Nicole DeMartini, Big Wave Development public relations lady sent the following letter to the editor of the Half Moon Bay Review this week.
Check your BS detector. This letter is another failed attempt at damage control.
This is to clarify confusion that arose from the article headlined, “Big Wave hangs on more loose dates” (Review, March 31). San Mateo County is the lead agency on this project. As stated in the California Environmental Quality Act, it is the lead agency’s responsibility to prepare the Environmental Impact Report. The County chose to hire Christopher A. Joseph and Associates, an environmental consultant, to help prepare this document.
Last October, CAJA and its sub-consultants completed the Draft EIR, which contained more than 2,000 pages of environmental analysis. Recently, the county put the CAJA contract on hold. To the best of our knowledge, this is due to contract issues between the county and CAJA.
CAJA had completed a significant portion of the Final EIR, having responded to about half of the letters on the Draft EIR, before the county discontinued using their services. The county will now work to finish the remainder of the response to comments as part of the Final EIR.
In a typical EIR process, the environmental consultant will seek information from the project’s engineer and then add, edit, or remove the information they receive in a manner they feel is appropriate. This is a fairly common practice in the EIR process. Before CAJA’s contract was put on hold, CAJA and the county worked with Scott Holmes, our project engineer, to address technical comments and questions received from responsible agencies and members of the public. He will provide the same type of clarifications for the county with regard to the county’s preparation of the Final EIR.
With or without CAJA, the county has the responsibility to respond to comments and assemble the Final EIR. About half of the response to comments, work unique to the Final EIR, has already been completed by the EIR consultant. The county will finish the document, seeking the same level of input from Big Wave as CAJA would have.
Our primary concern is that the EIR is properly completed in accordance with CEQA. The use of a consultant to complete the Final EIR is not required by CEQA. While Big Wave will contribute draft responses to some comments and some organization of the document, the county will have final review and authority over every aspect of the final document, including the adequacy of the DEIR.
Big Wave Group
The above letter was published in the HMB Review on Wednesday, Apr 07, 2010.