Environmental Impact Report for Proposed New Yolo Branch Library Project
The Yolo County Library (YCL) has prepared this Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to evaluate the potentially significant environmental impacts that may result from the construction and operation of its proposed New Yolo Branch Library project.
This project would demolish and replace the existing Yolo Branch Library with a new library building. The existing Yolo Branch Library was constructed in 1918 and is a historical resource listed on the California Register of Historical Resources and the National Register of Historic Places; however, existing structural and other concerns required the County to cease use of the Yolo Branch Library building. Since March 2018, the Library has operated out of a temporary modular building placed at the site.
Consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the CEQA Guidelines, this EIR focuses on the potentially significant direct and indirect impacts that could result from the implementation of the New Yolo Branch Library Building Project. This EIR identifies that the proposed project could result in up to 12 potentially significant environmental impacts in seven different resource areas. The inclusion of mitigation measures into the project renders 11 of the 12 impacts less than significant; however, one impact pertaining to the demolition of the Yolo Branch Library building, a known historical resource, was found to be a significant, unavoidable impact of the project under CEQA, even with the application of feasible mitigation measures.
In general, the YCL’s proposed New Yolo Branch Library project would involve:
• Removal of the existing Yolo Branch Library building and associated site features at 37750 Sacramento Street in unincorporated Yolo County;
• Removal of existing residential development at 14184 2nd Street in unincorporated Yolo County;
• Rezoning of the existing residential parcel to zoning and General Plan land use designations that permit a library use;
• Merger of the approximately 0.27-acre Yolo Branch Library and approximately 0.37-acre residential parcels into a single, approximately 0.65-acre parcel of land; and
• Construction and operation of a new, approximately 3,800 square-foot, single-story Yolo Branch Library building.
If this EIR is certified, the YCL anticipates beginning site demolition in 2019, however, the proposed project’s construction schedule may change depending on the timing and availability of future funding. Although the start and end dates of construction may change, the type and total duration of potential construction activities would remain the same as described in this EIR.
The proposed New Yolo Branch Library project is intended to address substantial structural and safety issues with the existing Yolo Branch Library building, upgrade and improve existing Yolo Branch Library services, expand the existing book and media collections, and provide a dedicated community meeting space.
The YCL is making a concerted effort to ensure the historic nature – the “look and feel” of the existing Yolo Branch Library Building – is brought into the planning and design of the proposed New Yolo Branch Library project. The YCL has worked with community groups to establish “character defining features” and would continue to work with the community to identify existing building features that would either be salvaged, replicated, interpreted, documented, or demolished as part of the project.
Environmental Review and Community Engagement Process
The YCL determined that the implementation of the proposed New Yolo Branch Library project would have the potential to have a significant impact on the environment and that an EIR would be prepared pursuant to CEQA. Accordingly, the YCL issued a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for an EIR for the proposed project on November 13, 2017. The YCL distributed the NOP to the State Clearinghouse (SCH; #2017112036) and posted the NOP for review at the Yolo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office on November 13, 2017. The YCL also posted the NOP at the Yolo Branch Library, and distributed the NOP to potential local responsible agencies, certain federal agencies, and interested individuals and organizations. In addition, the County’s Community Services Department electronically mailed the NOP to a list of more than 100 recipients. Finally, the YCL made an electronic copy of the NOP available to the public via a web link on the YCL’s website.
The YCL provided a 30-day public review period for the NOP from November 14, 2017 to December 15, 2017. The YCL also held a public scoping meeting for the EIR on November 30, 2017. The YCL received written comments in response to the NOP from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Yolo Habitat Conservancy, the Yolo Fire Protection District, and two members of the public. The YCL received oral comments during the scoping meeting from interested members of the public. The YCL did not receive written comments at the EIR scoping meeting.
The preparation of the Draft EIR involved addressing comments on the NOP, reviewing project plans and documents, conducting additional research, and evaluating potentially significant adverse impacts pursuant to CEQA. The Draft EIR included an analysis of cumulative impacts and alternatives that could reasonably achieve most of the objectives for the project and avoid or substantially lessen the significant environmental impacts associated with the project.
The YCL issued a Notice of Completion (NOC) and Notice of Availability (NOA) for the Draft EIR for the proposed project on July 19, 2018. The YCL distributed the NOC, NOA, and the Draft EIR (on compact disc) to state agencies via the State Clearinghouse. The YCL directly mailed the NOA to local responsible agencies such as the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, certain Native American tribal representatives, and other interested agencies, organizations, and individuals. The County’s Community Services Department electronically mailed the NOA to a list of more than 100 recipients. The YCL also posted the NOA for review at the Yolo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office and the proposed project site. Finally, the YCL provided hard copies of the Draft EIR for review at the YCL’s main offices in Woodland and the Yolo Branch Library in Yolo.
The YCL provided a 45-day public review period for the Draft EIR from July 20, 2018 through September 4, 2018. The YCL received six comment letters during and after the Draft EIR review period pertaining to the contents of the Draft EIR, including one letter from a state agency (the Central Valley RWQCB, three letters from local agencies (the YSAQMD, the YFPD, and the Yolo County Department of Community Services Environmental Health Division), one letter from a community group (Friends of the Yolo Branch Library of Yolo), and one letter from a member of the public. Upon completion of the public review period, written responses to all significant comments raised with respect to the environment were prepared and incorporated into this Final EIR. Written responses to comments received from public agencies have been made available to those agencies at least 10 days before the Yolo County Board of Supervisors considers certification of the Final EIR.