From the May 2, 2012 edition
Humboldt County has released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Humboldt County General Plan Update. Your comments will be accepted by the County through June 15 and need to be sent directly to: John Miller, Senior Planner, County of Humboldt Department of Community Development Services, 3015 H Street, Eureka, California 95501. Email: email@example.com
As a service provider of water, sewer, parks, recreation, streetlights, and library; the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD) would like to know what questions you the community, have about this EIR related to the General Plan Update. We need your help and want to get your input. Therefore, we have scheduled Town Hall Meeting to go over the following:
• Discuss what the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is and what the EIR needs to accomplish;
• Provide you with some tips on making comments;
•Encourage you to review the EIR and prepare your own comments; and
• Help MCSD by giving us input about what questions you have, so that MCSD can better prepare and submit our comments to the County.
It is my opinion that it is truly in McKinleyville’s best interest to be proactive in the process for the overall greater good of our community.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report is available on the internet at: http://www.planupdate.org.
The Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 14, at Azalea Hall (1656 Sutter Road) in McKinleyville from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The workshop will include: Introduction on the CEQA process; Provide tips on how to make effective comments on the EIR; and Listen to your questions.
The following are recent questions I have received.
Question: How can I best prepare so I am ready and can participate in this process. What do I need to do before coming to the Town Hall Meeting?
Answer: Community participation will be most effective if individuals have reviewed and familiarized themselves with the General Plan Update and General Plan Update Draft EIR prior to coming to the Town Hall Meeting. Individuals should review the documents with an eye toward identifying omissions, inconsistencies, and/or errors and identifying areas where the discussions or analyses lacks clarity. Individuals should feel free to come to the meeting with specific questions regarding the adequacy of the Draft EIR or with specific concerns that individuals want MCSD to address in their comment letter.
Question: Our Community is important, previously when MCSD made comments on another EIR document, a few community members tried to control and limit what MCSD reviewed and what MCSD provided comments on. Will MCSD take a narrow view and only provide limited comments?
Answer: No. The County’s General Plan Update is a policy making document that implicates individual communities and the County as a whole. As such, there is the potential that General Plan Update will have both direct and indirect impacts on McKinleyville, MCSD, and the services that MCSD provides. The purpose of the CEQA public review process it to permit accountability and informed self-government by requiring the County to demonstrate to its affected citizens that it has, in fact, analyzed and considered the ecological implications of its actions. It is, therefore, important that MCSD review and have the opportunity make comments on any and all aspects of the EIR in order to ensure any concerns related to environmental issues that may directly or indirectly affect McKinleyville or MCSD are addressed.
Question: Is preparing and submitting my own individual comment important? When I sent my comments to the County before, they never seem to respond or take my comments seriously; they typically say “Comment Noted”.
Answer: Yes. This public review period allows you the opportunity to participate in the General Plan Update process and to identify any concerns you may have about the project. The best way to ensure that your comments are taken seriously is to be objective and very specific. Generalities can be dismissed with generalities, but the County must respond to substantive comments with substantive responses. Thus, comments should not simply express a subjective dislike for the General Plan Update project or a particular aspect of the General Plan Update. Rather, the comments should objectively evaluate the project and identify the deficiencies in the discussions and analysis in the Draft EIR and explain, in as much detail as possible, the basis for finding deficiencies.