The city council, despite some concerns, unanimously approved the Hotel Conference Center project. However, they heard from a large number and wide variety of residents on a number of issues, from traffic analysis and sustainability to labor issues.
Former City Councilmember Michael Harrington raised the issue of planning process, stating, “I think we have a situation here where the city staff is recommending the use of a ‘neg dec’ to avoid a full CEQA analysis and I think that the facts and law are against that process.”
He added, “I think that the weaknesses in the traffic report and the fact that the historic resources were not really evaluated, I think that that places you out of the ‘neg dec’ status and I believe that if you continue this and look at it some more, you’d have a good project.”
Alan Pryor, continuing on his line from his guest column in the Vanguard, stated, “I think there are many problems with this project that we really have to work through.”
He said, “For one, the traffic analysis was deficient in that it relied on unjustifiably low pre-existing baseline traffic counts taken by humans only over a two-hour period last year. I certainly don’t think you can say that’s representative.”
He further stated that this is compounded by under-counting or underestimating the number of vehicles that would come to the facility during maximum occupancy events. He argued that they do not have near enough parking to handle that.
Here is the public comments section in full, starting with the brief remarks by applicant Ashok Patel and more extensive comments by Engineer Chuck Cunningham.