The proposed facilities would be constructed on existing PG&E sites and would not change current uses at the sites. The proposed power line connecting Geysers Unit 11 and the Eagle Rock Substation would cross an area that is already designated for geothermal energy facilities, including roads and pads. The proposed power line would be consistent with these uses. The power line would cross land in private ownership and PG&E would be required to obtain an easement for the power line right of way from the property owner. The County of Sonoma General Plan identifies the Fulton site as a "Public/Quasi Public" use and the Geysers site as a "Resources and Rural Development" use. Land uses in the vicinity of the Fulton site to the east of U.S. Highway 101 include "Urban Residential" and "Land Intensive Agriculture." Land uses surrounding the Geysers site include geothermal plants, mining facilities and other related uses. The project would be consistent with zoning at both sites. Zoning at the Geysers site is designated as Resources and Rural Development, and the Fulton site is designated as Public Facility. The proposed project would not conflict with the General Plan land use designations at either site.
According to the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department, the proposed project would not conflict with applicable Sonoma County environmental plans or policies (PG&E 1998).
As identified in the Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA), the Fulton site is located on PG&E property (PG&E 1998). No structures exist within 500 feet of the site. U.S. Highway 101 is located along the northeast side of the substation, and agricultural uses exist to the north, south and west. The nearest residential area, consisting of twelve homes, is located east of U.S. Highway 101. The proposed project would not conflict with the existing residential uses because of the large separation distance between the Fulton site and the homes.
The Geysers site is located within the KGRA. Surrounding uses include developed geothermal resources and related uses. The proposed facilities would be compatible with existing land uses in the vicinities of the Geysers and Fulton sites, and would not induce a change in the immediate vicinity. Private property owners in the vicinity were informed in October 1997 that PG&E will need to procure rights to construct roadway and pole facilities after project approval by the CPUC.
The project sites are not located on land used for agricultural purposes. Agricultural lands are located to the north, south and west of the Fulton site. However, at the Fulton site, the proposed facilities would occur entirely on PG&E property, and except for landscaping, within the fenced area of the existing substation. The existing agricultural lands would not be affected by the proposed facilities. Proposed facilities at the Geysers site would occur within the KGRA in an area with no agricultural uses. Therefore, the proposed project would not affect agricultural resources or operations.
The proposed facilities would be constructed at existing PG&E sites, with some construction on private property at the Geysers site. The nearest residences to the Fulton site are located across U.S. Highway 101. The Geysers site is located within the KGRA and no residences exist within a mile of the site. No residences or businesses would have to be removed for the project. The project would not permanently impede access to any adjacent parcels. Therefore, the project would not disrupt or divide the physical arrangement of an established community.