Today the City of Oakland published the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.
“Releasing the final Environmental Impact Report is a major milestone on our path to build a new waterfront ballpark district that will create up to 18 acres of beautiful public parks, more affordable housing, and good jobs for Oaklanders,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “The 3,500-page document is thorough and exhaustive, and it ensures that the project is environmentally safe and sustainable. The completion of the EIR also keeps us on track to bring the project for a final vote to the City Council in 2022 — and brings us one step closer to keeping our beloved A’s rooted in Oakland.”
In response to the Draft EIR published in February, the City received more than 400 comments. The Final EIR includes a response to each and every comment. In addition to individual responses, the Final EIR includes 23 “consolidated responses” to the most frequently submitted comments, as well as edits made to the Draft EIR in response to those comments.
Certification of the Final EIR is a two-step process. First, the Oakland Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the Final EIR on January 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm. During the hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with State law, represents the independent analysis of the City, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed Project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided.
Upon receiving a recommendation from the Planning Commission, the Oakland City Council will consider certification of the Final EIR at a future hearing date, likely in February 2022. A “yes” vote on certification of the EIR does not mean the project is approved, but it is an important first step needed before project approvals can be considered or granted by the City and Port.
What are the other steps involved in getting to an approved project?
The first required project approval, an ordinance by which the City accepts land use jurisdiction over the Port’s portion of the Ballpark District site, is also anticipated to be considered in February 2022. In addition, the City is currently reviewing Development Applications for the project, which include a General Plan Amendment, Planned Unit Development, Rezoning, Tentative Tract Map and Development Agreement (including community benefits). These required approvals will be considered by the City Council later in 2022, after receiving a recommendation from the Planning Commission.
In a separate but related action today, the Port of Oakland identified 21 recommended Seaport Compatibility Measures to ensure the continued safe and efficient navigation of ships and other waterside operations, ingress and egress of trucks and other traffic to and from the Port, and to avoid potential conflicts between trains, trucks, passenger vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.
These measures include mitigations, project design features, and other measures that have been analyzed in the EIR, including grade-separated access to the site on foot, bike, or in a car. The final Seaport Compatibility Measures would be implemented as conditions of approval of the project.