Yuba Highlands report has teeth – Pollution, traffic possible issues, study says | TheUnion.com

Yuba Highlands report has teeth – Pollution, traffic possible issues, study says

After a two-year delay, all 616 pages of the Yuba Highlands environmental report landed this week with a thud that reached to Nevada County.

The report examines the 2,900-acre project, which proposes more than 5,000 residences – with about 15,000 people – just west of Nevada County near Beale Air Force Base.

It concludes the development will:

• Diminish open space and threaten habitat for rare creatures

• Increase traffic and traffic noise

• Pollute the air

• Cause significant traffic jams along Highway 65 in Wheatland.

All other effects of the project, including its impact on Beale Air Force Base and the Spenceville Wildlife Area, the existence of unexploded ordinance, the introduction of suburbs into a rural area, and the appearance of the project, were deemed insignificant in the consultant-drafted report.

The report points out the benefits of increasing the density of the development – currently about two dwellings per acre – and increasing the availability of multifamily residences.

That would reduce the effect on the wildlife area, protect additional habitat, and increase the efficiency of roadways, sewer lines, and water lines.

Project developer Gary Gallelli was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Jana Walsh, founder of Yuba Citizens against Poor Planning, said she was disappointed the report failed to sufficiently address dangers posed by unexploded ordinance.

She said she is also concerned with the report’s response to traffic problems and the effect on Beale Air Force Base.

Members of the public now have at least 45 days to submit comments on the report, said Tim Snellings, community development director of Yuba County.

The comments will be compiled into a final copy of the environmental report, which is being compiled in compliance with California law and will inform Yuba County decisionmakers.

A public hearing on the report, not on the project, will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at 915 Eighth St. in Marysville.

To view the report, visit http://www.co.yuba.ca.us:8080/yubacomdev/ on the Web.

Address comments to: Charles Thistlethwaite, principal planner

Yuba County, 915 8th St., Suite 123, Marysville, CA 95901.

By the numbers

Yuba Highlands, a 2,900-acre proposed development sandwiched between Beale Air Force Base and the Spenceville Wildlife Area just east of Nevada County, proposes:

• 4,534 single-family houses on 1,768 acres

• 424 units of multifamily dwellings on 95 acres

• 180,000 square feet of commercial businesses on 20 acres

• 836,000 square feet of business park (office) space on 64 acres

• Two elementary schools and one middle school on 36 acres

• One fire station and a wastewater treatment plant

• Two golf courses on 419 acres

• 658 acres of open space

• 180 acres of roads and future roadways

Source: Environmental Impact Report draft

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