Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Roundabout loses a round in court

By
From page A1 | February 22, 2012 | 8 Comments

Judge Nelson Brooks sent the Friends of Historical Hangtown a Valentine when he issued a writ of mandate to stop the Clay Street/Cedar Ravine Realignment and Clay Street at Hangtown Creek Replacement Project.

Approvals for the city of Placerville project, often referred to as the “Roundabout Project” because of a proposed roundabout at the four-legged intersection at Main Street, Clay Street and Cedar Ravine Road, which was one  of the project’s components, were challenged by the Friends of Historical Hangtown who were represented by attorney Rachel Mansfield-Howlett.

The project combines a number of different components to mitigate traffic and air quality impacts in downtown Placerville and included the realignment of Clay Street with Cedar Ravine, the replacement of the Clay Street Bridge at Hangtown Creek, the widening of Clay Street, the roundabout intersection and the extension of the El Dorado Trail from Clay Street to Bedford Avenue.

In September 2011, Judge Brooks ruled the project’s Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration to be too inadequate and incomplete to continue.

City Attorney John Driscoll filed a brief requesting identification of the specific issues to be addressed with regard to the environmental document.

On Feb.14, Judge Brooks granted the petition, which sets aside and vacates the project approvals and the Mitigated Negative Declaration until an environmental impact report addressing potential impacts on parking, traffic, urban decay, biology, cultural resources, toxicity, aesthetics, growth inducement and consistency with area plans and policies can be completed.

City Manager Cleve Morris said he had been apprised of the ruling. “We will be determining  the options with City Council and reviewing them in closed session. Then the council will make a decision about the next step.”

Public concern against the proposed roundabout was vociferous at numerous community outreach meetings conducted from 2007-2011 and written protests against the roundabout were also received.

“The potential impacts were so serious, the city should have done a new EIR,” said Sharlene McCaslin of Friends of Historical Hangtown.

While the roundabout and the replacement of the Clay Street bridge were the most protested components of the project, none of the project components will be able to be completed, said McCaslin.
“Under the California Environmental Quality Act, you can’t separate out any part of the project, so they will have to start over and look at each piece of it,” McCaslin said.

That will mean the roundabout won’t be built in the near future, but it will also mean that the extension to the El Dorado Trail from Clay Street to Bedford, which the city was prepared to begin, will not be completed either, until the city completes an EIR for it.

“There aren’t so many impacts from the construction of the trail, ” said McCaslin. “The city should have listened to the public.The written public comments and public comments received at the meetings created a “fair argument” that influenced the court.

“I hope the city doesn’t waste more money on a project the public doesn’t want after wasting money on litigation for a project that the public didn’t want,” said McCaslin. “Hopefully the Neighborhood Chats and conversations with the council members will let them know what their constituants want.”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

  • El VerdadFebruary 22, 2012 - 8:01 am

    Thank you Judge Brooks and thank you Friends of Historical Hangtown. You prevented one of our county's treasures, Historic Downtown Placerville, from being turned into a carbon copy of a Southern California thoroughfare. Let's continue to use logic and reason to defeat those who wish to ramrod their silly pet projects through the planning process without regard or respect for our county's innate rural Gold Rush-era character. What's next high density cluster condos at Gold Bug Park or maybe they could convert Marshall Gold Discovery Park into one of their mixed use utopias? Thank you again Judge Brooks for following the law and listening to the people. You, sir, are a class act. Ten un dia bendito.

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  • Evelyn VeerkampFebruary 22, 2012 - 8:23 am

    Concerning public input: At the City Council meeting of 2/8/2011, 24 residents (including numerous business owners) spoke AGAINST the project; 5 were FOR it. On August 9th, David Machado (then Mayor), said: “I guess what’s been the most amazing for me is hearing it from well respected people in the community that I trust and respect and that almost to a person I’m finding that there is no traction and no support for the Roundabout. …So, after months of talking with folks both in and outside the City I’m not finding very many people who support the Roundabout.” Wendy Mattson supported him, saying, “It’s interesting that you bring this up tonight because I, too, have had very similar discussions.”

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  • Jesus H ChristFebruary 22, 2012 - 9:56 am

    Just curious, Who elected the Friends of Historical Hangtown?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Cas MartinFebruary 22, 2012 - 10:08 am

    Jesus- In this country, citizens are permitted to freely associate and advocate for a cause. They can even hire lawyers and bring actions in court. They do not have to be elected to have this privilege.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jesus H ChristFebruary 22, 2012 - 11:33 am

    So I'll take it that as no one elected these self appointed busy bodies.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 30PiecesOfSilverFebruary 29, 2012 - 10:25 am

    JHC: In public affairs each citizen may elect to participate. Do you disown that right?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 28, 2013 - 9:31 am

    I guess some people do not care what the community wants

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 28, 2013 - 9:51 am

    http://www.edcgov.us/Government/Parks/MasterPlan.aspx Parks and trails fianl...I know nine people knew about our meeting...so they got to decide for the whole...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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