of the DEIR (page 59 to 65). Additionally, the Biological Resources Chapter in the EIR is consistent with the biological studies contained in the Appendices. Therefore, it is not clear why the commentor feels that these two documents may have been poorly coordinated."
"The shape of the site makes impossible a total avoidance of wetlands and a total avoidance of CSS removals (with the exception of fuel modification). Project alternatives for sites without wetlands are also proposed and discussed in the EIR. The District does not agree that the mere acknowledgement that other agencies have a permitting process with respect to wetlands constitutes an impermissible deferral of wetland resolution, particularly when CEQA requires such acknowledgement."
The discussion of other sites made it clear that the only site to be considered was this site.
24. Comment: Other Biological Impacts
"A. Wildlife movement (corridors) in Chiquita Canyon is not fully addressed in the DEIR. Have wildlife movement and use areas been identified and mapped? How will the proposed project impact such wildlife movement in the vicinity of the project site? The acknowledged wildlife movement to the wetlands sites is dismissed offhand as insignificant. What is this rationale behind this assumption? It is also apparent that the DEIR only took into consideration tlze movements of mammals and "several resident birds". What analysis was done too determine the access requirements of amphibians and reptiles that utilize the wetlands?"
"B. What sort of buffer will exist between the developed area and the coastal sage scrub habitat? To illustrate this buffer, it would be helpful to include a site plan including the proposed structures, existing vegetation, and, at least the California Gnatcatcher and Cactus Wren locations (as identified in site survey Exhibit 7)."
"C. Where in the DEIR have the cumulative impacts of this project and the proposed FTC been assessed realtive to identified "important" California Gnatcatcher population located in the project area?"
"The DEIR (page 72, Biological Resources study) provides a discussion of the wildlife use of the site and area including the corridor usage. No specific corridor studies, however, were performed as part of the biological study prepared by Pacific Southwest Biological Services (PSBS) due to the abundance of information available from other sources (including the Orange County Cooperative Mountain Lion Study) and the obvious relationship of the site to the canyon and ridge systems in the region. Discussions with NCCP representatives of both the USFWS and the CDFG were undertaken, as well as the County of Orange. In fact, adjustments were made to the landscaping palette to strengthen corridor associations (see mitigation measure #9). The southern subregion NCCP is still under preparation and consideration, and until its adoption, of course, the actual legal status of any wildlife corridor is not free from doubt. However, it should be noted that extensive technical evaluation of existing studies was done by the biological consultant supporting the conclusion drawn. No contrary evidence is provided by the commentor to support the criticisms presented, and therefore no further response is possible."
"With regard to the wildlife which may utilize the wetlands, it is important to recognize that the wetlands on-site are identified as "low quality" due to the site being heavily grazed and trampled by cattle operations. Also, it is important to note that the biological assessment conducted by S. Gregory Nelson (contained in the Appendices of the DEIR), identified that no amphibians were observed during field surveys and a discussion of amphibians and reptiles are included in this report. Additionally, the PSBS biological resources report (page 8) identifies that the PSBS survey did not detect various sensitive animal species including arroyo toad, California red-legged frog, western pond turtle, San Diego coast horned lizard etc. All species which the NOP response from USFW suggested be investigated. Therefore, it does not appear that the evidence in the EIR leads to conclusion of the commentor that there is an amphibian or reptile corridor through these wetlands."
"The buffer which will be provided between the developed area and the coastal sage scrub will be subject to review and approval by the California Department of Fish & Game as well as the Orange County Fire Authority (for fuel modification purposes). Mitigation #9 (page 84 of the DEIR) requires that the District retain a landscape architect to prepare a landscape plan and plant palette for the project. The landscape plan and plant palette will be subject to review and approval by the CDFG. Additionally, this mitigation measure identifies various species which will be utilized for the area along the west side of the school site as well as the slope areas which transition from the school site west into areas of coastal sage scrub (i.e. the transition zone). Fire clearance at the base of the western hills will be done selectively to leave at least 30 percent of the native shrub vegetation and so as not to disturb the native soil profile. Again, the species presented in mitigation measure #9 are those suggested by CDFG in consultation on the project. The District appreciated this input."
"The discussion of the impacts of the proposed project and the proposed Foothill Transportation Corridor (FTC) have been discussed in various sections throughout the EIR including Section 5.4, "Biological Resources". A discussion regarding this topic is also presented on page 189 of the DEIR."
The conclusion of the National Audobon Society was that this was not a suitable site for a school and that construction of a school on this site would cause irreparable harm to the wetland habbitat and have harmful effects on sensitive wildlife. In reading the EIR and CUSD's response to comments it is striking what a callous disregard CUSD had towards the health and safety of staff and students. CUSD should never have agreed to accepting this site for a school.
