Staff is recommending Council Consider and Certify an Environmental Determination for the Van Ness Avenue Storm Drain Project Phase 2 and Further Direct Staff to File a Notice of Exemption with the County Clerk’s Office in Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.
The Storm Drain Master Plan includes the main trunk line that will convey runoff from the older established neighborhoods (Coalinga Street) along Van Ness to the Old School Farm Basin. Currently, a significant portion of the runoff travels along the streets since these older parts of the City do not have an underground system or in some areas the underground system is undersized. During any significant rain event, the storm water runoff for the northwest part of the City travels to the business district and floods several areas along Elm Avenue.
Phase 2 of the Storm Drain Project will capture the runoff from the areas along Washington/Van Ness and move the water in a new underground pipeline eastwardly to the Old School Farm and retain in a City owned basin next to Warthan Creek.
The City Engineer is currently developing the design and specifications for the project in order to prepare the City to apply for CDBG funds for construction. In order to qualify for funding the City needs to file an environmental document with the Clerks office to satisfy the requirements of CEQA and Caltrans.
In accordance with California environmental Quality Act (CEQA) this activity constitutes a project under the statute and an environmental determination must be made. Therefore, staff has reviewed the project scope and subsequently has determined that this project is categorically exempt pursuant to section 15302 related to minor alternations to land.
The proposed project includes the installation of underground storm drain infrastructure within the existing right of way and does not include an increase in capacity or use beyond its current use. The proposed project would not result in any significant effects related to biological resources, traffic, noise, air quality, or water quality, and the site would be adequately served by all required utilities and public services. The proposed construction activity is expected to occur within the existing right-of-way.
With council approval staff will submit the attached notice of exemption to the Fresno County Clerk in accordance with CEQA.
V. FISCAL IMPACT:
The processing fee for the notice of exemption is $50.00 and will be absorbed by project funding.