In regards to this proposed project, "The Environment" needs to refer to several things, including parking, traffic, safety and crime, as well as the natural environment we all enjoy so much.
The Marin Catholic parking lot is nowhere near large enough to accommodate the cars for a nighttime game. MC plans to have spectators park in neighboring lots, such as the St. Sebastian church lot to the south and the Bacich Elementary School lot to the north. It is highly unlikely that even these two parking lots combined would provide sufficient parking space for a Friday night football game, meaning that spectators would inevitably spill into neighboring areas to seek street parking. Streets in Greenbrae are already narrow and crowded with parked cars at night, and these new visitors would only exacerbate this already serious problem.
Traffic along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross Valley is at such a logjam, the County is spending $13 million to study and alleviate the traffic problem between US 101 and the Town of Ross. Even after this project, the traffic flow will rate a grade of C, according to the County. MC is in the middle of this heavily impacted stretch. The stadium lights would generate even more traffic right at rush hour, obviously a negative development and counter to the effort to improve the corridor.
SAFETY & CRIME
The school stadium currently transitions abruptly into dark neighborhood yards that provide a tempting location for unsafe, questionable, and criminal behavior. The cost to install security fencing & additional security lighting in the affected areas of the neighborhood would be more than $4 million and would permanently change the historic appearance and peaceful nighttime nature of the neighborhood, creating unacceptable nighttime light pollution and eliminating the open, welcoming feel of the neighborhood.
Organizations such as the Audubon Society, Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed and others have been contacted about this proposal, and are actively engaged in research and support to ensure that all aspects of the natural environment are preserved and protected.
The letters below sum up some of the key environmental concerns this project has created, especially those related to the Creekside tidal wetlands area. Gerhard Epke of the Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed organization lists several of these concerns in this letter, pointing out the possible negative effects of increased noise and light on wildlife in this sensitive habitat directly adjacent to the Marin Catholic stadium. At a minimum, far more detailed study is required.
Project requires full CEQA review, will seriously endanger wildlife and natural environment:
Endangered Species and Sensitive Marsh Habitat at Risk, Brendan Fogarty to, Jan 27, 2016
Marin Audubon Society: MC Proposal has Significant Potential Negative Impact; Requires Initial Study:
Friends of Corte Madera Creek: Initial Study Required for Tidal Wetlands and a Valuable Wildlife Habitat:
Friends of Creek letter 1-26-16 re MC application
The Creekside Tidal Wetlands area is home to many sensitive plant and animal species, including endangered species such as Ridgway's Rail.
Most populations should be considered threatened or endangered because of extremely limited habitat.
Rails, Gallinules, Coots
Salt marshes along the coast, also brackish and freshwater marshes inland. Along the Pacific Coast, strictly a bird of salt marsh, sometimes in adjacent brackish marsh. The "Yuma" Clapper Rail inhabits freshwater marsh along the lower Colorado River and nearby areas.
* Ridgway's Rail information from the Audubon Society at audubon.com
Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure
A Lighted MC stadium could conflict with pending legislation. A new California ballot measure would restore bird habitats, provide clean water and ensure flood protection. The tax proposal would raise $500 million to create a healthier bay for people and wildlife. Click here for article
Marin Catholic Abuts Tidal Wetlands
The Marin Catholic stadium borders the protected tidal wetlands of Creekside park. As the photo to the left reveals, the stadium bleachers (visible in the background) are mere feet from the edge of the wetlands area. This immediate proximity to sensitive plant species and habitats--and of course endangered species that nest in the Creekside wetlands--necessitates at least a thorough environmental review.
As noted elsewhere on this website, the facts support that an Initial Study as part of a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review should be required. Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) should initiate the CEQA process because the project may result in potential negative impacts related to wildlife (as well as the above mentioned areas including noise, traffic, and lighting.)