October 10, 2019 Special Board Meeting to Consider Certification of Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the San Marin High School Stadium Lights Project –

The Novato Unified School District Board of Trustees will consider and potentially certify the Final Revised Environmental Impact Report for the San Marin High School Stadium Lights Project on October 10, 2019, at 7:00 pm. The Final Revised Environmental Impact Report can be found on this page or the Board Agenda for the October 10, 2019 meeting on Agenda OnLine at https://novato.agendaonline.net/public/.

The Special Board Meeting will be held at 7:00 pm at the District Office, 1015 Seventh Street, Novato, CA.

July 2019 Update

The NUSD Board of Trustees certified a Final EIR for the proposed project in May of 2017. In January of 2019, after construction of the project, the Marin County Superior Court ordered NUSD to revise and republish the following sections of the EIR, and to desist from operation of the project until the revised EIR is certified: Aesthetics, Biological Resources, Alternatives and Cumulative Impacts. Consistent with CEQA Guidelines, since the required revisions to the previously circulated EIR are limited to a few portions of the Draft EIR, the District has elected to recirculate only these portions of the Draft EIR that have been modified.

No impacts to agricultural and forest resources, land use and planning, mineral resources, population and housing, and recreation are identified in the revised Draft EIR as a result of the proposed project. The revised Draft EIR identifies less than significant impacts related to aesthetics, air quality, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, public services, traffic, and utilities and service systems. The original and revised Draft EIRs identify a significant unavoidable impact with respect to crowd and PA system noise during varsity football games. As discussed above, only the EIR sections required by the Court to be revised are included in the revised and recirculated Draft EIR.

As specified in the CEQA Guidelines, the revised Draft EIR will be available for public comment for a 30-day review period. The public comment period for the revised Draft EIR will begin on July 24, 2019, and end on August 24, 2019. The Draft EIR PDF can be found above to the right as well as a link below. Hard copies are available for viewing at the District Office (address below), the Novato Library and the South Novato Library. In accordance with the CEQA Guidelines, the District requests that reviewers limit the scope of their comments to the revised portions of the revised Draft EIR; pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines, comments on other topics will not require responses in the Final EIR. Comments may be submitted, in writing (via email, fax or letter), by 5:00 p.m. on August 24, 2019, and addressed to:

Yancy Hawkins – Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations
Novato Unified School District
1015 7th Street
Novato, California 94945

Fax: (415) 898-5790, email: [email protected]

In the summer of 2015, a grass roots effort spearheaded by parents of San Marin students and leaders of San Marin Youth Football began organizing and raising money to install lights on the San Marin football field. This group also started meeting with the superintendent and other district administration in the fall to keep the district informed of the fundraising efforts and support for lights at San Marin.  The group was encouraged to reach out to the local neighbors to hear and learn of their concerns.  A community meeting was held on January 27 and approximately 25 community members were in attendance.

On February 3, the Superintendent met with 12 neighbors of San Marin and Novato High School that had concerns of the brightness of the proposed lights, noise, traffic, cost of maintaining lights, security, and effect of proposed lights on property values.

To address the concerns of the neighbors through an objective process, the NUSD Board of Trustees approved the staff recommendation on April 5, 2016, to hold a competitive selection process for a firm to prepare an EIR under CEQA. Staff recommended that the Board pursue a CEQA process because it would be the best way for all voices and concerns on both sides of this issue to be raised and heard.

The CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process also referred to as an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) is a public process to evaluate all the impacts of the installation and maintenance of stadium lights at San Marin High School, such as, but not limited to, visual analysis, noise, traffic, and air quality.

Five firms responded to the Request for Proposal and were interviewed by a panel composed of two school board members, the San Marin Principal and athletic director, the superintendent and public information officer, the NUSD construction manager, one San Marin neighbor and one representative from Lights for San Marin.

At the May 17, 2016, Board meeting, Rincon Consultants was selected and approved to prepare the EIR for the proposed stadium lights at San Marin.  Rincon Consultants began work on the Initial Draft in late May and will be releasing the draft for the first public comment period in early August.

A public scoping meeting was held on September 7 as part of this first public comment period.   A letter was sent to all residents in the San Marin Improvement Association and parents in the San Marin High School boundary area informing them of the scoping meeting.