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Excerpts from the Board of Zoning Adjustments Regular Meeting Minutes February 7, 2013 <br />Page 10 of 17 <br />Motion to Extend Mr. Berger’s Presentation Time <br />Daly/Mendieta: 4 Ayes, 0 Noes <br />Mr. Berger said when any fair argument can be made that a project may have environmental <br />impacts, both CEQA rules and cases that have interpreted CEQA clearly state that an EIR must be <br />ordered. He said the very questions raised by BZA members are ones members of the HOA brought <br />up. He criticized the studies cited as being years old and conducted in envir onments very different <br />from San Leandro’s. If staff had ordered an EIR in the first place, almost eight months ago, the <br />process would be finished by now, he said. Instead, the City invested the time, money and effort in <br />showing why no EIR is necessary. Mr. Berger added, for the record, that he received additional staff <br />comments just four days ago. <br />Despite what the photo simulations depict, Mr. Berger said everyone in Heron Bay and on the Bay <br />Trail will see a 10-story billboard for Halus. He said turbines belong in non-residential, rural areas <br />where they don’t affect anyone. He said, too, that the MND ignores the issue of private property and <br />aesthetic values, both of which the courts support and both of which demand an EIR and scientific <br />evidence. He pointed out that the staff recommendations fail to address the important issue of what <br />happens with the wind turbine if Halus leaves the site, and asked why staff puts the interest of one <br />business ahead of the interests of 629 homeowners. <br />Mike Katz, 46 Estabrook Street, described Mr. Berger’s scare tactics as “very entertaining.” He said <br />we’re talking about a windmill on a piece of property that is zoned for industrial use – which is <br />neither in the marsh nor on sensitive environment land. As a regular user of the Bay Trail, he said <br />the most prominent features there are the 12-story-tall electric towers between the Heron Bay <br />development and the Bay, followed by the regular aircraft landings. He said the aircraft are about 16 <br />times louder than the wind turbine. Mr. Katz said there have been plenty of studies, including one in <br />December 2009 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that looked at the effect of wind <br />turbines on nearby home prices and found no correlation. He also cited a January 2012 study for the <br />Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Public <br />Health that documented no epidemiologically significant impacts of noise from wind turbines on <br />nearby populations. <br />Encouraging the BZA to grant the variance requested, Mr. Katz asked them to think about the <br />scientific documentation and not what people’s fears are generating. This is not a wind-farm project, <br />he said, but a project by a company in the business of refurbishing wind turbines and another similar <br />company would want the same. Mr. Katz said he supports the requirement for monitoring effects on <br />avian life, but he cited domestic cats, electrical power lines and communication towers as more <br />dangerous to birds than a wind turbine. He cited a University of Southern California study released <br />in April 2012 that documented seven million annual bird kills by the communication towers we rely <br />on for cellular phone and TV service. Mr. Katz said that having an EIR would not be a bad thing, but <br />in this case he considers it inappropriate. <br />David Johnson, 120 Estudillo Avenue, is President and CEO of the San Leandro Chamber of <br />Commerce. Speaking in that capacity and as a representative of the Chamber Board of Directors, he <br />stated that Halus gives San Leandro the opportunity to set a standard and grow a sophisticated <br />company. He said he understands the fears, but is concerned that those fears have been stoked <br />around issues that aren’t real and have nothing to do with the adjacent residential area. He s aid all <br />sorts of issues, as Mr. Katz mentioned, about electrical towers and aircraft noise, also come into <br />play. He pointed out that the average person-to-person conversation is in the same decibel range as <br />what the wind turbine would generate, and that would be only when it’s running. He said we must