FINDINGS FROM THE INITIAL STUDY FOR OSO PARKWAY BRIDGE PROJECT
25. The Initial Study for the Oso Parkway Bridge Project IS 12-252 date d June 2016 5 Attachment "A" at page 113:
The TCA/Caltrans, County of Orange and Rancho Mission Viejo used the 401 Wastewater Discharge permit to build the wastewater discharge for the segment of Tesoro Extension of SR-241 from Oso Parkway to Cow Camp Road. Because the permit was granted to Rancho Mission Viejo (a private entity) to build Los Patrones Parkway (a County Arterial Highway) the permit allowed three basins. The wastewater discharge for SR-241 was desiged to flow onto CUSDs' parcel 125-096-82 and underneath Tesoro High School. They diverted an entire stream onto and underneath Tesoro High School and have created a permanent tresspass of water. What was actually built was 9 basins (required for a Toll Road). All 9 basins overflowed during the 2019 rains.
TCA/Caltrans, County of Orange and Rancho Mission Viejo are violating the Federal Clean Water Act.
San Juan Creek at the corner of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway February 2019
San Juan Creek is part of a major watershed that originates in the southern Santa Ana Mountains in the Cleveland National Forest and drains into the Pacific Ocean at Doheny State Beach. Is this what happened in 2019 as a result of the unpermitted construction of wastwater drainage for the SR-241 Toll Road?
Can we expect similar results when construction continues down to San Onofre?
No construction of the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 sould be allowed south of Oso Parkway without a new environmental review with Caltrans as the lead agency for NEPA.
Dangerous conditions exist at Tesoro High School that must be mitigated. New health/risk studies should be done to determine what mitigation measures are needed to protect the health and safety of Tesoro students and staff. The callous disregard for people at Tesoro high school is unconscionable, and must be remedied whether or not a toll road is allowed to be built. That site was never appropriate for a school site.
Rancho Mission Viejo has a long history of providing land for school sites that are unacceptable, and actually create dangerous conditions for staff and students:
San Juan Hills High School for an example:
Next to a Dump
Next to a high pressure gas pipeline
Sandwhiched between two high power electrical grids
Next to La Pata, a County Arterial Highway
Soon to be next to the SR-241 Toll Road with newly added Truck climbing lanes.
Next to SR-241 at Cow Camp Road with no valid NEPA or CEQA.
CUSD Paid $13 million over the Disclosed price and passed the land sale on the Consent Calendar. CUSD agreed to value the land as if it had entitlements to build 100 homes on it.
San Clemente High School:
Soon to be under the SR-241 Toll Road if option 14 is selected. CUSD has already cleared the lower baseball practice fields and spent 1/2 a million dollars in student money to clear the upper campus. Is it to accomodate the SR -241 flyover lanes onto the I-5 to accomodate managed toll lanes that drop into the center of the I-5 freeway just past San Clemente High School?
There needs to be a forensic audit of the Capistrano Unified School District to better understand why the District fails to protect taxpayer property interests in transactions with Rancho Mission Viejo.
CUSD is currently in negotiations with RMV for another school site. What remedy do tapayers have to ensure that the site selected will be appropriate for a school and that the price that is paid will be fair to taxpayers? See: Agenda Item #D on Closed Session at the December 11, 2019 CUSD BOT Meeting Agenda.
1 Public Scoping SR-241 Toll Road Extension Oso Parkway to San Diego County Line Comment in Opposition - Part 1 https://www.cusdwatch.com/index.php/2-uncategorised/1218-public-scoping-comment-part-1
2 Final Environmental Impact Report for Chiquita Canyon High School March 1996 Volume I page 1 [The EIR was received as part of a Public Records Request]
3 Draft Environmental Impact Report No 589: The Ranch Plan General Plan Amendment/Zone Change (PA 01-114) Volume 1: Draft Program EIR. State Clearinghouse Number 2003021141 June 10, 2004 http://www.ocpublicworks.com/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=45926 Exhibit 3-22 Proposed Circulation Network with SR-241.
4 January 30, 2015 Letter from United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife re: [FWS-OR-15B0086-15CPA0119] granting RMV "minor amendment" to "F" Street. https://cusdwatch.com/index.php/24-march-14-2018-cusd-bot-meeting/681-united-states-department-of-the-interior-fish-and-wildlife-service-fws-or-15b0086-15cpa0119-january-30-20
5 The Initial Study for the Oso Parkway Bridge Project IP 12-252 Adendum to Final Environmental Impact Report No. 584 (state Clearinghouse No. 2006061140) Southern Subregion Natural Community Conservation Plan/Master Streambed Alteration Agreement/Habitat Conservation Plan Joint Programmatic Environmental Impact Report Addendum to Final Environmental Impact Report 589 (State Clearinghouse No. 2003021141) The Ranch Plan General Plan Amendment and Zone Change June 2016 5 Attachment "A" at page 113 http://cams.ocgov.com/Web_Publisher/Agenda03_28_2017_files/images/O00817-000212A.PDF