XVI. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF
- As described in Sections VII., Biological Resources, and XIV., Cultural Resources, the project is not anticipated to have biological or cultural resources impacts.
- The physical changes to the environment at the project site would not establish a disadvantage for long-term goals for the area. The substation would be consistent with long-term regional and area goals for establishing reliable power to support planned regional growth. The substation site is an established utility-related use and would not conflict with the City of Petaluma’s primary goals and policies regarding site development. Long-term goals and policies related to energy resources are included within the City of Petaluma General Plan, (City of Petaluma, 1987). Project implementation would not conflict with the City’s energy-related goals, as the substation would not prevent the implementation of energy conservation policies. PG&E, in coordination with the CPUC, also has established programs and incentives for conservation of energy resources. As discussed below under Section XVI.c, the availability of electrical supply is considered growth-accommodating. Therefore, implementation of the project would have no impact related to the achievement of short-term goals to the disadvantage of long-term environmental goals.
- The proposed substation project is designed to meet projected electric power needs in the Sonoma County area, encompassing the City of Petaluma, the community of Penngrove, and unincorporated areas to the west. The project would accommodate project growth in the northern Petaluma area by providing additional electrical power to a system where the existing electrical capacity cannot meet projected needs (PG&E, 1997). Lack of electrical power capacity in this area would result in a deterioration of service, which could also have negative economic repercussions on regional industry and diminish power service reliability to residential areas.
- Adequate electrical service is necessary for continued economic and population growth. The availability of electrical capacity, by itself, does not normally ensure or encourage growth within a particular area. Other factors such as economic conditions, land availability, population trends, and local planning policies have a more direct effect on growth than the availability of electric power service. As related to the substation project, the availability of electrical supply, therefore, is considered growth-accommodating rather than growth-inducing.
- The proposed substation project responds to electrical load growth in a limited geographical area, which is due primarily to system expansion of current industrial and commercial customers. No public projects are anticipated to be directly initiated as a result of construction and operation of the substation.
- The project’s visual impacts could potentially conflict with the City’s concept plan for Corona Road and would have some adverse visual/aesthetic effects on immediately neighboring residents that cannot be entirely eliminated. As noted, PG&E has proposed visual mitigation as part of its application in the form of landscaping to screen most of the proposed facilities from sight to travelers on Corona Road and from adjacent residents. Full screening of the facilities is not possible, but the net effect of the landscaping plan is to substantially reduce the visual contrast created by the proposed facilities and to substantially improve the existing visual character of the areas immediately bordering Corona Road. Other future land developments along or near Corona Road could further alter the visual character of the road and parcels adjacent to the substation. A power pole and power line crossing of North McDowell Boulevard at Corona Road also would add to the cumulative visual alteration of that thoroughfare, which is a major artery in this part of Petaluma. However, these visual features are not likely to substantially affect existing or planned land uses along Corona Road or North McDowell Boulevard or significantly hinder the City from achieving its land use planning objectives for this area. The visual impacts of the proposed facilities are adverse, but with the proposed landscaping plan, the impact is reduced to a less than significant level.
Therefore, the cumulative effects of the substation project would be considered to have a less-than-significant impact.
- As described in Section IX., Hazards, the project is not anticipated to cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, the project would have no impact related to adverse effect on human beings.