01/13/2015 Council Preview – BRT Environmental Impact Report

Pretty simple agenda tonight.  We start the evening with a closed session meeting to discuss ongoing negotiations with the Communication Officers Association.  This is followed by a study session on Emergency Management Operations.

This meeting will be closed in memory of former Library Board Trustee Tom Flaherty.  First up in the general session is to recognize former Vice Mayor Davis’ contributions over the past year, then to swear in new Vice Mayor Martin-Milius.  There will be speeches…

There are a few consent calendar items – a Homeland Security grant for a canine team, contracts for a self-propelled mower, vehicle fuel, and a bunch of computers, and an increase in the tree maintenance contract to maintain a 7-year maintenance cycle.

We have a single agenda item tonight – review of staff’s response to VTA’s draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project.  This bears some additional explanation.  At some point, VTA will decide whether or not to go forward with BRT on El Camino, and if so, what form the project will take. At some point before then, Sunnyvale will have an opportunity to weigh in on the various options.  Before that happens, VTA must complete an EIR on the various options it is considering.  VTA has completed a draft report on the options, and all public comments must be submitted this week.  Sunnyvale’s staff has prepared comments on the EIR.  Normally, for an outside agency like VTA, Sunnyvale’s staff would simply submit those comments directly to VTA.  However, given the significance of BRT to Sunnyvale, staff is presenting its comments to Council in a public hearing, to get feedback from Council and the public on the EIR.

Note that this is not the time when Sunnyvale will decide its position on the project’s options.  We won’t be sending VTA an opinion that “Sunnyvale opposes/supports dedicated lanes”.  This is just an opportunity to weigh in on the analysis of the predicted impacts of the various options, so that VTA can finalize the EIR prior to a decision being made.  Staff and I are still discussing when we will have our public hearing on the merits, and tentatively, we’re looking at February 24 for that hearing.  For now, we are simply providing our input on whether or not VTA has adequately analyzed the environmental impacts of the various options.

And that’s it for this meeting.

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