The proposed facilities at the Monta Vista substation include new and modified lattice steel towers, new tubular steel poles, and new conductors. This new equipment would be partially visible from the Salem Avenue residential neighborhood southeast of the site, as well as from higher elevations such as the Diocese of San Jose property, the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, and the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. The addition of the new facilities would blend with the visual character of PG&E’s facilities already present. Therefore, this impact would be less than significant.
I-280 is designated as a scenic highway in the vicinity of the proposed project. Portions of the WLA/WLMV line visible along I-280 would be limited to reconductoring on currently existing towers. Therefore, the visual impact of and from these new facilities on I-280 would be less than significant.
Views of the SCVWD property from the Barranca Drive residential neighborhood are screened by trees and vegetation. Springwood Apartment residents have the greatest sensitivity to changes at the SCVWD property, because of their elevated views. The proposed facilities at the SCVWD property would not create new features in strong contrast with the existing visual character of the site. Since the SCVWD property is an existing facility, a less than significant impact to scenic vistas or scenic highways would occur.
Underground construction and reconductoring would result in no change to existing visual conditions in the project area.
Pursuant to CEQA, public views are eligible for protection and/or mitigation from project effects that could have a demonstrable negative aesthetic impact. The PEA provides photo renderings of existing conditions and visual simulations of the proposed poles at the Monta Vista substation (PG&E, 1998). As discussed above, much of the project would be constructed underground and out of sight of most viewers. The portion of the proposed project visible to the Salem Avenue residential neighborhood to the southeast would be relatively small. New equipment at the Monta Vista substation would be visible in part from these surrounding properties, but the proposed facilities would tend to blend visually with existing substation facilities.
The Cupertino General Plan designates two policies that encourage the preservation of hillside views. These include discouraging structures on ridgelines and locating new structures in order to minimize the impacts on adjacent hillside properties and public open space. The Monta Vista substation is visible from higher elevations, including the Diocese of San Jose property, portions of the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. The views from these surrounding properties would not be substantially impacted as a result of the new facilities. Therefore, visual impacts would be less than significant.
New lighting would not be installed as part of the proposed project. A non-reflective finish would be used on proposed poles, circuit breakers and other project components to prevent glare (PG&E 1998). Therefore, the project would have no impact related to the creation of light or glare on surrounding uses.
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