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Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area General Plan Update

Scoping Period: March 31 – April 30, 2022

Date:March 31, 2022
To:State Clearinghouse, Responsible and Trustee Agencies, and Interested Individuals and Organizations
Subject:Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area General Plan Update
Lead Agency:California Department of Parks and Recreation
  
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division is the lead agency for the preparation of a General Plan Update and associated environmental impact report (EIR) for the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The decision-making body for the General Plan Update and EIR is the OHMVR Commission, a body of appointees that advises the OHMVR Division and has final authority of approval of General Plans and certification of associated EIRs for SVRAs.

The OHMVR Division has prepared this Notice of Preparation (NOP) pursuant to Section 15082 of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines. This NOP informs agencies and the public that an EIR is being prepared to address potential impacts resulting from approval and implementation of the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area General Plan Update. Agencies should comment on the elements of potential environmental effects that are relevant to their statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed project
 

SCOPING PERIOD
Comments on the scope of the General Plan Update and EIR will be accepted until 5:00 PM, April 30, 2022. Please include “Carnegie SVRA General Plan Update" in the title and submit comments to:

By email: [email protected]

By mail:

C/O Katie Metraux, OHMVR Division, California State Parks,

P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296-0001

SCOPING MEETING
A virtual EIR scoping meeting has been scheduled to provide additional information about the General Plan Update and EIR process and give interested parties an opportunity to comment on the scope and potential environmental effects of the project to be analyzed in the EIR.

The scoping meeting will be a virtual meeting using the Zoom platform held on the following date: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, Time: 4:30-6:00 PM

Please contact [email protected] to obtain information for logging into the meeting. The meeting link also is posted on the project website at https://www.parks.ca.gov/? page_id=30807.

PROJECT TITLE
Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area General Plan Update

PROJECT LOCATION
The regional location of the Carnegie SVRA is shown in Figure 1. The Carnegie SVRA is a 1,575-acre off-highway vehicle (OHV) park overseen by the OHMVR Division and operated by the Diablo Range District of State Parks. Carnegie SVRA is located within unincorporated Alameda and San Joaquin Counties, approximately 15 miles east of Livermore and 12 miles west of Tracy, as shown in Figure 2. To the north is the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory property. Open space and rural residential areas (i.e., ranchland) are located to the east, west, and south. Carnegie SVRA is largely located on a northern hillside and has been operated as an SVRA since around 1980, when the Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the site when it became a unit of the State Parks System. The original 1,575-acre site had been used by OHVs since the 1940s and was operated as a private motorcycle park from 1970 to 1979 before the Department purchased it. The first General Plan was approved for Carnegie SVRA in 1981. Substantial improvements have been made to Carnegie SVRA since that time.
The OHMVR Division previously prepared a General Plan Revision and associated Program EIR for the original Carnegie SVRA and the adjacent 3,100-acre Alameda and Tesla Expansion Area. While the General Plan Revision was approved and the EIR certified by the OHMVR Commission in 2016, the Commission rescinded these decisions in 2021 as the result of several lawsuits. The lawsuits, along with subsequent legislation requiring that the Alameda and Tesla Expansion Area not be designated as an SVRA, resulted in the Department and the Division electing to prepare a standalone General Plan Update for the Carnegie SVRA. The Department will conduct a separate planning effort for the Alameda and Tesla Expansion Area to determine a suitable classification and future use of these properties.

Therefore, this proposed General Plan Update and EIR are limited to the 1,575-acre original Carnegie SVRA (Figure 2) and specifically exclude the Expansion Area. The classification of and planning for the Expansion Area will be addressed in the future under a separate effort.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
A General Plan is the primary management document for each park unit within the State Park System, including SVRAs. The General Plan establishes the park unit's primary purpose and management direction. An approved General Plan is generally required before State Parks can move forward with site-specific improvements that are beyond minor capital outlay projects. The OHMVR Division is preparing a General Plan Update and associated EIR for Carnegie SVRA to update the long-term management framework set in the 1981 General Plan and establish the foundation for future park improvements. As part of this framework, the General Plan Update will describe appropriate recreational opportunities and management strategies for the Carnegie SVRA.

The General Plan Update preparation will be based on extensive resource and user information developed during the prior planning effort and through ongoing management and operations. The General Plan Update will document existing conditions and include a proposed land use plan, including specific use areas. Use areas will be based on geographic relationships, resource values, management issues, and goals, and desired visitor uses and experiences while recognizing this is an existing OHV park with existing uses. The General Plan Update will also contain goals and guidelines that guide Carnegie SVRA management and provide long-term direction for the development of future facilities. Given that a previous General Plan/EIR is in place, adopted in 1981, this General Plan Update may be more specific than other similar SVRA General Plans where no prior General Plan exists. Where appropriate, the location and extent of future facilities will be disclosed, and associated impacts analyzed in the General Plan Update EIR. If approved, the General Plan Update will supersede the 1981 General Plan and guide long-term and day-to-day management at the Carnegie SVRA.

GENERAL PLAN TOPICS
Topics being considered as part of the General Plan Update process include:
  • Physical, biological, aesthetic, and cultural resources
  • Land use and facilities
  • Visitor use and experiences
  • Operation and maintenance functions
  • Planning influences, such as regional population projections and public input
  • Recreational trends, opportunities, and constraints
  • Access and circulation
  • Law enforcement and public safety
  • Education and interpretation opportunities

POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS
The planning team identified the types of environmental impacts that may result from the implementation of the Carnegie SVRA General Plan Update, including any proposed new facilities and continued recreational use and maintenance of the property. The potential environmental effects that are anticipated to be addressed in the EIR include impacts on the following resource areas:
  • Aesthetics
  • Air quality
  • Biological resources
  • Cultural resources
  • Energy
  • Geology and soils
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Hazards and hazardous materials
  • Hydrology and water quality
  • Land use/planning
  • Noise
  • Public services
  • Transportation
  • Tribal cultural resources
  • Utilities/service systems
  • Wildfire
  • Mandatory findings of significance
Implementation of the General Plan Update is not expected to result in impacts on the following resource areas:
  • Forestry resources
  • Mineral resources
  • Population and housing
  • Recreation
The EIR will include a brief discussion of these resource topics, including reasons for their dismissal from detailed analysis.
INTENDED USES OF THE EIR
The OHMVR Commission will consider the EIR in conjunction with determining whether to certify it as adequate under CEQA and whether to approve the General Plan Update and make any necessary related decisions under CEQA (e.g., adopting CEQA findings of fact, statement of overriding considerations, mitigation monitoring, and reporting program).

If the OHMVR Commission certifies the EIR and approves the General Plan Update, the OHMVR Diablo Range District staff will use the EIR to assess whether future park improvements or actions are adequately evaluated, or whether additional environmental review may be required. The OHMVR Diablo Range District staff will also use any mitigation monitoring and reporting program that may be adopted by the Commission for the long-term term and day-to-day management of the SVRA.

Subsequent projects identified in the General Plan Update for which sufficient information is not currently available to enable a detailed impact analysis in the EIR will be examined at a later date in light of the EIR analysis to determine whether an additional environmental document must be prepared before the project approval and implementation).
Public Comments
By: Alexandra Stehl
Title: Deputy Director of Strategic Planning, State Parks
Date: March 31, 2022