The third Community Workshop for the Downtown Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Specific Plan was held on January 14, 2015, in the Adobe Room of the Baldwin Park Community Center.
The presentation included a description of the Specific Plan area, background and purpose of the Specific Plan, process to date, next steps, and a chapter-by-chapter presentation of the Public Review Draft Specific Plan. In addition, this workshop served as the public scoping meeting for the Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Information about CEQA law and the CEQA process was presented, followed by a discussion about what types of environmental issues should be studied and addressed in the EIR for the project. The following environmental concerns were noted:
- Water – Baldwin Park’s water needs already exceed aquifer limitations and water needs to be leased to meet demand. Any new development will require additional leased water at a higher price. The ground water level is at its lowest point ever, and supply is decreasing. Water issues need to be addressed. (It was noted by the CEQA consultant that the EIR does not address fiscal issues, but will address water as it relates to the physical environment.)
- Traffic Congestion – The traffic study needs to address where traffic will be diverted if we close a portion of Maine Avenue. (It was noted by the transportation consultant that the traffic study will address this issue).
- Traffic Congestion – There is also concern with reducing lanes on northern portion of Maine Avenue (It was noted by the transportation consultant that the Specific Plan is not recommending reducing lanes on Maine Avenue within the Specific Plan area, however the City will be reducing lanes along Maine Avenue north of Specific Plan area).
- Parking – There is concern that as new development occurs in Downtown, people will have to park farther away from the use as the demand for parking increases. Parking needs to be managed so that people do not have to walk farther between the use and parking spaces. (It was noted by the transportation consultant that the plan provides for sufficient parking in appropriate locations for the entire downtown, and is not intended to provide adjacent parking for each individual business or use).
In a discussion summary, workshop participants agreed that water, traffic, and parking are their primary environmental concerns. It was also mentioned that residents who live outside the Specific Plan area were not sent flyers about the Community Workshop (all property owners within the Specific Plan area were notified), and the City should consider noticing all residents of the City.