The name Wharf Rat is a obviously a pseudonym, but the author is well known to VIB and is an expert in Marine Services and Nautical Industrial Technology with many decades working professionally in the field even if he does write in a RAT RANT! stylistic mode!
By Wharf Rat
Here we go again , another proposed prostitution of our waterfront that we hold stewardship over for generations to come! and a very valuable asset that Vallejo City Administration has no concept or even an ability to manage as evidenced by existing Development deals and a poorly functioning Municipal Marina (that would be the envy of many Communities) yet has so many unusable berths that it is an embarrassment , it was once an enterprise department (it made a profit) now half of it is a mudflat, while priorities such as Administrative positions and submerged parking structures are sucking our infrastructure dollars as do bloated compensation packages we can ill afford . Add to this Staffs latest bedfellow the Vallejo Marine Terminal proposed development DEIR
Vallejo Marine Terminal/ORCEM EIR – City of Vallejo
This document should go down in history as one of the most inept and poorly executed EIR’s in history ! it deserves a place in a Museum of municipal malfeasance as a part of a Vallejo exhibit featuring the decades of bloated management , past to present . The cost to defend this EIR in court should only be bourne by Dan Keen and his Managers as a dirrect salary deduction to cover the legal expenses anticipated .
The applicant VMT wants to fence off the shoreline , this is contrary to the bay plan and the regulatory mandate of BCDC , it will constitute a major blockage of the bay trail as well as restrict shoreline access to the public.These costs go beyond just mitigation costs , we stand to loose bigtime political capitol with many Government agencies who perform regulatory oversite over these types of projects , lost credibility has no real $ amount but can cost us a lot in the future .
VMT is proposing to mitigate their impacts by constructing a Kayak launch ramp at the Vallejo Marina and removing old piling from the north end (A dock) area of the Municipal Marina . Restricting public access to a wide swath of Vallejo shoreline is contrary and non-compliant to state law ,considering that this swath of shoreline is under the jurisdiction of the State lands commission , ”public trust issues need to be addressed” as well as projected City costs both $ and political as future funding for bay trail and shoreline access projects will be given a low priority due to Cities involvement in this project . the filling of ”protected” wetlands on parcel A at the Marina cost us over $800,000 and still remains contentious with other Agencies .
The proposed ”mitigation” is inadequate to compensate the public for a major interruption of the bay trail and loss of shoreline access . It seems to be a cheap and quick fix by the VMT to try to move their project foreword at the expense of the public who will be impacted in so many ways by their proposed Marine terminal operation such as by 100 car trains traversing the City and truck trips every six minutes , air quality issues are almost incomprehensible due to their sheer magnitude as are site storm water impacts (that are not adequately addressed in the DEIR).
A Kayak launch ramp will only serve a very small group , while the shoreline loss will be in perpetuity ,a loss to the public who will not be able to enjoy a walk on our scenic shoreline without going around the VMT (this would require using surface streets) as this proposed project is analysed the vast impacts become evident while any public benefit is elusive at best.
An examination of the DEIR suggests that in fact the negative impacts far outweigh any benefits (at least tenfold) notwithstanding our loss of public shoreline the cumulative effects on property values and quality of life alone justify a ”no project decision” as there are so many alternative uses for the land that are viable and have few negative impacts while actually improving local economic outlooks including property values and sustainable employment to name a few .
The fact that Vallejo has no formal Port structure or organizational document within our general plan is a 20+ year over site that needed to be addressed upon the closure of Mare Island ! currently we have no vehicle to extract revenue from our very valuable waterfront other than hollow Developer promises for far in the future (mitigation) that has little to no public benefit and often flies in the face of the ”public trust doctrine”(a main component of the State Lands Commission mandate) and the BCDC mission both buttressed by State Law . Municipal Ports collect fees for ”tipping”and other functions that in turn fund port costs and or fatten up the general fund , this covers costs , with no such vehicle we will bear the impact costs of VMT with no formal vehicle to recover them .
Vallejo needs to address the lack of policy and responsibility a waterfront Community has to both it’s Citizens and the region , no major waterfront development should even be considered until we ”have a plan” one that factors the many miles of shoreline / waterfrontage we are blessed to be Stewards of . All deals should be off until a well thought public policy document is crafted and included in our general plan that addresses the entire waterfront, (duhhh) is just no longer acceptable and frankly will not hold up in court , piecemeal planning has not done well in the courts, the Judiciary has not been kind to ineptitude by public Agencies when they had every means to do otherwise ! once again the public trust comes into play a foundational and major area of our Law going back to old English Law .(see Bell Ca) Judges threw the bench at the many who violated this doctrine .
The two bit mitigation proposed by the project proponent is an insult to this Community and possibly an indicator of ”things to come” if this project reaches fruition . This piecemeal approach to developing Vallejo’s waterfront assets is contrary to the wisdom within both CEQA and NEPA legislation not to mention the 14 + regulatory Authorities who have over site and or an ability do deny this project due to it’s non compliance with so many Laws and regulations . Once again Vallejo makes a shabby appearance on the Bay Area stage , the potential applause being replaced by a pissed off public hurling rotten tomatoes at seemingly myopic public servant’s and another Developer dumping their garbage on our waterfront such as proposed by bad Actors like Callahan .
Speaking of garbage , the VMT would have the needed infrastructure to transship municipal solid waste (garbage) or for that matter just about anything they wish to handle , we have no restrictions on type or hazards associated with whatever cargo they transport through our City ”in a nutshell anything goes” , even dirty crude and right through residential neighborhoods ! and near schools and Hospitals . Do you get that Dan Keen and company ? I mean ”really” a Kayak launch ramp as mitigation ! this would be laughable if it was in another town ”but hey it’s just Vallejo” .