MPUSD to Undertake Environmental Impact Report for Monterey High School Stadium and Field Improvement Project
For Immediate Release
October 14, 2019
MPUSD to Undertake Environmental Impact Report for
Monterey High School Stadium and Field Improvement Project
Monterey, CA – Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh announced that the district plans to have prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Monterey High School Stadium and Field Improvement Project. The project includes a new lower multi-purpose field and weight room, visitor bleachers, a press box and the installation of permanent lights to replace the propane generated temporary lights currently being used on the existing upper athletic field.
The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) requires that MPUSD undertake an appropriate amount of review of the potential impacts of the project. Originally, the district planned to move forward with consideration of a more limited Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, but now plans to place a contract to conduct a more comprehensive EIR on a future Board of Education agenda.
The EIR will cost the district approximately $250,000 and take 10-12 months to complete. The public will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft EIR before a final EIR is presented to the MPUSD School Board for consideration.
This decision is part of MPUSD’s desire to ensure compliance with both the letter and intent of CEQA before finally considering approving and moving forward with the Project. This decision also comes after extensive meetings with concerned neighbors. While many neighbors were satisfied with MPUSD’s direction as discussed in those meetings, it has become increasingly clear from the attorney representing some neighbors that any district action short of eliminating permanent lights from the project would result in a costly lawsuit.
“The district has made a good faith effort to find common ground with the neighbors who expressed concerns, but it takes two sides to find a compromise,” said MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh. “Though a delay is not what we had hoped for, every dollar we spend fighting a lawsuit could be a dollar spent on improving education for our students. It is our responsibility to make sound financial decisions for our future. It is MPUSD’s hope that the more extensive environmental analysis it will now undertake will both help give assurance that the district is in full compliance with CEQA, and might also avoid such costly litigation.”
“We appreciate the overwhelming support from the community and thank everyone who came to school board meetings, wrote letters, and signed petitions in support of the Project,” Diffenbaugh said. “Though I know our kids and the entire school community will be disappointed in the delay, we will continue to move forward thoughtfully so as to ensure ongoing compliance with the law while continuing to work towards providing our students with the facilities they deserve.”
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